The Iowa Idea: The Mads
In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with comedians Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff wrote and performed on the Emmy nominated, Peabody award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. Trace played Mad Scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester and Crow T. Robot, while Frank played the lovable bumbling evil henchman “TV’s Frank.” Today Frank and Trace continue the tradition of MST3K style movie “riffing” live.
We discuss their journey into comedy, writing, and acting. I appreciated how Trace and Frank talked about the importance of iteration and collaboration as they honed their craft, especially when Frank noted he learned slowly at how to be a good comedian. From an innovation perspective, I enjoyed hearing how they’ve been able to pivot their live show in a time of the pandemic. We also talk about the earnestness and authenticity that can be found in “bad” movies.
As my friend Bill would say, I hope you’re wearing steel-toed shoes because we’re dropping a lot of names in this episode.
It was an honor having Trace and Frank join me on the show. I thank him for sharing his time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.
About The Mads
Comedians Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff wrote and performed on the Emmy nominated, Peabody award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. Trace played Mad Scientist “Dr. Clayton Forrester,” and Frank played his lovable bumbling evil henchman “TV’s Frank.”
Today Frank and Trace continue the tradition of MST3K style movie “riffing” LIVE. It’s pretty simple: two guys armed with microphones, a boat load of jokes, a less than good movie, and you, the audience.
FRANK CONNIFF & TRACE BEAULIEU
FRANK CONNIFF is a comedy writer and performer who began his TV career writing for the Peabody Award-winning Comedy Central series Mystery Science Theater 3000, where he also played “TV’s Frank,” the bumbling, yet lovable mad scientist sidekick. He then went on to be a writer, producer and actor on the ABC TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch and was a writer and producer on The Drew Carey Show on ABC, The New Tom Green Show on MTV, and the satirical series O2BE on the Oxygen Network, where he was also a cast member. He was head writer of the animated Nickelodeon series Invader Zim, and also was a writer and producer for the Air America radio network, where he provided material for on-air personalities Rachel Maddow, Marc Maron, Lizz Winstead, Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, and Randi Rhodes. He was a writer and performer on Viewpoint with John Fugelsang on Current TV, and on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on the FXX network, and he also writes and performs on The Jimmy Dore Show on Pacifica Radio. He is a former co-host of the Sirius XM radio show, Tell Me Everything. In his spare time, he writes, produces and directs original musical comedy radio plays for his scripted podcast, Podhouse 90, and writes and performs in “Cartoon Dump,” a monthly stage show in NYC.
TRACE BEAULIEU is a comic actor, writer, and performer. He was a founding member of the Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award-winning, cult hit show, Mystery Science Theater 3000. In addition to writing, occasionally directing, designing and building sets and props, Trace performed the puppet character Crow T. Robot, and mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester. He repeated these roles in the 1996 film version of the show, MST3K: THE MOVIE. Trace wrote for ABC’s America’s Funniest Videos for nine seasons. He played a recurring character on Freaks and Geeks, and has had cameo appearances on The West Wing and Arrested Development. For six years, he toured with the original cast of MST3K in a live movie riffing show, called CINEMATIC TITANIC. His most recent acting work includes the voice of A.R.T. the robot on Paul Feig’s OTHER SPACE, Dr. Sam Lodgpole on the web series VERMIN and Jonah Ray’s creepy uncle Pete on HIDDEN AMERICA season 2. His voice can be heard on the Adult Swim series TIGTONE.
Frank’s Latest Book – https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Ruining-Dystopia-Everyone-Conniff/dp/0578786125/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2I4LNJXFGYEBL&dchild=1&keywords=you%27re+ruining+the+dystopia&s=books&sprefix=You%27re+ru%2Cstripbooks%2C180&sr=1-1
The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).