Hi guys. We are getting ready to do our second year of the MST3K Turkey Day Revival (www.MST3KTurkeyDay.com). We had over 100,000 people tune in last year - it was a big success - so thank you for your support and we are happy to be bringing it back again this year.

A quick refresher for those who may not know what MST3K Turkey Day is: we will be streaming MST3K classics starting at 9 AM PST / 12 noon ET on Thanksgiving day on our official site, www.MST3KTurkeyDay.com. It is free and a better alternative than watching football.

Go ahead and AMA. Victoria's helping me get started.


EDIT this is so much fun, thank you. I'm so happy we get to do Turkey Day again, it's going to be a lot of fun. See you guys Thursday: www.MST3KTurkeyDay.com.

Comments: 1917 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

tupper931103 karma

Hey Joel! I've always wondered...

How did you eat and breathe? And other science facts like that.

Joel_Hodgson_1294 karma

You're really gonna make me do this? Okay... repeat to yourself: It's a show, you should just relax...

mydearwatson616819 karma

I used to get up early every Saturday to watch MST3K! Thanks so much for the awesome entertainment.

Who is your favorite robot, and why is it Tom Servo?

Joel_Hodgson_665 karma

I love BOTH robots equally!

ReallyJustRelax557 karma

Did you ever lampoon a film on MST3k that you felt bad about mocking later? Like maybe you made a mean-ish joke about an actor or a director who turned out to be a really great guy? I know Joe Don Baker really didn't appreciate being the butt of many butt related jokes in Mitchell for example.

Joel_Hodgson_1037 karma

That's a really good question.

The answer is YES. The movie was EEGAH, and the person I felt we were particularly tough on was Arch Hall, Jr. I believe we called him a "stiff with teeth and hair." I met him this summer at a convention, and he couldn't have been nicer. And he's a wonderful guy and was very complimentary and said he was really glad we riffed the movie. He said something like "It isn't lost on me that I get to work these conventions because you guys did my movie." He was really nice about it. But i was pretty nervous meeting him, because I thought he was really going to hate me, but he was really nice about it.

tupper93425 karma

Thank you so much for MST3K! Several quotes and references from that show have entered my day-to-day vernacular.

  1. Which is your favorite episode?
  2. Did you continue to watch after you left?

Joel_Hodgson_753 karma

1) For Joel episodes, I like "I accuse my parents" and for Mike episodes, my favorite is "Final Sacrifice."

2) Yes, yes I did. But it took me a long time to come back and watch the show. I was really frustrated when I left and didn't really want to watch it.

Blame_Cornjob409 karma

Hi Joel, looking forward to another Turkey Day Marathon. Will be be seeing any surprises? TV's Frank? The Bots?

Joel_Hodgson_461 karma

I'm not at liberty to say right now. You'll just have to tune in.

Xylem-up220 karma

But we're FREAKING OUT. Should we relax or not? We need to know.

Joel_Hodgson_505 karma

I like to think you're freaking out, that's good. Watch the Turkey Day Marathon. I want 2-3 more days of solid, good freaking out.

Zouch337 karma

Do people make Thunderdome jokes in your presence, or is everyone beyond that now?

Joel_Hodgson_361 karma


Wow, that's really great.

I'm not going to tell you to get beyond Thunderdome. I know what you're trying to do, and I'm not going to try to ask you to get Beyond Thunderdome.

dobie1kenobi287 karma

I remember your statement on some behind the scenes clips back in the 90's that you proceeded from a stance that "the right people will get this". This is so contrary to the way most people in production think now-a-days, which is why nothing seems to get made that isn't a reboot, a sequel, a prequel, or something that is based off an already accepted story-line (comic-book movies etc.)

How do you stick to this mantra, and who else do you know is still following it?

Joel_Hodgson_294 karma

Oh my god.

I guess, to answer your question - "The right people will get this" was the way I felt about it at the time, and it just happened to work, you know?

Madcap_Laffriot281 karma

Pardon any ignorance should I have missed a comment in an interview, but for your prospective MST3k reboot have you considered designing new Bots? Many minuses for sure, but I can think of one big plus.

Joel_Hodgson_558 karma

I think, for the reboot, obviously people would really want to see the original robots back. So I intend to do that. But hopefully we'll bring some new ones too.

bill_clay269 karma

In your farewell episode (Mitchell), you allow the bots to destroy a handcrafted replica of Monticello that took years to complete. Was the toothpick model an analogy for the show?

Joel_Hodgson_508 karma

Oh my god, NO. You're reading way too much into it!

sanjurotsubaki234 karma

Hi, Joel.

Question for you on MST3k. When the series was ramping up in mainstream popularity, was there ever any strange merchandise, promotion, or just general request made by network executives (or others) to further market the brand that you or any of the crew kind of laughed off or outright declined?


Joel_Hodgson_417 karma

No... the amazing thing was, we never had any interference from the executives at Comedy Central when we were making the show. There was only one and that was they wanted us to make the silhouettes green on the B&W movies because they felt people wouldn't be able to see our silhouettes. So we did that for one episode, that was ROBOT MONSTER. But we figured out how to fix it, by putting a blue cast to the film.

origami_rock234 karma

What was the turning point that made you leave L.A. to go back to Minnesota and how long did it take to realize that was the right decision?

Joel_Hodgson_345 karma

Oh! Yeah, I just got worn out in LA. I felt like I'd done everything I'd set out to do, and there wasn't anything left for me. And right away, I was happy I went back. Because I still had a lot of cool bohemian friends that were hanging out in Minneapolis doing fun things, so it was fun right away.

Phunny168 karma

Do you remember when you did the movie Mitchell? That was awesome.

Joel_Hodgson_158 karma

I do remember it. Thank you very much. And it WAS awesome.

Frajer164 karma

is there any movie you wouldn't do on Mystery Science Theater ?

Joel_Hodgson_359 karma

OF COURSE. There are movies that people love and are very familiar with and I kinda feel like, you know - part of the allure of Mystery Science Theater is that you kinda don't know what movie you're getting? It's like going on a tour of a scary house in your neighborhood, you don't know what's in there.

improbablewobble152 karma

Hi Joel, I'm a big fan in Austin, Texas. I've always wondered what happened with Mister Sinus Theater, the comedy group who did a live version of MST3K. They changed the name to Master Pancake and the rumour was that you guys sent a cease and desist. What actually happened? For the record, if you did I don't think it was a bad thing to protect your brand.

Joel_Hodgson_276 karma

I didn't have anything to do with that, those guys are good friends of mine, just last year I riffed a bunch of movies with them in Austin.

Vagfilla149 karma

What are some old really bad movies that you wanted to do but couldn't get rights for? How did you get rights to things like Hellcats? Was it relatively easy of did you fight for some of them?

Joel_Hodgson_269 karma

Well, I'll give you the usual answer, and it's kind of long, okay?

Going back aways - we'd get the movies when they were cleared already, so the lawyers already felt confident that they could license the movies. Not the other way around, because it would take investment and manpower to go through them and riff them. It's somewhat obscure, because I think people think we window-shopped for movies, but it's more like fixing up a home - so you want to make sure you can BUY the home first, before you spend a lot of time and money fixing it up.

ineededtosaythishere144 karma

Who would you rather have break Asimov's 3 Laws of Robotics on you, Crow or Tom Servo?

Joel_Hodgson_241 karma


I completely expect I'll be killed by Crow. Tom couldn't do much, he could just pinch you.

Tarlcabot18136 karma

Hey Joel! Anything new to tell us about the MST3K reboot?

Joel_Hodgson_273 karma

We're working on it. I'll tell ya later.

just_say_missingno132 karma

Thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to walk amongst us adoring peons! Your willingness to indulge our nosy, interrogative spam festival is deeply appreciated. Got a couple of Qs for ya:

  • Is there anywhere we might be able to see an un-edited, un-bobbitted, otherwise un-jacked-with version of TV Wheel, as you intended it to be seen?

  • If if you had to pick one thing you wish your fans knew\understood about you (or your career, or your creations), what would it be? I don't necessarily mean this from a "mundane question you're sick of answering because people don't know how to use Google" perspective, but more of a "people just don't seem to realize\understand this" sort of thing.

Live long and prosper, good sir! Looking forward to Turkey Day. :D

Joel_Hodgson_371 karma

Thanks for checking in about that. I'm certain that I'll release a version of it in the future.

I think I should answer this by saying: It sounds like you are letting me write my own ticket, is that correct? And I appreciate that. Thanks for letting me write my own ticket. And I guess I will say: one of my favorite features of the show is the concept of Movie Sign and I put that in there so we wouldn't have to figure out how to end sketches - the Movie Sign just comes in there and we have to run away. Movie Sign is one of my favorite features, and I put it there because it's impossible to write good endings for sketches, so Movie Sign comes in there and interrupts us so we never have to finish them.

dixoncase99 karma

What movie did you most want to skewer on MST3K but couldn't, and why?

Also, what is the worst meal you've ever eaten?

Joel_Hodgson_198 karma

Oh, the movie I would like to do most is HAPPY FEET 2! And why? For obvious reasons.

The worst meal I ever had... oh my god... uh... oh boy... I think a pizza i had at a bowling alley once was pretty bad.

bigbadbarl98 karma

Dear Joel, you're awesome.

Do you have a favorite invention from the old invention exchanges?

Joel_Hodgson_185 karma

Yes, I like the one from when we did surgery on Frank and it was a giant Operation game.

modesthouse97 karma

did you really go to school with Faruk Alatan?

Joel_Hodgson_96 karma


punisher240489 karma

I saw J Elvis Weinstein at Acme last week, and I got him to sign my Beeper printed photo, which he did. I told him that Beeper was by far my favorite character on the show and that I gave up on it all together shortly after he became Servo. Now he got that it was joke, as I am a massive fan who has seen every episode. He laughed and we chatted a bit after the show, he is so funny.

My question is, how close was Beeper to becoming a mainstay, I know you created them the day before the shoot. Was there always a big picture plan to have two talking robots or is there an alternate universe where Beeper survived all ten seasons and a movie?

Anyways I love you as a creative inspiration and I am so thankful you made MST3K in the Twin Cities and thank you for helping define my sense of humor, as I am currently pursuing stand-up/comedy writing/improv. Thanks again!

Edit: correcting the structure to underline the fact that I was joking about Beeper actually being my favorite, I'm 29 so there really was no way for me to even know Beeper existed until the internet did. Thanks for the response though Joel! :D

Joel_Hodgson_397 karma

I think there is no way in hell Beeper could have made it in the show. And the fact that he's your favorite confounds me. Is there a way to block you on this?

Seriously, man, I'm worried for you.

DestinationDis89 karma

If Crow wore one article of clothing. ala a Hannah Barbara character, what would it be?

Joel_Hodgson_168 karma

This is so stupid! I can't believe you are asking me this! But I will answer your question!

A tie! He'd wear a Fred Flintstone style tie!

There's not that many things, when you think about it. It's either going to be a tie or a hat. Did Huckleberry Hound have a tie? I don't think so. They were mostly collars. It seemed like they always gave them collars you know?

Joel_Hodgson_102 karma

A collar / tie hybrid.

projectedpaul72 karma

What are the most memorable items fans have asked you to sign?

Joel_Hodgson_169 karma

It's really nice when they hand me their original INFORMATION CLUB membership cards, that's always kind of amazing, because that means they've held onto it for over 20 years.

poorpeople70 karma

Joel, I'm a huge fan of both MST3K and your stand up work. What advice do you have for someone that wants to get into comedy writing and maybe even stand up?

Joel_Hodgson_233 karma

I would say: just keep a notebook. Write all your ideas down. And take all your jokes, and arrange them from your favorite joke to your least favorite, and start with your second-favorite joke and end with your best joke.

mqbush66 karma

Joel, I am having trouble with velvet leaf and cutworm. Can you recommend anything that is not made by Monsanto?

Joel_Hodgson_114 karma

I was just going to say something from Monsanto!

That's a really good question, but i don't have an answer. It's been so long since I've watched THE FARM REPORT, I can't answer that.

hotbutterpopcorn62 karma

What about a movie about a time travelling vampire or demon slayer or vampire slayer or something?

Joel_Hodgson_194 karma

Perfect! We'll call it ROCK N' ROLL DEMONSLAYER: TIME TRAVEL VAMPIRE! It writes itself!

et11robot60 karma

If you could watch anyone from history - living or dead - riff a movie, who would you want to do it? Which movie would it be?

Joel_Hodgson_135 karma

I guess I would like to riff a movie with George Méliès, because he created fantasy film. And I guess - HAPPY FEET 2?

WorksWork59 karma

Have you ever considered doing a MST3K type show for TV shows rather than movies?

Joel_Hodgson_95 karma

Yeah, we've talked about it over the years. And you know... my impressions is the thing that's nice about MST3K is that it gets refreshed with new characters and new situations. And the thing about TV is that it's the same characters. Obviously I would never say never about that, but that's my impression. It's just easier to refill with new movies rather than with a TV show that has the same characters.

FranktheShark58 karma


Joel_Hodgson_221 karma

I'll hold him up to the keyboard. It takes him a while, cuz his hands are so small but here goes:

Hithere,I'mTomServo!Thanksforcoming toJoel'sAMA!

And I don't know... this is Joel. Sorry.

RhedSeven55 karma

If they cast you in the new Star Wars, who would you like to play?

Joel_Hodgson_220 karma

Jimmy Smits.

Super_Satchel50 karma

What is your favorite movie to riff? Do you ever re-watch a movie and come up with new/better jokes and want to remake the episode? Would you ever do this?

Joel_Hodgson_84 karma

Oh! That's a really good question. And I think it's really true. We've already pioneered this idea for Cinematic Titanic when we re-riffed SANTA CLAUSE CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. We did all-new jokes, except for one.

HankDerb47 karma

Hey Joel, Huge fan of MST3K ever since i can remember.

I was always wondering who came up with the design for tom servo? The gumball machine was just perfect.

Also, do you have a favorite movie or short that was almost too easy to riff on?

Thanks again for doing this ama and for making such a genius show.

Joel_Hodgson_118 karma

Thank you. I designed Tom Servo.

Hehe. Oh my goodness. No, but I can say the hardest one to riff on was MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. I can't think of the easiest, but the hardest one was MANOS, for me.

darkscottishloch47 karma

Hi, Joel! I just want to say that MST3K was part of my youth and informed my sense of humor, which may be why no one likes to watch movies with me. Can you tell us about the most memorable, gratifying or just plain weird experience you had meeting a fan? Thanks!

Joel_Hodgson_91 karma

Oh yeah! Just a week ago, I was at a wedding in LA, and I met Mitch Hurwitz, who created ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, my favorite show, and he shocked me by saying he was a huge fan of MST3K. So that was kind of an amazing experience.

AND recent!

kingbiggins46 karma

Hi Joel, How do I make hot chocolate with my interocitor? Thanks!

Joel_Hodgson_72 karma

Swiss Miss instant cocoa has put it out as an intelligence test. If you order all their flavors and combine them, you'll get an interocitor.

Samizdat200344 karma

How has the world hurt you?

Joel_Hodgson_82 karma

I'll just answer this by saying: Haha, I was only kidding about that. I've actually gone through most of my life relatively unscathed, I'm happy to report.

rocketmonkey123442 karma

Any thoughts on Werner Herzog? He haunts my dreams. Also are there any documentaries you guys would riff?

Joel_Hodgson_96 karma

I'm glad you're finally getting the message, because Werner and I have been working on affecting your dreams, a la Inception, for years now....

Armitando41 karma

Have you heard anything more about MST3K coming to PBS stations?


Joel_Hodgson_89 karma


chevyfried36 karma

Yo Joel! I grew up watching MST3K after my comedy loving brother introduced me to the show. The early seasons were the best and so funny. I always loved when you, Tom and Crow would interact with what is being shown on the screen. Gypsy always cracked me up too. I haven’t watched MST3K in decades, but I will never forget a tune you and the crew sang during Gamera: “Gamera is really neat, Gamera is full of turtle meat.” Had me in stitches.
1) Was it filmed in front of a green screen? If yes, how did you see what you were doing when you when you physically interacted with the movie?
2) Did you see the movie beforehand and come up with a script, or was it all on the spot improv?
3) What is one current movie you would love to MST3K-ify?

Joel_Hodgson_51 karma

1) Actually, it wasn't a green screen, it was a process called luminance key. Which was essentially a large white wall. And the way I was able to see myself was we had a monitor down below the theater seats.

2) It was all written.


UglyMcFugly34 karma

What's your opinion of the "bad on purpose" SyFy channel movies like Sharknado?

Joel_Hodgson_64 karma

My opinion is they are kind of a big misunderstanding.

Movies like that are predicated on confusing a large percentage of the audience into thinking they were meant to be good, but somehow turned out misaligned, thereby driving discussion online and elsewhere.

But it's a common creative exercise to try to make something bad and I think there are a lot of good benefits to that.

nash07634 karma

Thanks for this and for bringing back Turkey Day! Do you have any more holiday surprises like the Patrick Swayze Christmas Choir in store for us this year? :)

Joel_Hodgson_71 karma

Hmmm. If you've been really, really good...

I don't want to spoil anything. That would be telling.

ICYMI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq8WhYTRbC8

rodomonte31 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA again.

Now that my friends and I can't go see Cinematic Titanic anymore, any chance you'll come do "Riffing Myself" in Milwaukee?

Joel_Hodgson_64 karma

Mostly I do "Riffing Myself" when I make comic-con appearances, so if you have one, bring me in!

pocketmobsters30 karma

How did your time on Cinematic Titanic compare to your time on MST3K? (Shooting in MN vs. touring; riffing in the internet era, etc.)

Joel_Hodgson_49 karma

Cinematic Titanic was really great, just because we got to kind of develop everything in front of a live audience, so we really found out what worked with a different experience. It changed the content a bit, but was also really fun, because we could also see what was working.

killingword27 karma

When you watch movies with people, do they expect you to crack jokes the whole time and give them the MST3K experience?

Jimmy Smits

Joel_Hodgson_49 karma

Sometimes they do, and they're always really disappointed.

I'm like everybody else: when I go to a movie, I'm hoping to be taken up into the movie just like everybody else. Riffing on movies is my job, and I go to movies to have fun.

Rakaith26 karma


Joel_Hodgson_48 karma

Oh, what a great question... BEGINNING OF THE END is a good one?

I don't believe that film exists.

danigirl32925 karma

What made you get into MST3K in the first place? Was it well received when you created the show, or was it hard to pitch at first?

Joel_Hodgson_60 karma

Well, fortunately we did 22 episodes before I had to pitch it. So it existed prior to pitching it. So fortunately we just put together a reel and showed that. And it got bought, so...

DevonOO723 karma

Favorite James Bond movie?

Joel_Hodgson_54 karma

My favorite Bond movie? I think it's probably... Goldfinger, I guess?

MiNombreEsBread21 karma

Joel, I just listened to the episode of Harmontown where you joined Dan and Jeff at the SF SketchFest earlier this year. How was that, and how drunk was Harmon?

Joel_Hodgson_34 karma

It was really fun to do. I love both those guys SO much. And I think we were all about equally drunk at that time on that show.

AFatMan21 karma

Hey man just wanted to say thanks for all the good memories with my father.

My question is how's your day going?

Joel_Hodgson_30 karma

I've had a wonderful day, thank you.

This morning, I was at the Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, and the Museum of the American Indian.

Crow_T_Murderface19 karma

What volume of turkeys would properly fill the space required for a turkey day marathon? Will any man harbor a guess?

Joel_Hodgson_45 karma

I think you're on the wrong AMA, man.

sharules16 karma

If you had to pick two robots from any other fictional universe to be your riff buddies. Which two would you choose?

Joel_Hodgson_28 karma

TARS from INTERSTELLAR, and Twiki from Buck Rogers? Twiki would be a good counterpoint.

tunchilkin15 karma

I'm a life-long Wisconsin resident living near Fort Atkinson. I understand you lived there as a youngster? Where else in Wisconsin have you lived and how do you think your childhood helped mold your career? Do you miss the tons of snow? Also, thanks to you and MST3K for helping me get through my young teen years.

Joel_Hodgson_33 karma

Well, I was born in Steven's Point. And lived there, and Edgerton, WI, Fort Atkinson, WI, and Ashwaubenon, WI. I'm really proud to be from Wisconsin. I love the Packers. And yes, i think it had a lot to do with who I am.

Anspaugh7 karma

Waffles or pancakes?

Joel_Hodgson_16 karma

Oh, that's easy.