16. “I’d rather be knitting.”

The episode:12 to the Moon,” ep. 524

The riff: Opined by Mike during a quick shot of a black, bearded astronaut as he straps himself into a rocket and prepares to blast off for the moon.

The explanation: The character in the film bears a pretty close resemblance to Rosey Grier, a stand-out defensive lineman in the NFL. Grier was known as something of a lovable oddball in his career, and had a bevy of unusual hobbies, which included needlepoint and knitting. He starred in a number of MST3k-worthy movies after his football career ended, such as “The Thing With Two Heads.”

Novelty factor: I knew who Grier was, but nothing about his knitting hobby. This is a good example of a riff that requires you to have a lot of information and deduce multiple things very quickly. The shot of the Grier look-a-like is on screen for only a moment when knitting is mentioned, and to understand the joke you have to first make the physical comparison, and then know that Grier was into needlepoint.

Rosey Grier: MVP of the Knitting Bowl.

Rosey Grier: MVP of the Knitting Bowl.

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