"All of the other things we're dealing with are taking months," says Matt Sloan of opportunities resulting from the success of the Chad Vader series, "so to get something like this happening so quickly is exciting."
He is referring to a collaboration between him and Aaron Yonda of Blame Society Productions with comedian Mike Nelson on Rifftrax, a series of online audio film commentaries that grew out of and are in a style similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000. It took only a matter of weeks for the comedians' mutual fandom to blossom into a guest appearance by Vader in a Rifftrax commentary on Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, along with a special episode of the online series featuring Nelson and actor/puppeteer (and UW graduate) Kevin Murphy.
"It's a great story," begins Sloan. One Monday afternoon at the end of February, he noticed a message board post by a fan explaining that Chad Vader was invoked by Murphy while riffing on the 2006 Harrison Ford thriller Firewall. This led to another discussion the next day on the Blame Society forums, which was in turn noticed by the crew in Rifftrax. By that Friday, they were on the phone planning to collaborate. Only a couple of weeks later, Sloan and Yonda were on their way to San Diego to work with their Upper Midwestern comedic brethren at Rifftrax.
"At this time of my life where I'm sitting around for months and months waiting for deals to come through, the brevity is refreshing," writes Sloan.
The collaboration resulted in two primary crossovers. The Rifftrax commentary on Attack of the Clones, released last Friday, features Vader reacting to his brother's biopic. "I read a lot of the script for the rifftrack and it's funny, funny stuff," writes Sloan. "Just don't expect a ton of Chad. I recorded about 20-25 lines and I think most of them come in the second half of the movie. I think in the first hour Chad says about two lines. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get it, I'm just saying."
In turn, Nelson and Murphy make special guest appearances as themselves in a special cinéma vérité episode of Chad Vader, one in which the Rifftrax recording session "backfires miserably." It also features Rob Schrab and Steve Agee of The Sarah Silverman Program, whom the Blame Society team has previously worked with in ComedySportz improv and the L.A.-based indie TV salon Channel101. Here's the episode from the road trip:
"We had a great time," concludes Sloan. "They were easy to work with, and we got to hang out with all of those guys afterwards. It was a very positive experience."