Riff Spotlight: “Hi-keeba!”

First appearance:Women of the Prehistoric Planet,” ep. 104

This isn’t a riff explanation, but a callback explanation. The riff “hi-keeba!” appears in numerous MST3k episodes, and could conceivably be confusing if you didn’t know where it originally came from.

The phrase originated from this scene in the series’ fourth-ever episode, where the comic-relief character attempts to show his karate moves to his spaceship crewmates. As he shouts the battle cry of “hi-keeba!” he flips over comically onto his back. It’s one of the goofiest moments in the entire series.

Throughout the rest of the series, the guys would often call back to this moment, yelling “hi-keeba!” during any scene involving chases, acrobatics or any scene of fighting. I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up in more than a dozen episodes, but there’s no complete list that I know of. Since starting this project, I’ve personally observed it in “Mighty Jack,” “The Magic Sword,” “Viking Women and Sea Serpent,” “Fugitive Alien” and “Stranded in Space.”

96. “Do you need to go horsies before you go to bed?”

The episode:Alien from L.A.,” ep. 516

The riff: Asked by Crow as an extremely drugged-looking Kathy Ireland falls asleep in the middle of a sentence. She is really abysmal in this movie, I have to say.

The explanation: Okay, this is a fascinating one. This is basically just a straight-up inside joke of the MST3k writers–and not even the writers but the producer as well. I found an explanation in this interview with Joel, Trace and Jim Mallon from 2008. As Mallon put it, “My cousin, when she was diaper training, would hop around and say ‘Mommy, I gotta go horsies!’ So it made perfect sense to me. I think her potty-training thing was a horse.” And this isn’t just a throwaway riff either, this is something they say on at least two occasions. When I heard it this time I was immediately reminded of the same riff in my favorite short, “Johnny at the Fair.”

Novelty factor: There is literally no way that a person could know the exact origin of this riff without that interview. This is MST3k at its most obscure. No image or video for this entry, as I have no idea what I would submit to you.