This is a rare occurrence of being a fan of a group, and then getting to be part of it. Master Pancake Theater is a movie-mocking group that took the Mystery Science Theater concept and flew with it. I started doing shows with John Erler & company in 2007 at the newly opened (and not quite finished) Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. It was my first professional comedy gig and I loved it. We started with a show of Conan the Barbarian, making jokes over the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic. I mourned when a run of shows would end, and was elated when asked to do a new movie.
In response to 2020’s global pandemic, movies theaters closed their doors and John Erler took the show online, streaming at twitch.tv/masterpancaketheater. This pivot brought us closer to fans, expanded our reach and also provided a sense of community in isolated times.
Master Pancake Theater has returned to in-person shows but also does weekly streams on the Twitch channel. I’ve been hesitant in the past to say “we” when referring to Master Pancake. John Erler is the group’s ringmaster, star trapeze artist and human cannonball. I occasionally get to stick my head in a lion’s mouth now and then. But I’ve been with this circus for over 15 years (metaphor wearing thin), and I’m proud to say that thanks to John, the fancakes, and the other comedians, WE seem to turn every show into party.
Photos by Bri Thatcher