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Sampo & Erhardt

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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Jonah Ray Tapped to Be Next Host

JonahIn an update to his backers, Joel has revealed that – if the Kickstarter to #BringBackMST3K succeeds – he plans to invite Jonah Ray, comedian and co-host of the Nerdist podcast, to become the next host of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

Hodgson writes:

I can’t really tell you what kind of host Jonah is going to be, but I hope you’ll give him a chance to show you. And even if you’re familiar with Jonah’s career, remember: that doesn’t mean he’ll bring the same exact approach to MST3K. I think a lot of you may be surprised. Plus, like the previous members of our cast, I think Jonah has great instincts and a lot of range. He’s funny, he’s wicked smart, and like I said, his heart’s in the right place. He loves MST3K, he seems to understand what makes it so special, and most important, I know he takes the role seriously.

At the end of the day, he’s just another regular guy in a yellow jumpsuit – not so different from you and me. I’m excited to see what he can bring to the next hundred episodes of “Mystery Science Theater,” until it’s time to hand his jumpsuit over to someone else.

178 Replies to “Jonah Ray Tapped to Be Next Host”

  1. Green Switch says:

    aron. aka jello.: I just don’t get the pre-hate. I don’t really understand feeling it in the first place – skepticism, yeah.. sure, not the bile.

    I wasn’t sure if I articulated my points very well, but this is exactly everything that I tried to say boiled down to a small selection of text. Thanks for that.

    Think about it. Joel has masterminded and achieved the return of MST3K. Who could have ever predicted this?

    You could feel excitement or doubt about this – and I’m feeling lots of excitement with the possibility of a full season resulting from this Kickstarter – but to feel such bile or pre-hate about this? I can’t pretend to comprehend that kind of reaction.

       4 likes

  2. MikeK says:

    aron. aka jello.: To hit this point a touch more – Rathbone wasn’t the first Holmes on film, not by several… and that’s even if we don’t count the stage. And the Bogie version of Maltese Falcon we all love so much is the 3rd or 5th version of the film (depending on exactly how close to the source it has to be to count). And as a Trek fan who spent months waiting for the TNG premier, I loved the 1st JJ Trek. Second was a hot mess due to a terrible script, but the first was a ton of fun with an amazing cast.

    I just don’t get the pre-hate. I don’t really understand feeling it in the first place – skepticism, yeah.. sure, not the bile. I understand even less this need to spend hours of your time telling folks happy about the possibilities how you just KNOW it’s gonna be worse that a cold turd-sandwich even though you know nothing more about what it will eventually be than anyone else, and considerably less than some folks we supposedly trust. And even further I’ve no concept of how someone like EricJ operates – if you’ve really hated all that the show’s been for the past 22 years so much, how and why in the name of all that’s can you still sit here mired in it with folks you love something you so clearly loathe.

    And I don’t mean that as some kind of attack, I just really, truly, deeply can’t fathom it.

    I think it would be more peaceful among fans if the optimists could separate the people who want to be completely negative from those who are just skeptical about this revived version of MST3K.

    I’m skeptical, though as a fan I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to directly support MST3K, so I did contribute some money at the $100 level.

    I think we should be all glad, and I mean all, that the father of modern day riffing is coming back.

       4 likes

  3. aron. aka jello. says:

    MikeK: I think it would be more peaceful among fans if the optimists could separate the people who want to be completely negative from those who are just skeptical about this revived version of MST3K.

    I’m skeptical, though as a fan I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to directly support MST3K, so I did contribute some money at the $100 level.

    I think we should be all glad, and I mean all, that the father of modern day riffing is coming back.

    Aye, I understand skepticism. There are specifics I have concerns about – full staff changeover, seems like far less of the writing will be everyone in a room together having that communal watching experience, LA, how exactly the rights and control actually work between him and Shout, Crow & Tom being more mobile, etc. There are broader things as well – much weaker shared media experience across the audience, general increase in cynicism across the board, many things trying too hard to capture the past magic and failing…

    But…

    At best his work is among my favorite things ever and literally resulted in my marriage. At worst it was always at least amusing and interesting in it odd and unusual perspective. On top of that he’s been nothing but personally wonderful across the multiple times I’ve met him in person. He thinks the time is right, he thinks he’s found people up to the task. For that I’ll throw some cash at a man who’s thus far brought nothing but joy to me and mine to further explore his premier work. He’s earned that much.

       2 likes

  4. EricJ says:

    JCC:

    Eric J’s favorite Three Stooges short? Wee Wee Monsieur!

    (At least, unlike some “Swing Parade”-riffing comics, I actually get the Stooges’ jokes. ;)
    Oh, and it’s “You Nazty Spy”, btw…Beblach!)

       0 likes

  5. wonderfly says:

    misANThropist:
    Not bitter;I donated good money to the Kickstarter, but let’s be honest. The long-standing hope of many, myself included, was that, regardless of who would host, the reboot would reunite the creative team that was responsible for the overall tone and quality of the original series.My admiration for Joel as a creative and funny individual aside, he was absolutely not personally responsible for the quality of MST3K which was more than amply demonstrated by its continued success after his departure.If he were, the series would have folded and TV Wheel would have run for a half decade or more.While I love the cute puppets and the clever format, they were simply conduits for the creativity of a very specific group of people with a very specific brand of humor, and their efforts, more than anything else, are the reason why the show has maintained and expanded the fan following that is making the reboot feasible. Joel, however, seems convinced that the key to MST3K’s success is a combination of puppets, carpentry, backstory, and stand-up comedians. LA-MST3K may prove very funny, but a lot of things are very funny.But, as has been said, it’s just a show.

    Rifftrax doesn’t always work for me, because just syncing up some voices riffing with a movie isn’t enough. Anybody can trash talk a movie (although Rifftrax does it rather well)…MST3K had skits before, during, and after the film. A plotline to the episode, and sometimes to the whole season.

    I know some people see Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax as the TRUE continuation of MST3K, but they are just side projects. THIS…will be the true continuation (or so I hope).

       3 likes

  6. wonderfly says:

    Droppo:
    Had the exact same thought.I was shocked there wasn’t an update (and still isn’t) when the initial goal was reached.

    What’s going on, Sampo?We love you!

    I mean, with the $2 million goal reached, it’s only the return of the greatest show of all time. But let’s not have an update on MST3Kinfo.com, right?

    Maybe the guys who run this website are just processing it all, and how they’re going to have to restructure the episode guide and other things to accommodate NEW MST3K?

       4 likes

  7. MikeK says:

    wonderfly: Rifftrax doesn’t always work for me, because just syncing up some voices riffing with a movie isn’t enough. Anybody can trash talk a movie (although Rifftrax does it rather well)…MST3K had skits before, during, and after the film. A plotline to the episode, and sometimes to the whole season.

    I know some people see Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax as the TRUE continuation of MST3K, but they are just side projects. THIS…will be the true continuation (or so I hope).

    When it comes to Rifftrax I always prefer the shorts and the riffing cheap bad movies that they can get the rights to. I don’t have much interest in the riffing audio tracks of mainstream movies.

       1 likes

  8. skierpete says:

    misANThropist:
    Not bitter;I donated good money to the Kickstarter, but let’s be honest. The long-standing hope of many, myself included, was that, regardless of who would host, the reboot would reunite the creative team that was responsible for the overall tone and quality of the original series.

    Actually, while we all might agree that that is what we would like, I myself can tell you I never expected Mike/Kevin/Bill to come back. Rifftrax is too good and established a gig. I still hold out hope that the CT group may still choose to contribute, regardless of what Trace said. (And I don’t think Mary Jo, Josh, or Frank C. have made any comments either way so far. )

       1 likes

  9. skierpete says:

    aron. aka jello.: To hit this point a touch more – Rathbone wasn’t the first Holmes on film, not by several… and that’s even if we don’t count the stage.

    I knew this but was hoping no one would call me out on it! (I was too lazy to look up the first – so I just went with the “classic” one that most people have heard of. ) My point still functions.

       0 likes

  10. Droppo says:

    skierpete: Actually, while we all might agree that that is what we would like, I myself can tell you I never expected Mike/Kevin/Bill to come back. Rifftrax is too good and established a gig. I still hold out hope that the CT group may still choose to contribute, regardless of what Trace said. (And I don’t think Mary Jo, Josh, or Frank C. have made any comments either way so far. )

    Mary Jo has said she won’t participate.

       3 likes

  11. wedestroymyths says:

    misANThropist:
    Not bitter;I donated good money to the Kickstarter, but let’s be honest. The long-standing hope of many, myself included, was that, regardless of who would host, the reboot would reunite the creative team that was responsible for the overall tone and quality of the original series.My admiration for Joel as a creative and funny individual aside, he was absolutely not personally responsible for the quality of MST3K which was more than amply demonstrated by its continued success after his departure.If he were, the series would have folded and TV Wheel would have run for a half decade or more.While I love the cute puppets and the clever format, they were simply conduits for the creativity of a very specific group of people with a very specific brand of humor, and their efforts, more than anything else, are the reason why the show has maintained and expanded the fan following that is making the reboot feasible. Joel, however, seems convinced that the key to MST3K’s success is a combination of puppets, carpentry, backstory, and stand-up comedians. LA-MST3K may prove very funny, but a lot of things are very funny.But, as has been said, it’s just a show.

    That could all end up being the case…BUT!: just because one group of people captured that magic doesn’t mean another group, especially guidance from a key part of the show’s genesis, can’t capture that same, or a similar tone. And a shift in tone might be fine…I mean, Star Trek: TNG was very different in tone from TOS, but most fans agree that both are essential Trek.

    I don’t get the sense that Joel sees this as a simple formula, otherwise, he wouldn’t be talking about making offers to original writers and cast. I suspect that he’ll apply the same sensibilities that led to his selection of his original MST colleagues in selecting the new ones, and, though I know a lot of folks are anti-Jonah, I think Jonah is perfectly in line with the show’s old sensibilities.

       1 likes

  12. Dan in WI says:

    MikeK: When it comes to Rifftrax I always prefer the shorts and the riffing cheap bad movies that they can get the rights to. I don’t have much interest in the riffing audio tracks of mainstream movies.

    I’ll take all of the above thank you. Frankly I don’t like it when Rifftrax gets caught in a genre rut. It’s been a long time since a blockbuster riff. But when that was all we were getting I did tire of it. Now it’s all 70’s/80’s B movies and that is wearing thin. I’d prefer it if they mixed it up. Variety!

       0 likes

  13. Anthony W. says:

    Some mystifying comments the past couple days: “Ben Affleck might not be that bad”, “Star Trek reboot wasn’t that bad.” I guess I can accept those since I view Batman and Star Trek as dumb disposable entertainment anyways, but…”Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax are just side projects.” Really? I’ve purchased every CT DVD, donated to Rifftrax Kickstarters, even donated to ICWXP, and they’re all just as valid and “the real deal” as MST3K. In fact CT was pretty much my dream lineup of riffers. Saying they don’t count or whatever is just disrespectful, snobby and clueless.

       3 likes

  14. Mike says:

    Anthony W.:
    Saying they [Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic] don’t count or whatever is just disrespectful, snobby and clueless.

    I don’t actually think this is what was being said. I think ‘side projects’ was used relative to MST3K itself, i.e., not MST3K but rather projects carried on by some of the same people involved with MST3K. I think it’s a little over-sensitive to assume any disrespect was intended. It would be sort of like calling the Plastic Ono Band a ‘side project’ of John Lennon’s. It’s a side project relative to the Beatles as a band; it doesn’t necessarily mean the person calling it a side project thinks POB is awful.

       2 likes

  15. Captain Cab says:

    Droppo: Mary Jo has said she won’t participate.

    skierpete:(And I don’t think Mary Jo, Josh, or Frank C. have made any comments either way so far. )

    Both Mary Jo and Josh have said they’re not participating. Josh said he’s not in because he is focused on a documentary film he’s working on.

       2 likes

  16. Captain Cab says:

    “skierpeteFrownAnd I don’t think Mary Jo, Josh, or Frank C. have made any comments either way so far. )”

    Both Mary Jo and Josh have said they’re not participating. On Nov. 10th, Josh tweeted:

    “I won’t be participating in the MST3K reboot, but I wish @JoelGHodgson and Co. nothing but the best with it.”

    When someone tweeted back asking why Josh replied it’s because he is focused on a couple of documentary films.

       1 likes

  17. Captain Cab says:

    Also, Trace tweeted the following a few days ago:

    “Trace Beaulieu ?@TraceBeaulieu Nov 17

    Hey friends!. I got it wrong. Each time you purchase MST3K from @RiffTrax WE ALL get a %. That is very cool and generous don’t you agree?”

    Glad to hear that Joel, Shout and Rifftrax did that and the rest of the cast will finally get a cut.

       9 likes

  18. John Seavey says:

    One thing I’d like to point out is that the lack of original cast members is in some ways a really wonderful thing: They’re not coming back because they’ve all got successful, interesting, personally fulfilling things they’re doing. This is a great thing! Josh is doing documentaries, Mike and Kevin and Bill (and Mary Jo and Bridget of late) all have Rifftrax, Trace and Frank are doing stand-up…it’s wonderful that all the actors and writers we love have seen their careers boosted by MST3K, and we should all be happy for their success instead of demanding that they go back and reprise their old roles.

    And there’s a whole new generation out there of young comedians who will see that same boost from this. I love the idea that the show will go on for ten, twenty, thirty more seasons, finding talented people and giving them the exposure to a fanbase that appreciates good comedy that they deserve. It’s like Saturday Night Live, only it didn’t stop being good when I was five. :)

       9 likes

  19. Captain Cab says:

    As has been posted before, Jonah’s Twitter is using the name “Heston.” I just noticed in his recent publicity photo with Joel his yellow jumpsuit also has “Heston” on the name tag. Didn’t one of Joel’s most earliest concepts for the show involve a Charlton Heston “Last Man on Earth/Omega Man” type character in a post apocalyptic world who watches movies in an abandoned theater? (maybe I’m getting some of that wrong but swear that was said by Joel on one of the Shout interviews, maybe it was on the 25th set?) Maybe that gives us a tiny insight to the very general setting for the reboot? I personally think it would be awesome if they went with something like that.

       0 likes

  20. SoCalChevy says:

    Captain Cab:
    Both Mary Jo and Josh have said they’re not participating. Josh said he’s not in because he is focused on a documentary film he’s working on.

    What is the documentary about?

       1 likes

  21. EricJ says:

    Captain Cab:
    Didn’t one of Joel’s most earliest concepts for the show involve a Charlton Heston “Last Man on Earth/Omega Man” type character in a post apocalyptic world who watches movies in an abandoned theater? (maybe I’m getting some of that wrong but swear that was said by Joel on one of the Shout interviews, maybe it was on the 25th set?)

    The Omega Man, actually: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJsK5fq5xWA (Post-apocalyptic Heston’s reminiscing about all the crowds of people back then, you see.)
    Hodgson’s original inspiration for the KTMA was to be the last man on earth sending out SOS transmissions, but he thought that was too depressing, so he changed it to “trapped in space” instead–But now that he’s producing, nice to see the tribute shoutout.

    (When they showed Omega Man at our all-nite festival, the biggest reaction from the audience was when Heston gets into his Ford Fairlane on the abandoned street and chunks in..an 8-track tape! :) An eminently riffable movie if Hodgson still wants to tackle it, although “Dan Rather gets goofier every week” jokes for the pretentious Anthony Zerbe character might be a bit dated.)

       1 likes

  22. skierpete says:

    Captain Cab:
    As has been posted before, Jonah’s Twitter is using the name “Heston.” I just noticed in his recent publicity photo with Joel his yellow jumpsuit also has “Heston” on the name tag. Didn’t one of Joel’s most earliest concepts for the show involve a Charlton Heston “Last Man on Earth/Omega Man” type character in a post apocalyptic world who watches movies in an abandoned theater? (maybe I’m getting some of that wrong but swear that was said by Joel on one of the Shout interviews, maybe it was on the 25th set?) Maybe that gives us a tiny insight to the very general setting for the reboot? I personally think it would be awesome if they went with something like that.

    I definitely think that the “Jonah Heston” character name is likely a tribute to Omega Man / Planet of the Apes. Much Like “Joel Robinson” was a tribute to the family from Lost in Space.

       3 likes

  23. Captain Cab says:

    ^^^^

    Glad to see I nailed the Heston/Omega Man reference. :) Maybe it won’t go any farther than the name, but like i said, I think a setting in an abandoned theater in a future world would be pretty cool. Maybe Jonah’s character is trapped in a theater complex that the new Mads beam the films into? I’m probably way off but guess we’ll have to see either way. It’s funny, there’s this creepy old semi-abandoned business building yet somehow-still-in-use-kinda-establishment back in my hometown which nobody could figure out the purpose of. I once joked to a friend, wouldn’t it be funny if we snuck in and it turned out the building was housing a movie screen and Joel and the robots were in there riffing? Yes, I have a weird mind. :p

    SoCalChevy: What is the documentary about?

    Sorry, he didn’t say what the subjects of the films were other than one is finished and being shopped around and the other is still being worked on. Maybe IMDB would provide some clues?

       1 likes

  24. Dan in WI says:

    SoCalChevy: What is the [Josh] documentary about?

    I know he’s mentioned it in the past. I remember him talking about it some time ago on a podcast but the person he was doing it on is escaping me.

       0 likes

  25. Thad says:

    Anthony W.:
    It’s like you guys are making my point for me. I’d rather see Adam West put back in the suit that Ben frickin’ Affleck for God’s sake. And that horrible Star Trek Jar Jar Abrams rehash with fake Captain Kirk and Scotty of the Dead?

    You make an excellent point, because those are the only two Star Trek and Batman films that have been made in the past 50 years.

    (Funnily enough, when I said “Star Trek without Captain Kirk” I was not actually referring to the new Star Trek that has Captain Kirk in it.)

    And don’t call me “you guys”. There’s only one of me.

       0 likes

  26. Thad says:

    MikeK: I think it would be more peaceful among fans if the optimists could separate the people who want to be completely negative from those who are just skeptical about this revived version of MST3K.

    Yeah, that’s fair. There are people who are saying that MST3K was not just about a human and two puppets making fun of bad movies, that it was really a group effort from a team that stayed mostly-constant through a decade-long run and that the show won’t, can’t be the same without that team, and we don’t know what this new team is going to be like. That’s a reasonable perspective.

    There are also people announcing, often and loudly, that the new show is going to suck. That’s a much less reasonable perspective.

    John Seavey:
    One thing I’d like to point out is that the lack of original cast members is in some ways a really wonderful thing: They’re not coming back because they’ve all got successful, interesting, personally fulfilling things they’re doing. This is a great thing! Josh is doing documentaries, Mike and Kevin and Bill (and Mary Jo and Bridget of late) all have Rifftrax, Trace and Frank are doing stand-up…it’s wonderful that all the actors and writers we love have seen their careers boosted by MST3K, and we should all be happy for their success instead of demanding that they go back and reprise their old roles.

    Totally.

    I can understand people who are skeptical about what the show’s going to be like without the old crew, but I think anyone who thought the old crew was coming back was engaging in some pretty serious wishful thinking. Mike, Kevin, and Bill did an interview with Diffuser last year and, when asked if they’d ever go back to the show, Bill was the only one whose answer was even a “maybe” (he said “It would depend completely on the arrangement.”). Mike and Kevin were pretty clear that they didn’t want to go back.

    And as for the former CT cast members, well, let’s not forget that the stated reason that CT was unsustainable was that the cast was scattered across multiple different states. That’s still the case. Even if Trace, Frank, and Mary Jo wanted to do the new show, and even if they got offers they were happy with, they still don’t live in California where the new series is being produced.

       1 likes

  27. Hamletswords says:

    Why isn’t Joel going to Host the show himself? The show is his brainchild and his personality has always suited hosting it better than anyone else, IMO. Mike did a fine job but was a bit too sardonic for my tastes. Joel always kept it light.

    I would be MUCH more excited about this project if I knew Joel himself was going to host.

       1 likes

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