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Mr. Beaks Interviews MST3K Mastermind Joel Hodgson!

Rejoice! The MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 20th Anniversary Edition DVD is in stores today! FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS! LASERBLAST! WEREWOLF! FUTURE WAR! A three-part "Oral History of MST3K" and video of the San Diego Comic Con reunion panel hosted by Patton Oswalt! What's not to love? At the risk of being labeled a grump, here's something I don't love: one Joel Hodgson episode. And while FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS is perfectly enjoyable, it's not exactly top-tier when compared to something like LASERBLAST, which, riff-wise, I'd put in a class with POD PEOPLE, MANOS and TIME OF THE APES. To perhaps atone for this puzzling omission, Joel Hodgson did a round of press today in support of the otherwise wonderful 20th Anniversary set (seriously, don't let my grousing bother you; this is an absolute must-buy), and I was more than happy to take a second crack at interviewing the creator of my very favorite show of all time. We chatted for a good twenty minutes, and I tried my my best to delve into the topics that were left out of the documentary: e.g. we touch on his early stand-up days, the behind-the-scenes friction that led to his exit (at the height of the show's popularity), the disappointment of THE TV WHEEL, the alleged fury of Sandy Frank, and the arrogance of famed prop comic Gallagher. I think this is a much better discussion than the one from Comic Con, if only because I didn't have the added pressure of interviewing Jim Mallon and Trace Beaulieu (for all of eleven minutes). Hope you enjoy...

Mr. Beaks: I watched the three-part documentary on the 20th Anniversary set, and it struck me that there is no conceivable way you could start a show like this locally and get it to a network. You had this long gestation period in Minneapolis, and you had such a raw concept: no one at a network would know what to make of this.

Joel Hodgson: I totally agree. After I left the show and moved to L.A., I saw how the culture is so different in how you develop a show. We were just so lucky.

Beaks: When you were starting the show, it seems like you were doing it for your own amusement and thinking, "Maybe someone else will find this funny, too?"

Hodgson: I was a little bit more cagy than that. I remember doing an interview way before MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER saying, "The way to do it is to make the show locally, and then sell it nationally." I knew that's what we wanted to do; it just wasn't that clear. It's not like it was a top down idea, like "One day we'll cash in on this!" I really don't work that way, and I'm not that clever. But I did know that we'd eventually sell the show and try to make money on it. It wasn't purely to amuse myself and amuse my friends; it was ideally to get it to a place where it could work, and to do it where we could get paid. That was really the goal: to do it professionally. Otherwise, it's just too ambitious and too much work - especially if you've been in the business. I did stand-up for three years prior to that, so by the time I got out of college, I'd made a living performing and writing my stuff. When you get into that, it's hard to go back and think critically about a straight job.

Beaks: You kind of walked away from that career when it was starting to take off. Was there any anxiety about leaving [stand-up] and thinking "Oh, god, I just made the worst decision ever?"

Hodgson: Not really, because I got to do everything a stand-up can do. I got on Letterman, I got on SNL, I got on the Young Comedians Special. The only thing left would be to do a [solo] special. I suppose if I would've hung around I could've done that, but I had burnt all my stuff on Letterman and SNL. That would've been one last thing, but I wasn't quite to that level. People like [Sam] Kinison were getting one-hour specials. And Garry Shandling. There was a period after where they just gave everybody a half-hour special. So that would be the only thing. But I was genuinely out of ideas. I had gotten to do as much as I could do with my stand-up, and I couldn't think of anything else. And I was missing Minneapolis and hanging out with my friends, so I got to do that. For some reason, my friends were still hanging out there and hadn't moved on with their lives. So I got to have both: I got to have a stand-up career and hang out with my friends after college.

Beaks: Having been on SNL and Letterman, when you were starting to develop the show, were your collaborators intimidated? I mean, you'd been to the big show, and they'd just been in Minneapolis.

Hodgson: The guys I picked to help, Trace [Beaulieu] and J. Elvis [Weinstein], they were both really talented. They had lots of ideas themselves, and they're both really funny. So they came in and really helped me figure out what movie riffing was. My idea was just watching a movie with companions. I had a vague idea of us making comments and talking about the movie during the breaks and stuff like that, but those guys really deserve credit for helping me figure out the toolbox of movie riffing. By the time we got paid to do it, we were ready.

Beaks: I don't know if the concept mutated a little in between the Comedy Channel days and when you moved on to Comedy Central [which was a merger of CC and Ha!], but early on, with something like ROBOT MONSTER, it'd be like watching a movie with occasional wisecracks. But by the time you got to, say, TIME OF THE APES, it was wall-to-wall jokes. You weren't really watching the movie anymore. You guys were front and center.

Hodgson: I guess I really saw what MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER was going to be when we cut together a sell-tape to show to The Comedy Channel. We took the very best stuff and put it back-to-back, and I said, "That's what the show's got to be like!" So when we finally got the money, I said, "Okay, now we can write it." I think the period of that first year was us just learning what we did live - when we did KTMA, we were just improvising - and going to that next level. And on top of that, we finally got press. That year, we were one of People Magazine's "Top Ten Shows of the Year". When you get people saying, "This is great!", it helps get you to the next level.

Beaks: Speaking of TIME OF THE APES, some of the best episodes of your run were based around those Sandy Frank movies. Is it true that he has completely halted any chance of those shows getting to DVD?

Hodgson: I don't know. I don't really think he's involved with those. I think he was just distributing them for a short time. But I'm not sure. That's kind of outside my realm. I don't know where Sandy Frank is in the scheme of things. At the time, he was just a producer who'd attach his name to these Japanese movies. I bet your readers would have a far better idea than I would [of the rights issues]. In some situations, I know far less about the show than the average MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER fan.

Beaks: When you left, did you just stop thinking about the show altogether for a while?

Hodgson: You know, it was a really big personal tragedy for me to leave the show. I was fighting with Jim Mallon, and it was kind of based on the feature film. We were starting to work on the feature film, and one day Jim came in and said, "I'm going to produce and direct the movie." And I just kind of sat there and said, "Oh, man, I don't think that's a good idea." I wasn't saying I should direct the movie, because I didn't want to do that, but it really wasn't Jim's thing. That became a fight that... if it was to run its course, it would wreck the show. I didn't think Jim and I were going to resolve that, so that's why I left. That got cut out of the documentary, but that's kind of what I said.

Beaks: I was surprised that wasn't brought up. I guess they just didn't want to touch on any of that.

Hodgson: Exactly. At the part [of the documentary] where I said I felt like I'd lost creative control, that was the end of what I was saying. Because I walked into a meeting, and Jim said he was going to produce and direct the feature, and nobody was saying anything. That's when I said I felt like I was losing creative control. I didn't think that should happen.

Beaks: Subsequently, you did THE TV WHEEL, which is one of those classic failed pilots. It was so inventive. I think you had such a great idea, and, had you been able to develop it [outside of the network], I think it might've really become something. Do you feel like it just didn't get a chance?

Hodgson: Well, coming from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER, I really just felt like, "That's one comedic art form, and I'm going to come up with another comedic art form." It was another gesture to re-form a sketch show, to just take another run at it. But Hollywood is just completely different than a normal person thinks. The way it behaves, the way it produces, and the way it runs... I don't know how to explain it other than to say that it's a culture that doesn't really focus on the way people develop ideas. But I just had to try it because I was in this position where people were interested in what I wanted to do. But I think everybody goes through that. When you come off of a show, you get a chance to do something. And I didn't want to go right back in and do exactly the same thing: riffing on movies. That's what people wanted, but I thought I'd try another thing. It was really fun, and people seemed to like it, but it was just too hard for Hollywood to imagine. It was too different. My brother and I developed and produced [THE TV WHEEL]. We put a lot of time into it, but I wouldn't want to put more time into it. In my mind, it's just its own piece. It's a piece that I did, and I felt really lucky to get to realize it. And when I found out it wasn't going to get picked up, I was like, "Okay, I guess I got my answer."

Beaks: From that, you met Paul Feig and Judd Apatow? Or was that through X-BOX?

Hodgson: Yeah, Paul worked on X-BOX, and we brought Judd in on TV WHEEL. Judd wrote a sketch and Paul was on camera. I think Paul might've written something, too. But that's where I met those guys, doing that. So then they put me on FREAKS AND GEEKS, and I still get calls from Judd to come back and do stuff. He's been really nice.

Beaks: Well, he's doing this movie about stand-up called FUNNY PEOPLE. I know he's been rounding up some of the old crew from his stand-up days for appearances, and I thought it would be nice to see you doing your old act somewhere in there.

Hodgson: That's actually how I met Judd. I was twenty-two and working Caroline's in New York, and he was still in high school. But he would come into the city and do a radio show with comedians.

Beaks: With your stand-up comedy background, one of the great services MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER provided was that you let everyone know what bad prop comedy was by ridiculing Gallagher mercilessly.

Hodgson: (Laughing) That was a little personal vendetta I had with Gallagher. I met him once at a club, and he was picking through my props and looking at them. I said, "Yeah, I do prop comedy, too!" And he said, "You call them 'props'!?!? When a surgeon goes in to work on somebody, do you think he calls his instruments 'props'?" And I just kind of went, "Whatever, man. They're 'props'!" He was kind of a dick, so any chance I had to take a shot at him, I would. That's his thing. He's a very bombastic man, so it's okay.

Beaks: He was one of those incredibly unfunny guys who got nonstop cable specials, so it was nice to see someone deflate him.

Hodgson: Exactly. And he's just such a funny character to make fun of. He just had his own little weird universe.

Beaks: Do you ever look back at the old shows and find yourself saying, "Oh, man, we missed the opportunity to throw in a great joke!"?

Hodgson: You know, it works the opposite. So much time has gone by that I've forgotten a lot of it, so it makes me laugh again. I'm actually surprised sometimes by what I hear. It's really fun. We did 176 shows, and made a new one every seven days, so it was just a few days of my life. To see them again is kind of fun.

Patton brought this up at the reunion, but one of the luxuries of doing so many jokes was that you could throw in one or two super obscure riffs that no one was going to get save for one or two guys. And their mind would be completely blown. They'd be like, "I can't believe they just referenced that on national television!"

Hodgson: That was the beauty part of the show: there was so much space to fill that we didn't have to be too critical of what the other people were writing; we just had to fill it up. So there was lots of room for that, and that brought us a lot of pleasure. For every obscure line you threw in, there was somebody who was going to be hit right between the eyes, and they never forgot it. Occasionally, people would come up and say, "I just can't believe you said that." One person that said that to me was Frank Zappa. I got to talk to him before he passed away, and I asked him, "What's it like when we reference one of your records on the show?" And he said, "It's very unsettling." He found it strange, too.

As I was wrapping up with Joel, he mentioned that his new riffing venture, Cinematic Titanic, will be making stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York this winter. I missed their performance at last summer's Los Angeles Film Festival, so I'll definitely be in attendance this time around. Faithfully submitted, Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 28, 2008, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Great interview, BUT

    by NeoMyers

    ...Can we stop giving Joel free press for Cinematic Titanic at the expense of Mike Nelson over at Rifftrax. I never saw any interviews with Mike when Rifftrax came out about 8 or 9 months before CT. Just sayin' if you like MST3k and moving riffing you'd like Rifftrax too, but apparently THAT isn't "Cool News."

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Great interview...

    by TylerDurden3395

    Gallagher IS a douche. I waited on him once. I brought him out a piece of watermelon and a ballpeen hammer and asked him for a demonstration. He yelled at me and said "I do more than just hit watermelons! I'm a comedian!" Joel is my hero and MST is my favorite show of all time. I haven't received the box set in the mail yet, but I can't wait. Laserblast is my favorite episode (besides Manos) and is even my handle on the MST boards. Hopefully Joel can put together a full fledged MST reboot instead of Cinematic Titanic. It's OK, but it's just not the same.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Not Slighting Rifftrax At All

    by mrbeaks

    The fans know it's there, and it's great, too. Wasn't my intent to promote one at the expense of the other.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Nice, Beaks...

    by Read and Shut Up

    ...Joel is a class act all the way, funny and humble. Here's hoping he strikes it big with CT, but in the meantime thanks for a great interview.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Wasn't Rifftrax covered here a few years ago?

    by rev_skarekroe

    When it first came out? In the Coaxial section maybe?

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 4:54 p.m. CST

    either CT or riff

    by 3rdrate

    I find both pretty unwatchable, which is really really disappointing since I think MST is brilliant (with either Joel or Mike, for the record). You can clearly feel 1) the lack of refinement in the jokes and 2) the absence of different voices that made the show a huge mixture of types of humor. Lopping in half (or really pieces) just leaves a product that's pretty half-baked. I wish everyone a ton of success, but I think it's a lot harder than just coming up with 2 hours worth of jokes.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Sorry for my tone

    by NeoMyers

    I feel like I scolded you, Mr. Beaks. Sorry. I'm a Mike Nelson guy, so I'm defensive about my guy. That's not to say I didn't think Joel was funny--Eegah! ranks at the top of my favorites (Mitchell, Manos, and Pod People, too), but ultimately I liked Mike's delivery, the more adversarial relationship with the Mads, and the slightly more adult/biting humor of Mike's tenure. And it should be said that not every Rifftrax is great, BUT the Star Wars prequels are hilarious and express my disappointment/anger at those films perfectly. Star Trek V is a must see for any MST fan since that movie had been rumored for a long time.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Oh and...

    by NeoMyers

    As for seeing Rifftrax on this site, featured as an article, I visit this site daily (Yeah, I'm one of those guys) so unless I was on a vacation I never saw it.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 5:40 p.m. CST

    I liked the Nelson/Corbett era the best

    by superunknown85

    Space Mutiny, Future War, The Final Sacrifice, Hobgoblins, Agent for HARM, etc. The older episodes are great, but they lack the punchiness of the mid to late 90s episodes.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 5:50 p.m. CST

    First Spaceship on Venus...

    by gamerawangi

    Sorry to disagree... Wait, no, I'm not sorry. The "First Spaceship on Venus" episode is one of my favorites, and I've been waiting years for it to come out in a MST set. Some of my favorite lines come from that episode. Yet, I know A LOT of MST fans dislike it. Maybe it's because I saw the film (pre-MST) on TV as a kid and it kinda freaked me out. This is sort of my revenge for having been given the heebie-jeebies by a poorly made, Soviet-ear sci-fi film. I'm rambling, so I'll just shut up now...

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Interview was okay but--

    by thegreatwhatzit

    I appreciated the insight into Hodgson's career; but, good God, where's the behind-the-scenes vignettes about MST3K? The deleted stuff, the acquisition of the movies, the show's cancellation, etc., etc. You did a sterling job but, Hot Congo, I wanted MST3K. And fuck the Sci-Fi Channel for cancelling one the best shows of the past millennium...

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Beaks.

    by John Maddening

    I was just at the Cinematic Titanic live show in Minneapolis on Saturday, and it just made me nostalgic for the early years of the show. Don't get me wrong, it was very entertaining, but I felt like finding my old Channel 23 tapes of nothing but Gamera.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Nice interview. I really miss that show.

    by Godovhellfire

    Oh yeah, I had chili for lunch.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 7:06 p.m. CST

    CT / Rifftrax

    by fastcars

    I like Rifftrax because it's a nice twist on MST3K - doing commentary tracks that sync up with contemporary movies. It allows them to riff on stuff they could never riff on before. Whereas Cinematic Titanic looks just like Mystery Science Theater 3000, sans robots. What's the point?

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Nice interview...

    by Roketopunch

    I can't say whether I like Mike or Joel better. They both seem cool and are great in one of my favorite cable shows of all time. To this day. I miss the show and always want more of the bots. Sigh...

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 7:57 p.m. CST

    "A planet where men evolved from Apes?" We love you Joel!

    by Orionsangels

    The show was never the same when you left Joel. Mike did a good job though, but Joel, you'll always be Mystery Science Theater 3000 to me.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Joel v. Mike

    by fastcars

    They're equal. People just prefer who they saw first, methinks.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 8:27 p.m. CST

    Mike vs Joel

    by BigSteve03

    couldn't agree more with fastcars. Mike vs Joel is just like Kirk vs Picard, or Doctor Who 1-10 vs 1-10. Its a fun nerd arguement, but at the end of the day they all rock, and everyone just likes whoever they saw first. On the other hand CT totally sucks compared to Rifftrax. :P I think that's mainly because there's only been four CTs so far, vs tons of rifftrax. So CTs failures aren't covered up by volume like rifftrax's

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Was Gallagher being hilariously sarcastic maybe?

    by SnapT

    Poor misunderstood Gallagher.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 8:48 p.m. CST


    by LordPorkington

    Wow, what a small Talkback. I thought plenty of people would want to talk about MST3K. Maybe we have a younger bunch of Talkbackers these days who have absolutely no idea what this show is about? Or maybe they know what it is and just don't give a shit? Shame either way.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Rifftrax sample

    by NeoMyers

    Here is the sample for the latest Rifftrax: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Also, I think there was a definite difference between Mike and Joel that can be debated. Ultimately, I like Mike MORE, but as I mentioned above there are many Joel episodes I think are great. But it should be said that I like "Mitchell" a great deal because they really skewer the movie -- which is something Mike did far more, but I fully realize that some people prefer Joel's more easy going style. Check out the link above though, it looks funny.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 9:17 p.m. CST


    by kafka07

    Where have you been all these years, my man?!? You are my favorite facetious stoner of all time.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 9:31 p.m. CST


    by thecheesegrommit

    Jeez You're like "that" friend in every group that doesn't realize how inappropriate they are. The idea that you think it was ok to approach a diner at the establishment you worked at and aske him to perform is the definition of gall! Just plain intrusive. The fact that you call HIM the douche amuses me.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 10:03 p.m. CST

    I'M HUGE! but...

    by Bride of Mecha-Bill Pullman vs. Mecha-Bill Paxton

    My Ovapositor is sooo small.

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 10:20 p.m. CST

    "Tat-toos...are pommy...pom pemmy-pot"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    "My face, everything the same nose! Think about how scary THAT would be, ahhhhh...!!!!"

  • Oct. 28, 2008, 11:50 p.m. CST

    Fastcars...I disagree...

    by Banzai Rootskibango

    ...I used to watch the show when I was a kid...I'm talking 10 or 11 years old here...first guy I saw was Joel... <P> Then one day this lunkhead Mike was on it and I was like...where the hell is the other dude? <P> Over time however...I started to appreciate Mike and ended up enjoying his episodes far more than Joel' It's not just about who you saw first.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Agree with NeoMyers

    by Riff_Randell

    Where's the Rifftrax love? I started watching during the Joel days, on CC, love those eps, but I prefer Mike. Agreed Banzai, it's not about who you saw first. Same thing happened with Angel/Buffy vs Spike/Buffy. Watched BtVS from the start. I much prefer Spike/Buffy. And I wonder why so many guys dislike Mike? Hm.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Why argue which one was better?

    by one_crazy_nagger

    They both were hilarious in their own unique ways. In my opinion, Joel was great at the one-liners, and Mike was great with funny voices. If there should be any arguing, it should be directed at Comedy Central and Sci-Fi Channel for canceling one of the greatest shows ever.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 12:32 a.m. CST

    I STILL miss Joel.

    by darwinmayflower

    Mike seems like a really nice guy, but I am sorry, Joel shits bigger than him.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 12:33 a.m. CST


    by Riff_Randell

    Where's the 'My Name is Bruce' Alamo Drafthouse review? That was three days ago.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 1:06 a.m. CST

    joel is objectively the better host

    by Prossor

    i've watched all the mst3k seasons back and forth and went betwen liking 1 host over the other more than i can count, i've realized that mike is more witty, more cynical, more polished, but whatever he had none of that matters, joel had the presence and undescribably 'it' to him, the fuzznyess. subjectively i like both equally and dont care whom i watch to host, but joel is the better host. even mike said it himself, being modest that he is, but he is right.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 1:38 a.m. CST

    That's Enough. Normal View.

    by G100

    normal view. Normal View. NORMAL VIEW! NOOORMAAAL VIIIIEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!<p> <p>Some might think it heresy and I realise that an awful lot of work prolly went into the interstitial "sketches" but TBH I almost ALWAYS ignored or skip em. The Movies where the meat is, and usually a most amusing meat at that.<p> <p>[exit with the "haunting" Torgo theme playing]

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 3:04 a.m. CST

    The RiffTrax of "The Star Wars Holiday Special"...

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.<p>Even funnier is how Mike and Co. suggest you get the "unavailable" on home video or DVD footage of the special:<p>""But, Rifftrax," you say, "Rifftrax, please - The Star Wars Holiday Special is not commercially available. How am I supposed to watch this?!" Well, we assume you taped it off the TV back in 1978 using your 130 pound top loading Panasonic NV-9300 U-Matic VCR, just like we did. If not, what were you thinking? Stop right now and GO Out and Get Looking for onE."<p>"So ours is two hours long and has a descriptive scroll on the front end, just like the one you can Get frOm yOur friend Greg, in LakE VIDEO, Illinois. (Don't look it up, they don't like to draw attention to themselves in Lake Video.)"

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Rifftrax blows!!

    by MaxTheSilent

    Charging money for half-assed scripted commentaries on popular (often great) movies, purely to get downloads!?! Fuck that shit! Keep it real and subscribe to DVDPodBlast; the first, best and ONLY source you need of alternate commentaries. And unlike Rifftrax they Blast BAD movies. It's off-the-cuff, live and hilarious. That's, or subscribe through iTunes. No. I'm not one of them, I'm just a fan who is apalled at the mediocrity dished out by the lame-asses at Rifftrax.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 4:53 a.m. CST

    DVDPodBlast BLOWS!!!

    by Super Moo

    Tried it once... never will again. Leave comedy to the professionals. But I agree with Bob about the Star Wars Holiday Special riffing by the Rifftrax crew. I don't think I've ever laughed harder!

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Wish you have posted pics...

    by ricarleite

    Joel > Mike, it's obvious. But Mike was very good and had great moments (see "Mixed up Zombies" for his best). Also, I'm sad the box doesn't include Manos, it's the most classic and well known episode! GREAT interview, but it makes me so sad MST3K is gone... And it has been 20 years, oh my GOD I'm getting OLD!

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 6 a.m. CST

    Re: G100

    by ricarleite

    It's the Brack show, I'm Brack! It's the Brack show, and I have a lot of guests, doo doo dee doo...

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 8:38 a.m. CST

    I prefer Joel

    by Drunken Rage

    but mostly because of "Daddy-O" and "Wear Your Pants Up High." Goddamn, that was a funny episode.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Sandy Frank, Sandy Frank likes to poop in his hand

    by krullboyisback

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    I loved Manos the Hands of Fate

    by krullboyisback

    that movie was filmed in El Paso Texas, and I had the poor fortune of having been stationed there for 4 long, boring years. . . and Torgo was never in sight!

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST

    I've heard that line about Joel as the better host before...

    by NeoMyers

    ...but I really don't get it. It always looked like he was reading off cue cards (and probably was at times). So, maybe we're debating each host's merits when really what's going on is the style of the show changed. Joel's episodes are all very standalone (they all are except for Sci-Fi, I know, but follow this) he talked to the audience, explained the concept, and generally acted like he was inviting the audience in for a snap shot of an experiment. Mike's episodes, on the other hand, gradually started taking the "show" part out of it. Even though Mike addressed the audience and welcomed them, most of the story action started to portray life on the satellite as opposed to skits, movie related material, and Mads' experiments. Season 8 is the culmination of this as Mike welcomes the audience, but then transitions to dealing with the wormhole they're in or orbiting Ancient Rome. Joel (despite looking like he was reading off of cue cards) was genuinely hosting the events we watched, not in control of them obviously, but he was our gateway into the world. Mike, on the other hand, was more of a participant in the events, acknowledging the audience, but never seemingly ABOVE the action, rather than simply ushering us into this goofy world In the Not Too Distant Future... There. That's my thesis statement on the differences between two mid-western men that hosted a puppet show about making fun of bad movies.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST

    The transition of Mike/Joel

    by ArcadianDS

    I felt this was one of the smoothest transitions of any tv show wherein the feature performer is replaced. I enjoy both of them greatly, but you have to give extra credit to the one who actually built the temple over the one who moved in and polished the marble often.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST


    by menstrual_blitz

    joel! I had the biggest fake-crush on him back in junior high...sure, mike's funny and all, but joel's got that dry/low-key, world-weary-goofball delivery. missed cinematic titanic due to a longstanding curse wherein i find myself mysteriously bereft of cash whenever something cool-yet-costly happens (my sense of what constitutes "costly" is rooted firmly in the early-mid 90's)...favorites of the curse include any "special event(s)", preferably "long-awaited" and/or "one night only!", and pretty much all film festivals.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 2:13 p.m. CST

    oh yeah...

    by menstrual_blitz

    ...and not that anybody's still on here or anything, but I thought I read awhile back that Joel was doing something or other relating to Ernie Kovacs? anybody know anything about that?

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 2:41 p.m. CST

    MST3K jumped the shark

    by tvs_frank

    when they decided to make Dr.Forrester rather flaming and added Tv's Frank's mom to the cast. no wonder most of the originals left when they did. at least Joel's episodes were consistently funny and witty

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Joel seemed to have a love for film

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Mike (and still is) a little too mean spirited for my taste.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Ahh, the endless Joel v. Mike argument...

    by TheGreatHomsar

    ...gotta say, I love 'em both. Although having met Joel at a live CT event, I will say that he and the entire crew were extremely considerate of the (somewhat frightening) nerds who showed up to lavish adoration upon them. Very nice guy, wish him all the best. Oh, and can we please retire "jump the shark" already? Good god.

  • Oct. 29, 2008, 3:55 p.m. CST


    by tvs_frank

    how about,"nuked the fridge" instead?

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST

    by smallerdemon

    I am with TheGreatHomsar, I love 'em both. Cinematic Titanic hasn't played a live show here in San Francisco yet (well, not for a public audience anyway), though, and RiffTrax has done several remarkable shows here (including the one movie MST3K often said was "too easy", Plan 9 - turns out the riffing was astounding). <p> That said, I find that my back catalog of MST3K and converting from VHS to DVD (First Spaceship On Venus was like the third one I converted for my own amusement) has provided more than enough material that I rarely find myself buying either one of the new offerings (although I fully support going to see either RT or CT live shows since those can be amazing).