The lesson: In comedy, timing is everything.
Now a troupe called the Raspberry Brothers is coming to Long Island to crack wise during a screening of 1987's "Dirty Dancing," starring Patrick Swayze - who died of pancreatic cancer just four months ago.
Too soon? Not at all, says chief Raspberry Brother Jeremy "Jerm" Pollet, who recently helped hold a Swayze benefit show at Manhattan's Comix nightclub to raise money for cancer research. "He always had a good sense of humor about himself and the work he's done," Pollet says of the actor-dancer. "I'm always ready to honor Swayze with a good roast."
WHAT TO EXPECT
The show, modeled on the cult television series "Mystery Science Theater 3000," consists mainly of Pollet and his cohorts sitting in the theater's front row and adding their own soundtrack - wisecracks, pithy observations, absurd dialogue - to some hapless movie.
TEXAS COULDN'T HOLD 'EM
Though born in New York, Pollet spent many years in Swayze's home state of Texas, holding his first movie-mocking shows at Austin's hip Alamo Drafthouse 10 years ago. The events proved so popular that he got an invitation to bring them to New York; Pollet now lives in Brooklyn and holds regular shows at The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg.
THEY ARE FAMILY
After landing in New York, Pollet began scouring comedy clubs for potential Brothers. His audition process: Prepare 10 minutes of material for the Kevin Bacon teen flick "Footloose."
Those who passed the test include Johnny McNulty, Scott Rogowsky and Great Neck native Aaron Glaser, whose collective writing and performing credits include The Onion, the "Weekend Update" segment of "Saturday Night Live" and stints at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater.
"To prepare for the show, you've got to watch this movie, and a lot of times," Pollet says. "You have to stop and rewind and go back. That was my No. 1 thing: Who do I want to hang out on the couch with?"
Over the years, Pollet has discovered that audiences are insatiable for movies from the 1980s, like "Top Gun" and "Dirty Dancing," with their wonderfully ripe mix of cheese, ham and beef.
"You look at these movies again with the comedian's gaze, and it's hilarious," Pollet says. "But, really, what we're laughing at is ourselves, how naive and innocent we were."
WHEN | WHERE: 10 p.m. Saturday at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington, 800-838-3006; cinemaartscentre.org