Last Friday I had the awesome opportunity to see “Mystery Science Theatre 3000 LIVE” at Brooklyn’s King’s Theatre. A combination of comedy skits and hilarious cult movie commentary, the MST3K TV series was a staple of my late teens in the early 1990s.
And MST3K’s host, deadpan comedian Joel Hodgson, was the icon of the burgeoning “nerd culture” that I was observing all around me.
Living in NYC–way before I had the Internet–there were a number of my favorite “haunts” that sold/rented my favorite bad movies, as well as comic books and magazines and assorted lovely crap. And I had just finished a stint working at my local video rental store. I was primed for MST3K, and Joel was like that Uber-Hip older fan whose “crown” of bad movie knowledge I hoped to one day live up to myself.
Joel left MST3K in 1993, passing on the host baton to the very capable Mike Nelson…but it was clearly the end of an era. I just started college, and was being pressured to throw away my goal of becoming another Joel for a sensible career as a school teacher.
But in 2017 (!) Joel came back to the franchise…raising funds on a Kickstarter for both a reboot of the series and a live version. I never thought, however, that I’d actually see Joel put on the Gizmonic Institute jumpsuit again…much less see him in person wearing it!
Buuuuuut I did!
Joel opened the show wearing the suit and playing the theme song on his guitar!
Then the rest of the cast, including robots Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, Crow, were brought to life via puppetry.
The movie snarkily commented on this time around was the 1960 film Circus Of Horrors (not to be confused with 1966’s Circus Of Fear with Christopher Lee), featuring a Nazi-esque plastic surgeon and a drunk Donald Pleasance getting mauled by a bear.
The live storyline between the film segments involved an alien butterfly–SPOILERS!–that eventually gets trapped in a transporter with Tom Servo…creating a hybrid robot butterfly:
I had an excellent time, and it was so cool not only seeing Joel and the gang live but being around so many fans from the show. This was also part of Joel’s “farewell tour,” so…it got me right in the feels!
If you want to check out more of the current MST3K and their future plans, visit their official website!