Most of you appear to learn how to “spork” by watching and imitating. There are a lot of examples out there, but sometimes outright giving advice is okay, so that’s what I’m going to do.

This is also totally not a shameless plug for my site.


First, a little explanation so you don’t get your terms mixed up: an “MST” is the same thing as a “spork” if the “spork” you’re talking about has lines of a story interspersed with witty commentary. A “spork” can also be something like Eragon Sporkings where it’s simply a series of funny plot summaries that make fun of Inheritance. For the purposes of this article I’ll call the former type of merrymaking a “spork” because that’s the term most of you are familiar with and I can deign to call an MST something else for a few minutes, even if that something else sounds like a kind of South American fish with pointy teeth and a creepy affection for strawberry trifle.

Choosing A Story To Mock

Three things:

1) It must be readable. Not in the “my word, this story is so awful it’s nigh unreadable,” I mean readable in the mechanical sense. You must be able to at least make sense of what’s being written, if the story looks like it was written by a computer programmed to tell everyone in the world to buy its cheap v14gr4, you probably won’t find too much joke material in it.

2) It should probably be bad in some way. Bad characterization, bad prose, bad worldbuilding, all three is even better—the very essence of the show that invented sporking in its usual incarnation was making fun of awful B-movies. Making fun of something that’s actually good is rather difficult because you can’t make jokes at the thing’s expense unless you’re the type who mocks the things you love. If that’s the case, by all means, mock til your tongue commits seppuku.

3) Only do it for fun. If you don’t do it for fun, the spork ceases to be funny.

How To Be Funny

I made a post on the forums elaborating on what makes a spork funny, but I think it needs more elaboration, like one of those complicated Celtic knot things, only this time it’s a Celtic knot made of more Celtic knots made of braided squid tentacles.

At the root of making a good spork is being funny. Sporks are all about making readers laugh at something. You can force yourself to be funny but if you try too hard all the funny is sucked out. One must have a good eye for when to take a joke further and when to stop.

From the Eye of Argon MST:

as he observed his comrade in death.
Mike: “You appear to be in death, comrade.”

Simple, obvious, and amusing. If someone else said something else the funny would be ruined. Sometimes just a simple one-liner without going on is the best course of action, and frequently, the funniest. Try not to hold up the flow of the spork with a lengthy rant about something. You can do that maybe once for a smallish spork and possibly twice for a lengthy spork. Unless you can make the rant really funny, then go for it.

Having pop culture references can also be funny if done well.

When a few inches from the wall, a loud, penetrating squeal,
Mike: Mariah Carey must be in there with him!

If you have ever even heard of Mariah Carey this joke will be obvious to you, and it is amusing.

One pitfall I see happen with a lot of sporks is “randomness.” Random humor, or as pretentious people all it, a “non sequitur”, can be kind of okay in certain situations but often it’s just kind of annoying and uninspired. Any talentless douchetard can shout “ZOMBIE CHEESE NINJA” and have legions of 13-year-olds laughing really hard at your randomness but if you yourself have actually shouted “ZOMBIE CHEESE NINJA” I want to test my new lobotomy method on you.

Another pitfall is being too vitriolic. While sometimes the author totally deserves it for being stupid or a prick, your spork cannot run on that alone. If you can get past the bad design choices here you can probably tell this is not a good way to spork. No, I’m not talking about Crater Lake Blue text on a robot vomit background, though that is definitely not a good way to spork—it’s the endless anger on the part of the sporker. You can’t spork something when you’re pissed, otherwise all the funny will be sucked out and you’ll be stuck with commentary almost as painful to read as the story you’re trying to mock. And even if you’re not pissed, you just want to be funny, being constantly mean and hateful about it isn’t really the way to go. There’s kind of an ambiguous line between too much vitriol and just enough vitriol. It’s best to err on the side of caution.

This rule doesn’t count if the story you’re sporking is, say, a lemon fic that manages to offend all the senses you have and even some you don’t. If it’s universally horrible and offensive and basically no one likes it (any given David Gonterman fanfic positively catapults to mind), you can be just about as horrified in your commentary and everyone will be too busy emphatically agreeing with you to complain that there’s too much acid-spewing on the part of the sporker.

Nitpicking about grammar or spelling is only good if you can turn it into something funny, like so:

Eyeing a slender female crouched alone at a nearby bench, Grignr
Tom: “Grignr”?
Mike: Look, we’re already on the second chapter. Get over it.
Tom: I know, I know, it’s just… I’d like at least buy a vowel or something.

It wouldn’t have been as amusing had Tom just said “I know, it’s just a really stupid name.” Make sure if you’re going to make fun of something, you actually have a joke to tell. If you just go “THEY SPELLED THAT WORD WRONG” you just kind of come off as looking for something to pick on because they don’t know how to make fun of much else in the story.

If you’re not sure if you’re being funny, find a friend, sibling, or prison inmate who has a good sense of humor (or at the very least knows what’s funny and what isn’t) and have them read your spork. Ask them to be honest with you about it. They will more than likely be able to offer you advice on how to make it funnier. And if they don’t, well, I’m pretty much always available and never doing anything but playing video games so drop me a line if you want your spork to be judged harshly by an unfeeling stranger.

Now you know how to be funny. Let’s look at picking a cast for your sporking team.

Your Sporking Cast

As a rule of thumb, you’ll probably want to use between one (e.g. Project AFTER) to four people who are doing commentary on a story. They can be real people with whom you are collaborating a la Kitty and Ali make fun of Silk and Steel, or fake people you made up, a la MST Dungeon.

If you have one set cast it gives the readers some familiarity. For example, in the Eye of Argon MST, the cast is the same two robots, Tom and Crow, and the same one human, Mike, that are in the show familiar to most people who are in the sporking business. There are other characters but they don’t actually do the sporking—such as Gypsy, another robot cast member, and the Mads, or the mad scientists who force the main cast to watch horrible movies/read horrible stories. Each of the cast members on the original show and in this particular spork have their own distinct personality and type of “riff” or “comment.” Tom Servo is an intellectual kind of robot who references pretentious things sometimes, Crow T. Robot often makes innuendo and is often the first to point out when something is retarded, and Mike is a little oblivious to the horrors that have befallen him and thus pretty optimistic. He makes a lot of less-pretentious pop culture references.

In the MST Dungeon (I’M DEFINITELY NOT PLUGGING) there are three people who are in the theater and make fun of horrible stories. Cookie is optimistic like Mike in a way and generally tries to see the brighter side of the current story no matter how awful. Malachi is a pretentious, slightly egotistical lech, who is probably the most sarcastic of the cast. Levi rarely talks but when he does it’s a reference to music or a movie or something similar. Micron, an endlessly perky supercomputer, is a background character who runs the cast’s lives. He stays silent most of the time and occasionally substitutes for one of the main cast when one of them is indisposed. These are all characters that I’m using for a real thing, with the exception of Micron, I just used them in my sporks and warped their personalities slightly to make them funnier.

In the Naga Eyes spork, the sporker uses characters from the universe the fanfiction takes place in—in this case, the Kingdom Hearts universe. This cast works because the characters the sporker used have vastly different personalities and it’s kind of fun watching them react to their bastardized forms do horrible things in the fanfic. This particular cast also works because they’re familiar faces to basically everyone who is going to bother reading the spork…though it’s a vore fic, so if you’re not into that sort of thing I wouldn’t recommend clicking on the link. Even though the spork alleviates much of the agony, it’s easily one of the most traumatizing things I’ve ever read.

You should also consider what kind of sporks you’re doing in relation to your cast. If you do a variety of sporks spanning different genres, you should probably stick with the cast of the old show, collaborate with a friend or two, or make up your own cast. If you’re focusing on, say, Harry Potter fanfiction, you could use your friends or the cast of Harry Potter.

Once you have your cast and your funny in your toolbox, you’re basically all ready to go.

Examples of Sporks

Because you can never have too many examples.

- Eye of Argon MST — one of the best sporks ever about one of the worst stories ever, when I die I want this story printed and buried with me

- The MSTing Mine — a bunch of old sporks dating as far back as 1993, some mocking fanfiction, others mocking email spam, “Rangers of NIMH” is one of my favorites

- Spork of some horrible Pokemon fic demonstrating how not to do it, please make sure your site wasn’t created by a time-travelling web designer from 1997

- Project AFTER — various sporkings of terrible anime fanfiction, webcomics, cosplay, etc.

- MSTron — once upon a time a valley of awesome and more awesome, now is broken, looks like your only chance at seeing the awesome is via the Wayback Machine which I have linked here

- MST Dungeon — specializing in stories containing really obnoxious main characters, annoying Mary Sues, or just having several imperial tons of drama behind them

In conclusion, I hope you learned something from this article that turned out way longer than I wanted it to. If you have any questions leave them in the comment box and I’ll try not to answer them in a way that suggests I have been raised by hyenas.

Also if the formatting for this thing looks weird, blame SlyShy, he broke textpattern apparently by smashing an entire ditto machine over its oblivious head.


  1. SlyShy on 14 September 2009, 10:10 said:

    You’ve done the world a great service.

  2. Virgil on 14 September 2009, 10:15 said:

    Very nice, good work.

    Though I read the last line with dildo in it..

  3. Steph the amazing, the incandescent, the gently-glowing radiant angel of light and... and... umm... on 14 September 2009, 10:44 said:

    Kitty, you rock! This is an awesome guide to sporking; it cleared up some stuff I was wondering about. And I think that I might, on an apparently untraceable whim, go and check out MST dungeon.

    I’m just going to say again that you rock, because you do.

    /sucking up

  4. Puppet on 14 September 2009, 11:39 said:

    Thank you

    We needed this.

  5. Romantic Vampire Lover on 14 September 2009, 13:44 said:

    Merci beaucoup!!! Thank you SOOOOO much for this. ‘Twas indeed needed.

  6. swenson on 14 September 2009, 14:29 said:

    @Sly – agreed. This is indeed very, very useful- and everyone in the library is giving me funny looks for snorting with laughter over that Eye of Argon spork! Excellent job.

  7. Snow White Queen on 14 September 2009, 20:10 said:

    Yay, Kitty’s writing articles again!

  8. hmyd.windmere on 14 September 2009, 21:27 said:

    I don’t know if you’ll be contributing regularly again (the cynic—which is to say most of me—of me doubts it), but I’d like to thank you for both this article and all of the other articles.

    The thanks is overdue.

  9. dragonarya on 14 September 2009, 22:40 said:

    Kitty, you’re the best. Thanks. Now I’m contemplating sporking myself, haha.

  10. Talisman on 14 September 2009, 23:56 said:

    Very useful and interesting…the only real point at which I disagree is that you seem to assume a “Mike and the Bots”-esque cast of sporkers. While that’s certainly a valid and fun way to do it, it’s not the only – Kippur of Eragon Sporkings simply “talks” to the reader. The only “character” is Kippur herself (well, usually). This is also the method I use on my sporks (SHAMELESS PLUG) on her site.

    Anyway bravo. An excellent article.

  11. Kitty on 15 September 2009, 00:00 said:

    @ Talisman:

    First, a little explanation so you don’t get your terms mixed up: an “MST” is the same thing as a “spork” if the “spork” you’re talking about has lines of a story interspersed with witty commentary. A “spork” can also be something like Eragon Sporkings where it’s simply a series of funny plot summaries that make fun of Inheritance. For the purposes of this article I’ll call the former type of merrymaking a “spork” because that’s the term most of you are familiar with

    I cleared this up in the very beginning :P

  12. Aquanaut on 15 September 2009, 16:04 said:

    Thanks Kitty for the tips. Maybe I’ll write a rant or two about the bad fantasy books I’ve crossed. I wish there is more of them around.

    @ Romantic Vampire Lover : Speaking french ?

  13. Steph who is not french at all on 15 September 2009, 22:09 said:

    @ Romantic Vampire Lover : Speaking french ?

    She is indeed. ‘Merci Beaucoup’ simply means ‘anything I say from now on is sarcastic’.

  14. Aquanaut on 15 September 2009, 23:23 said:

    I see …

  15. steph on 17 September 2009, 02:21 said:

    Merci beaucoup. I lie.