Mystery Science Theater 3000, whose characters make merry by poking fun at bad B-movies, was the brainchild of Joel Hodgson, who appeared as the show's host, Joel Robinson, for its first five seasons. Hodgson's definitive quirkiness, so dorky it's adorable, is perhaps one of the most prominent characteristics of the long-running series. On the show, along with two robots created by his character, he inserted clever dialogue over the lines in films otherwise too horrible to sit through. A post-modern sense of humor, with references to film and literary history, was infused into the series through Hodgson's creative input. He was involved from the show's creation and original appearance on a Minneapolis public access station through its getting picked up by Comedy Central and the Sci Fi Channel, and becoming a cult classic.
Born on February 20, 1960, in Stevens Point, WI, Hodgson was a magician and a standup comedian long before MST3K earned him infamy. In 1982, he competed with and won against several more recognized comedians in a Minneapolis standup competition, and appeared on Jerry Seinfeld's Stand-Up Confidential in 1987. In 1988, he created MST3K, where he wrote, performed, and puppeteered his robot friends. He also had a hand in set design and music composition during his work on the program, as well as on the theatrical release Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. He left the show in 1993, when writer Mike Nelson took the reigns as host. Once, in 1999, he revisited, making a cameo as himself in the episode "Soultaker."
In addition to appearances on Freaks and Geeks and Space Ghost Coast to Coast in the late '90s, Hodgson also earned writing credits on You Don't Know Jack (2001) and Statistical Planets (1997). Although many of his later projects received little notice, he has continued to write and produce independently in the film industry in Los Angeles. One such project was a feature he began shooting, Statistical Planets, which was never completed. His smaller scale creative endeavors include his own inventions, a real-life reflection of the "Invention Exchange" running gag he created and deployed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. ~ Sarah Sloboda, Rovi