MST3k Live

[TURN DOWN LIGHTS WHERE APPLICABLE]

Last weekend I had the honor of attending the Mystery Science Theater 3000 live show, and can I just say it was one of the best shows I have seen in my entire life.

IMG_1636

For nearly the entire time I have been watching MST3k, it has been a pretty solitary activity. These days it’s mostly me watching on the iPad while I’m doing dishes (and of course once upon a time it was me sitting in my apartment in Philly, and before that it was me staying up reaaaaaaly late at my dad’s house). So needless to say, watching it among hundreds of people brought a different…energy to the equation.

Now, look, I’ve been to some *pretty geeky shows* in my day. Niche shows with an extremely dedicated audience, where 75% of of the attendees come in costume. And none of those shows even came CLOSE to the energy of this crowd. And they maintained that energy for the entire show (keep in mind this was the second show in a row for many of those people!) People were laughing so hard that it was hard to hear all of the lines, people were falling out of their seats, and I had tears streaming down my face. It was simply amazing.

IMG_1639

It was great to see everybody in person, but I was kind of surprised at how visceral my reaction was to seeing Joel Hodgson live and in the flesh. This man was a hero of my childhood, and there he was, standing on stage right in front of me.

IMG_1630

In fact, I came very, very close to meeting him in person! Turns out Tim Ryder, the guy doing the voice of Tom Servo on the tour, is a friend of a friend. Our mutual friend sent him my blog post about them replacing my stolen membership card and he contacted me through the blog. He tried to get us the secret backstage access, but there was a bit of a communications snafu and I couldn’t convince the security guys to let us in.

Next time!

Anyway, the show was fantastic, the crowd was as into it as a crowd could be, and I laughed as hard as I have ever laughed in my life. Even without the secret backstage access it was a night that I will remember for a long, long time.

Advertisements

MST3k comes through for me

As you are probably aware, I was mugged recently. Of all the bad things that happened because of that, obviously the worst (BY FAR) was the theft of my MST3k Revival League membership card.

From my post on the new season of MST3k:

I had planned to lead with a picture of my Mystery Science Theater Revival League membership card, but my mugger is now enjoying it (because of course I kept my Mystery Science Theater Revival League membership card in my wallet…what if I needed to show it at a moment’s notice?)

Well.

Unbeknownst to me, a friend tweeted at the host of MST3k, Jonah Ray, and explained what had happened. A short while later, I got a little something in the mail:

The text of the letter reads:

Shane!
So sorry to hear that you’ve hit a rough patch and that someone made off with your Official League ID. We’ve got your back, friend.
Best,
Ivan
Ivan Askwith
Producer, MST3k

Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show I have adored for almost as long as I can remember, a show that I actually cried over when it was revived, HAS MY BACK.

If I wasn’t a fan already…

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

I had planned to lead with a picture of my Mystery Science Theater Revival League membership card, but my mugger is now enjoying it (because of course I kept my Mystery Science Theater Revival League membership card in my wallet…what if I needed to show it at a moment’s notice?)

I know I’m a tad late to the game on watching these here; you’d think someone as devoted as me would have been there on day 1. But there’s been a lot going on, most of it bad, and needless to say, I really needed something this week.

This was exactly what I needed.

I was a little nervous about it: how could they possibly capture the magic, the low-budget feel, the cheesiness? After raising all of that money, how could they keep from taking themselves too seriously? How could anything that was such an integral part of my childhood ever live up to the hype?

And then as soon as the opening credits started, I knew. I just knew. They did it. It is perfect in every way. It is exactly everything I ever could have hoped it would be. It was different, but it was exactly the same.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I almost cried. I’ve only seen one episode so far, but I laughed so hard I could barely breath. Like ridiculous “heee heee heee” laughs almost too high pitched for the human ear to hear. Granted, I am a little sleep deprived, but then again I was the first time around when I would try to stay up until midnight to catch an episode. So even that felt nostalgic.

To quote myself from 2012:

As is the case with writing about any of the things I love, I just don’t know how to convey how much I loved mst3k. I’d have to explain how funny the show is, or how I would practically prop my eyes open with toothpicks to try and stay up until the episode started at midnight, or how much I loved my mst3k tee shirt in college, or how devastated I was when Joel left the show, vowing I would never like Mike no matter what, only to later like Mike so much that I had trouble deciding which host I preferred, or how my and Sara’s first date involved watching Manos: The Hands of Fate. Eleven years and 197 episodes, not to mention how many times I’ve watched the ones I have on DVD (and even more that I can’t watch anymore because they’re on VHS!)

I needed this so bad right now. I literally can not wait to watch the 2nd episode tonight. I told Sara, “Don’t worry about doing the dishes for the next 13 nights.” She said hopefully, “Maybe you could watch half an episode a night and make it 26 nights?” (Of course I can…doesn’t she remember the Mystery Science Theater Hour, when they used to play 1 hour half-episodes on Comedy Central??)

Thank you, so, so much to everybody who made this happen.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Oh, my friends. Let me tell you about one of the greatest shows every produced in the history of mankind: Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The MST3K planet logo

“Mystery Science Theater 3000” is a mouthful, so it’s often shortened to mst3k, or even “misty” due to the fact that even mst3k is a bit of a mouthful, and misty is what it sounds like when you say “m-s-t” really fast.

The premise of the show was simple (and spelled out right there in the theme song):

In the not-too-distant future — Next Sunday A.D. —
There was a guy named Joel, Not too different from you or me.
He worked at Gizmonic Institute, Just another face in a red jumpsuit.
He did a good job cleaning up the place,
But his bosses didn’t like him, so they shot him into space.

We’ll send him cheesy movies, The worst we can find (la-la-la).
He’ll have to sit and watch them all, And we’ll monitor his mind (la-la-la).
Now keep in mind Joel can’t control Where the movies begin or end (la-la-la)
Because he used those special parts To make his robot friends.

Makes, perfect sense, right?

So Joel and the robots were forced to watch terrible movies (mostly science fiction) and in order to keep their sanity, spent the entire time making fun of them. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you may have run across the iconic image of the guys sitting in their movie seats in front of the screen:

As is the case with writing about any of the things I love, I just don’t know how to convey how much I loved mst3k. I’d have to explain how funny the show is, or how I would practically prop my eyes open with toothpicks to try and stay up until the episode started at midnight, or how much I loved my mst3k tee shirt in college, or how devastated I was when Joel left the show, vowing I would never like Mike no matter what, only to later like Mike so much that I had trouble deciding which host I preferred, or how my and Sara’s first date involved watching Manos: The Hands of Fate. Eleven years and 197 episodes, not to mention how many times I’ve watched the ones I have on DVD (and even more that I can’t watch anymore because they’re on VHS!)

Long story short, it was a great show and I’m feeling all sad and nostalgic just thinking about it.

There are so many good episodes (about 197 of them, give or take), but off the top of my head I would have to list my favorites in this order:

  1. The Final Sacrifice
  2. Pod People
  3. Manos: The Hands of Fate
  4. Space Mutiny

I know the guys are still out there doing RiffTrax (you buy the mp3 of their commentary and sync it to the movie as you watch it), but I’ve never tried it out. Anybody want to make it a movie night? And if not, I’ve got plenty of old misty episodes lying around…