Houston Matters

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Creator Joel Hodgson Gets Back Into Riffing Shape

Hodgson celebrates the show’s 30th anniversary by dusting off the old red jumpsuit and live-riffing a movie in Houston Saturday.

Joel Hodgson - MST3K
Joel Hodgson, the creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000, in his role as Joel Robinson.


Thirty years ago this month, on a television station in Minneapolis, a unique show made its debut. The premise of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was that a mad scientist had trapped an ordinary guy named Joel Robinson on board a spaceship and forced him and his robot friends to watch some of the cheesiest B-movies ever made. And their only hope for staying sane was to make fun of the films.

Joel Robinson was played by the series creator, Joel Hodgson, who a couple years ago used a Kickstarter campaign to revive the series on Netflix. And now a second season on Netflix will premiere on Thanksgiving.

To celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary, Hodgson and some of the cast of the current episodes are touring the nation to riff on bad movies in front of a live audience, including a Houston performance at Cullen Performance Hall on Saturday (Nov. 3).

Hodgson and company will make fun of a Canadian science-fiction movie called The Brain with their live silhouettes on the bottom of the screen just like viewers are used to seeing on the TV show.

MST3K 30th Anniversary Tour
Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson (left) and the show’s new star, Jonah Ray, are touring the nation with a series of live performances to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary.

This is the first time in several years that Hodgson has live-riffed a movie onstage – and it's been even longer since he's played the role of Joel Robinson.

In the audio above, he tells Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty what it's like bringing that character back to life.

MORE: Joel Hodgson explains his role in launching Tom Arnold's stand up comedy career…



Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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