Did the “Jaws” sequels fill you with the urge to spew angry sarcasm as the animatronic sharks began resembling steak knives? Did you want to shout barbs at John Travolta’s stupid face while watching “Battlefield Earth?” Or did Joel Schumacher’s disgraceful “Batman and Robin” leave you asking “Why why why would you put nipples on the Batman suit?”
You wanted to scream, but good manners dictated you suffer in silence.
Well, Long Island City’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club offers a weekly dose of bad movie levity, inviting guests to sit back and berate the garbage-posing-as-cinema it screens.
The club opens its cozy space for “Devil Science Theater 3K” every Thursday to anyone itching to yell obscenities and sarcasm at terrible movies. Here, dear contrarian and harsh critic, you are welcome — no, encouraged — to be as big a loudmouth as possible.
Will Carey and Daniel Reynolds coproduce the event. They also work double-duty, bringing in laughs via observations and cutting remarks during the movie, encouraging the audience by setting an example. The result? An atmosphere that says “Bad manners are good etiquette. Talk away.”
“Devil Science Theater 3K” featured “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” last Thursday, a 1964 sci-fi holiday film in which green-faced humans wearing tubed-helmets — which were someone’s best effort at Martians — kidnap St. Nick to bring holiday cheer to their bored kids.
Carey started the show by welcoming the audience to the final Devil Science Theater show (it was the night before the Mayan apocalypse). He then listed the rules of the night’s drinking game: drink if everyone laughs for more than five seconds; take a swig if the word “Martian” is said like a racial slur, etc.
The whole evening doubles as a comedic exercise for Carey, who uses the night to work his ad-libbing chops. He makes sure not to watch the movies ahead of time.
“It’s improved my ability to think off the top of my head,” he said, adding the hardest laughs come from acknowledging each film’s own stupidity. “I’ll comment on my own internal monologue. That works.”
He was joined by young comic Pat Riley, who had no gripes with infusing a bad movie with his humor.
“I grew up Puerto Rican in Buschwick; this is normal to me,” he said.
What ensued was a roller coaster of forehead-slappingly bad cinema mixed with interjections like “Santa is so glad the Martians finally got Mrs. Claus to shut up.”
Another sequence showed a series of rockets being fired, which led one audience member to shout “We’re going to [fornicate with] the moon!” Big laughs.
Another scene featured a godawful man in a costurme, apparently a polar bear, swiping away at kids hiding in a cave.
“He just wants a Coke,” Carey said dryly.
The weekly event is a takeoff of the cult classic show “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” in which a man and two robots stranded aboard a space station are forced to watch bad movies by an evil scientist. The freedom to laugh at, and poke fun of, the criminally bad movies offers an antidote from insanity. The same applies at Devil Science Theater.
The show has been going on since the spring, and has drawn a cult following of about 15 to 20 regulars, Carey said. He keeps an ear open for audience members who draw the biggest or most laughs, and gives each a Laughing Devil T-shirt at the end of the night. If they’re good enough, they can join him on the microphone next time. The other part of Carey’s job? Picking the movies.
The roster of past flicks includes B-movie gold such as monster movie disaster “King Kong vs. Godzilla” and epically bad horror pictures like “The Driller Killer.” The inexcusably awful “A Boy and His Dog” and “The Black Six” will be screened today, Dec. 27, and next Thursday, respectively.
Legal hurdles determine what Carey can show any given night, so the odds of catching the recent “Star Wars” prequels are slim. Big missed opportunity. But you may be pleasantly surprised by what he can find.
“We’re limited to the absolute worst of the public domain,” Carey said, grinning. “The one main through-line with all of these movies is bad writing and low production quality.”
The overall result is a soothing sort of catharsis, and perhaps a release valve that eases your inner mean spirit. When else, in this world of “teamwork” and “everyone is special and can contribute,” are you encourage to honestly tell something it sucks?
When: Every Thursday at 10:30 p.m.
Where: 47-38 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, NY 11101
Tickets: $5 at the door