It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken, and a certain type of eccentric genius to make MST3K.
MICHAEL J. NELSON
"Mike Nelson" and Head Writer
Mike Nelson is an actor, writer, director and musician whose many talents have come in handy on "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Mike stars as the lone human character marooned in space aboard "The Satellite of Love," forced to watch some of the cheesiest sci-fi movies of all time with his robot pals.
Head writer for the series since its inception, Nelson has added directing to his ever-growing repertoire, a role which he shares this season with Kevin Murphy. An accomplished guitarist and composer of most of "MST3K's" music, Nelson is often called upon to perform his humorous self-penned tunes.
Nelson moved in front of the camera during the show's fifth season when series creator Joel Hodgson departed from the show. Nelson has also portrayed such off-beat characters as Lord of The Dance's Michael Flatley, Hugh Beaumont, Morissey, Michael Feinstein and A&E Network maven, Jack Perkins, on the series.
Coincidentally, Nelson has met the real Jack Perkins, who upon hearing of his impersonation on "MST3K" replied: "I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't get cable."
In between takes on production days, Nelson can be found glued to his computer playing Sony Playstation's NHL
Face Off '98 against the other cast members. Where's that number for Workaholics Anonymous? Top
MARY JO PEHL
"Mrs. Pearl Forrester" and Writer
Mary Jo Pehl portrays the sinister "Mrs. Pearl Forrester," the late "Dr. Forrester's" mother, on "Mystery Science Theater 3000." In the ninth season, "Pearl Forrester" continues to be the evil force behind a wicked experiment forcing Mike and the 'bots to watch the cheesiest movies of all time while captive in space aboard the "Satellite of Love."
After pursuing a career in nursing, Pehl (pronounce Peel) decided she hated the sight of blood, wasn't really a people person, and had a hard time understanding why she would actually envision her life as a nurse in dramatic scenes, a.k.a. "ER." At that point she realized that she had made a "major bad career choice," and began pursuing a career in comedy.
Growing up in a family of five siblings in Circle Pines, Minnesota provided Pehl with plenty of comedy fodder. She performed stand-up all around the mid-West from 1987 through 1991. She also worked for the Norrell Temporary Agency where she earned the title of "Temp of the Month" for March 1990. She has been featured on VH-1's "Stand-Up Spotlight" and A & E's "Comedy on the Road."
In February of 1992, Pehl joined the "MST3K" writing team after meeting Mike Nelson and Paul Chaplin on the comedy circuit in Minneapolis. She was drawn to the series partly because of her perverse fascination with really bad movies and partly because of the "ineptitude of the people who make them." She has been part of the Peabody Award-winning writing team ever since, and brings a feminine touch to the male-dominated writing staff, "like when to draw the line with boob jokes."
Pehl stars opposite Mike Nelson as the only other human regular on the series, and puts her acting ability to good work as "Pearl Forrester." This season, her character returns to the present time to take up residence in Castle Forrester, the Gothic estate of her forefathers.
Pehl resides in Minneapolis. Top
Writer and Voice of "Crow T. Robot"
Bill Corbett has no problem filling big shoes. Theatrically trained actor/writer Bill Corbett returns for his second season as the voice of wise-cracking "Crow T. Robot" and "Brain Guy," the super intelligent being who mistakenly believes he communicates only with his mind. Corbett also serves as writer on "Mystery Science Theater 3000," furthering the adventures of Mike and the 'bots aboard the "Satellite of Love."
The 37 year-old Bayridge, Brooklyn native received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master's Degree from Yale Drama School. After serving the requisite time as a starving writer/actor on the off-off-Broadway circuit in New York City, Corbett journeyed to the mid-West at age 28, seeking fame and fortune and a new place to call home.
Corbett first stumbled upon "Mystery Science Theater 3000" during a Thanksgiving Day Marathon and became an instant fan. His wife Phyllis, also an actress, introduced him to series writers Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Jones. He later found himself invited to a party at "MST3K" headquarters, Best Brains, Inc. Oddly enough, no one seems to remember him.
Corbett now calls Minnesota home and continues to work in theater as a playwright, "where people work legitimately
and don't get paid." His most recent work is "Hate Mail" which he co-authored with Kira Obolensky.
Jim Mallon is the executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning series "Mystery Science Theater 3000," and president of Best Brains, Inc., the series' production company. He has also directed more than 75 episodes of "MST3K" since its inception.
Mallon began producing television and comedy movies while still in high school, and continued while attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He produced and directed programs for the Madison affiliates of CBS and PBS and made his feature film debut in 1984 with "Blood Hook," distributed world-wide by Troma, Inc.
In 1986, Mallon became the production manager of a new independent UHF television station, KTMA in Minneapolis. There, after much badgering, Mallon hired madman and current MST3K cohort, Kevin Murphy. In 1988, Mallon met series creator Joel Hodgson and after a hysterical fit of creative bonding, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" was born.
Mallon also directed "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie" released by Gramercy Pictures in April
of 1996. Top
KEVIN WAGNER MURPHY
Producer, Writer and Voice of "Tom Servo"
Kevin Murphy has been part of the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" team since the show's inception in 1988, when it debuted on the Minneapolis independent station, KTMA.
This season, in addition to his multiple duties as producer, writer and performer, Murphy adds the role of director. Murphy is a fan favorite as the voice of both "Tom Servo," the bubble-gum-machine like robot, and "Professor Bobo," the bumbling evil gorilla introduced last season. Cashing in on his audience appeal, Murphy often uses "MST3K" to showcase his musical talents by having "Tom Servo" inexplicably break into song.
Murphy's auspicious entry into his career in entertainment came at the age of five, when his father filmed him getting beat up by a good friend. The incident was his first official on-camera appearance and left him longing for more -- entertainment experience. Cautiously leaving the steely comforts of both father and friend, Murphy went on to earn a Masters Degree from the University of Madison, Wisconsin for directing stage, film and television.
Working as a member of the production staff at the Madison PBS affiliate, Murphy learned every aspect of television
making from the ground up. Eventually, he landed a job working on Jim Mallon's debut film "Blood Hook,"
which lead to his position at Best Brains, Inc., "MST3K's" production company. Murphy was also featured
in the cast of the feature film, "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie." Top
Writer and Performer
Paul Chaplin, writer and actor for "Mystery Science Theater 3000," is best known for his recurring characters "Ortega," an inarticulate gypsy with hygiene issues, and "Pitch the Devil."
The 41-year-old Chicago area native wasn't always a comedy writer. He earned a Masters Degree from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and began his career as a community organizer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Eventually, finding little reward in his work, he decided to shake the job of "world savior" and pursue his notion of "always wanting to do something rowdy."
Chaplin made his first steps toward a career in comedy by performing stand-up at an open mike call at the Minneapolis Comedy Gallery. Thinking that he'd get by on wit alone, Chaplin got on stage without a thing prepared, and bombed miserably. Learning from past mistakes and not looking forward to a second lesson in absolute humiliation, Chaplin made his second stand-up appearance after writing his act first and, according to him, "killed."
While working the comedy club scene in Minneapolis, Chaplin eventually met Mary Jo Pehl and Mike Nelson. Nelson
approached Chaplin about becoming a writer for "MST3K" during season three, and submitted him to a test
in which he had to take home ten minutes of the movie "Daddy-O," and give it the "MST3K" treatment.
Chaplin passed with flying colors and has been a staff writer ever since. Top
Writer and Performer
Showbiz runs in Jones' family. Her father was Mayor and her sisters had each earned such titles as Homecoming Queen and Ms. Saulk Rapids. At age 15, Jones herself was the proud winner of the Fandels Department store "Model of the Year" contest, which not only gave Jones her first taste of fame, but a new wardrobe of many plaid kilts and penny loafers.
Jones, rebelling against her 16 years of Catholic school, was suspended from the John Paul II Dormitory for Women. She soon began to take regional modeling gigs and eventually got "a way too normal" job as a buyer at a local department store. Seeking a more Bohemian lifestyle, Jones quit and began selling Banana Boat skin care products out of a van.
After a short while, Jones decided to drop all remaining pretenses of a normal lifestyle and took her first steps toward becoming a stand-up comedian. It was on the Minneapolis stand-up circuit that Bridget met another struggling stand-up, Mike Nelson. Abandoning all hopes of returning to normalcy, she married him.
Jones joined the "MST3K" staff as a writer in 1990 and was put through the rigorous ordeal of an audition.
So much for preferential treatment. She has played many popular characters on the show including "Flavia,
The Roman Empress," "Nuvenna, Woman of the Future" and a Mistie favorite, "Mr. B Natural."
Voice of "Gypsy"
Patrick (shown in self-portrait to the right) is the Art Director and new puppeteer for "Gypsy" on Mystery Science Theater 3000. He began his career at Best Brains as an intern in 1992. In that same year he was hired to work in the art department under the direction of Mr. Jef Maynard.
Brantseg hails from Sisseton, South Dakota, and knew from the age of one, or maybe three, that one day he would be working on "Mystery Science Theater 3000." He studied art at the University of Minnesota and was doing well until they asked him to leave after two years. With nowhere else to go, he terrorized the mid-West as the drummer with the punk band, "Black Spot." After recording a CD and touring, he left the band and returned to school to study television production.
Bransteg began his career at Best Brains as an intern in 1992 and was soon hired to work in the art department.
He cites Laurel and Hardy, David Bowie, Buck Owens, Vincent Van Gogh and his mother and father as his heroes. Top