Update: “Mystery Science Theater 3000” Hits Over $2.3M on Kickstarter; Creator Reveals the Inspiration Behind the Cult Classic Show

Mystery Science Theater

Just a little over a week and a half since his initiative launched on Kickstarter, Joel Hodgson’s “Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000″ project has secured over $2.3 million thanks to nearly 22,000 backers. Hodgson, the original creator of the famous cult-classic show, took to the crowdfunding platform and $2 million to revamp the series.

As Mystery Science Theater 3000 continues to be a funding success, Hodgson sat down with Wired to reveal what inspired the show’s concept:

Mystery Science Theater 3000 logo“It was right when stand-ups were becoming famous. If you had chops and were original, you could move really quickly. I got on Letterman within maybe four months of relocating to LA. Then I got on HBO’s [1983] Young Comedians special and was a guest on Saturday Night Live.


“Eventually I got asked to be in a Michael J. Fox sitcom called High School U.S.A. I didn’t think it was funny and said no. They doubled the money, and that kind of offended me. I realized, oh, that’s right, my opinion means nothing in Hollywood. I’d seen other people compromise, and I felt that once you gave up on what you wanted to do, you couldn’t go back. It was selling out. So I decided to go back to Minneapolis.”

Writer-performer of the show, Josh “J. Elvis” Weinstein, shared:

“I met Joel after he came back to Minneapolis. I was 15 and had just started doing stand-up. He had an air of specialness about him, because he had been in the big time. He was definitely an artist among comics.”

Joel chimed in:

Joel Hodgson“I had money in the bank from stand-up, and I was living off that. And I found I had more ideas when I was bored, so I got a job in a T-shirt factory putting appliqués on T-shirts. I also started collaging these robots out of objects I found at the Salvation Army. That’s what I was doing when I met [writer-performer, producer] Jim Mallon.”

Mallon noted:

“The programming at KTMA was bottom-basin. Our prime-time headliner was Love, American Style paired with Hawaii 5-0, and we had the worst movie library imaginable. Joel had three or four drawings on a yellow pad, and he said, ‘You know how they have these hosted movies? How about instead of having the host at the commercial breaks, we have the host be in the movie?’”

Hodgson then added:

Joel Hodgson“It was an idea I’d had tucked away in the back of my mind since high school: On Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, there are illustrations in the liner notes. And for the song “I’ve Seen That Movie Too,” it’s got little silhouettes watching a movie. I remember going, “Someone should do a show like that. Run a movie and have these people in silhouettes say stuff.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000’s campaign is set to close on December 12th.

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