Why is MST3K Important To You?

The title says it all. I want to know how the show has affected your life, personally. I’m sure most of us “die-hard” MSTies have a story. I’d love to hear yours. Below is mine, which I sent over to Joel and company via infoclub@mst3k.com during the first kickstarter, slightly modified and updated to be more “current”:

I am a 40 year old Aspie, someone with a form of high functioning autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. I was not diagnosed clinically until I was 25 years old, so I spent my entire childhood and teen years just thinking that I was a weirdo that couldn’t connect with other people, and I didn’t understand why. I knew that something was “wrong” with me, especially when I said or did the wrong thing that would upset other people, and I didn’t know WHY it would bother other people because those things that I did and said seemed innocuous to me. I would also often times spout random facts that I had learned about things that I felt were appropriate to the current situation, or make obscure jokes that no one else got but me. Growing up feeling like an alien from another planet was frustrating and scary many times.

What does this have to do with MST3K? Well, one day this awkward young teen was scanning the boob tube in the mid-90s when he came across what looked like an old movie with some strange silhouettes at the bottom of the screen. I didn’t understand what was happening at first, but after a few minutes of watching, I realized what was happening - those strange silhouettes were making fun of the movie!

I watched my first MST3K movie very intensely after that, and to my delight I felt that I wasn’t alone in the world, for the first time. There were other people out there like me that had a “strange” sense of humor. There were other people out there that spouted random and obscure information out for the people around them to hear. Of course, being a kid at the time, I didn’t realize that it was all scripted and planned. But for that young awkward teen, it was a comfort that I didn’t feel truly alone in the world as the only person that was “like me”. It helped make it bearable to realize that other people existed out there that also had a love for the strange and bizarre, and that other people were out there that had a warped sense of humor and liked to make strange connections between tenuously connected things.

MST3K is, was, and will be important because there will always be people like me out there. The weirdos that feel out of place. The kids that don’t fit in anywhere else. MST3K can provide those awkward and strange kids with a friend, someone that speaks to them in their own language. MST3K tells them… You are not alone.

And that is why MST3K is important to me.


@Ansible, you need to get out of my head, you could copy and paste that story verbatim and it would describe me.

Thank you for sharing, it’s always nicer when you discover you’re not alone.


@Ansible , I too am an Aspie. MST3K’s important to me, because there are times when I need a few laughs, whether if its from the 'bots, test subjects, or even the Mads. After all, laughter is the best medicine!


MST3K is like a best friend that you can run into, even after long times apart, and still tell the same stories and jokes. It never get old, always makes you laugh and smile and you are left feeling better than you did before you watched it.


Diagnosed with autism six years ago. I read that people on the spectrum like science fiction because they feel like aliens in the world. Don’t know if thats true or not but I love SF and horror. I think theres a connection because of being solitary like the host and having made the (two robot) friends you want. But saying that I can imagine having Crow as a friend would have its difficukt moments!


I learned to love MST3K because my father and I bonded over it when I was a teenager. I only got to visit him once a year, and watching MST3K on Comedy Central was something we both enjoyed and agreed was amazing. As I get older and live and increasingly-solitary life, it continues to make me feel like a participant in a community and makes my house sound like it’s full of conversation.


Lived in CA in the early 90s with husband and toddler, found MST while channel surfing and thought it was hilarious. Then I saw the info club address, HOPKINS MN, which is where my mother worked! I grew up nearby. The MN connection cemented my interest. I like sci-fi, funny things, funny things that are like in-jokes (which is what riffing is all about in my mind), robots, funny robots, and community theater (which the host segments seemed to be a natural extension of). My husband and children have had to compete with MST3k for my attention. I now live back in MN.


I discovered MST3K around Season 2 when I was about ten years old. As a kid who already liked scifi, movies, and silly stuff, the combination was perfect. As I got older, I was able to reflect and put into words what was so special about the show:

  1. MST3K was not afraid to be smart, or to tell jokes no one got.
  2. It was not afraid to look at a world that took itself too seriously, and say “This doesn’t make sense”.
  3. It was a show made in a backwoods community, like mine. It gave me hope that I could do something awesome and creative without having to move to LA.
  4. I learned to explore new cinematic treasures.
  5. It was a fictional show based around a real movie, and I loved the meta-ness of it.

I like how the theme songs boils down to an Aesop’s Fable.

‘If you wanna make friends, sometimes you gotta sacrifice your power to control absurdity.’


Watching sci-fi movies (bad and otherwise) with my dad was a HUGE part of my upbringing. I also went to sci-fi conventions and movie festivals multiple times a year…and I grew up in the Rocky Horror Picture Show fandom (I made a great Columbia until my voice dropped to alto, LOL), so riffing and bad movies are in my DNA. MST3K is like home to me. It’s something I share with my nearest and dearest, so it’ll always be super special to me.

And it’s just funny as hell. That’s important. :smiley:


Years before I discovered the series, and even a few years before the series was created, I would watch a Nickelodeon series called “Out of Control” which starred Dave Coulier of Full House fame. One episode, “Magic”, featured Presto the Pretty Amazing, an inept magician who featured a few cheap-looking gizmos and poorly-executed magic tricks. Presto lamented his poorly-done tricks, but Dave told him to keep at it, and by the end, Presto was pulling off great tricks. Of course, Presto was Joel Hodgson, bringing his stand-up to the kids show, and knowing nothing else about him, I immediately took a liking to him. His demeanor, his delivery, his committing to the bit as a bad magician, and even the gadgets and tricks were all very entertaining (one of them, where he strips his face off using a modified mop bucket, stuck with me forever). Being a kid who didn’t pay attention to credits, I missed his name and rarely saw the episode afterwards, and while the show soon faded away, that episode stuck with me.

Fast-forward to Turkey Day 94, and while my folks are prepping turkey dinner, my 15 year old self, who still loves Nick but is looking for something different, decide to flip to Comedy Central. This is literally my first exposure to MST3K in any form, and instantly I’m intrigued, seeing a hilariously bad film being made fun of by shadows at the bottom (it was likely It Conquered the World). When the riffers step out of the theater, I’m taken aback, because who should I see but Presto!, now going by the name Joel Robinson. Of course, the Internet being a fledgling place of misinformation, I couldn’t verify if Presto and Joel were one and the same, but thankfully a Dragon*Con meeting 20 years later confirms what I long believed (believe it or not, I never could verify via the Net and had to speak to the man himself to confirm it).

All that preamble aside, I instantly took to MST3K, finished the marathon, and knew I found a TV series that would become my all-time favorite. To this day, it is my #1 favorite television series, nothing else comes close. It helped to define my sense of humor, my love and appreciation of cheesy movies while still reveling in their flaws, and the idea that earnestness matters most, either from the films they watch or from the program itself. It’s a very smart show that doesn’t insults its audience, and loves to bring them in on the joke. It’s also very fitting that one of the few films I saw before MST3K riffed it is Godzilla vs. Megalon, which was my introduction to THAT franchise.

It’s also apparent how much MST3K influences modern culture to this day, be it references in series of higher profile (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia straight up praised the series in one of its episodes) or in the humor found throughout internet media and social media. I’ve become a fan of several internet comedians and content makers who have either state explicitly their love of MST3K (and have even created riffs of bad content themselves, some of which I hold on par with the best of MST3K), or have obviously been influenced by it. The fact that, despite the series ending before the turn of the century, it continued to live in through the creators in various incarnations, be it the Film Crew, Cinematic Titanic, RiffTrax, The Mads Return, and even the return of MST3K itself. This series will never die, because as Joel said long ago: The Right People Get It. Whether we found it via a marathon, or if we were watching public access television in the Minnesota area, or if a fan gave us a circulated tape in the 90s, or if we stumbled across the episodes on YouTube, or if we caught the numerous revivals and series that continued riffing, the series found us all and we were the right people, because we got it! Years from now, when the creators and even the fans who witnessed it have departed this plane of existence, new fans will continue to love it, because the right people will always get it!

That’s what MST3K is all about, Charlie Brown!


I’m another one on the autism spectrum (I’ve never gotten a full diagnosis because I prefer not having one, which would make it feel too much like something I’m afflicted with rather than something that’s simply a part of me as much as any body part). And so I also grabbed onto the show at a young age (I’m old enough to have been around when it first aired, and discovered it in the middle of Season 3) thanks to seeing these guys just tossing out random references and not caring who got them. And beyond that, I also credit the show with giving me the mindset from that young age that you don’t have to just mindlessly accept whatever crap is put in front of you, and if you think something is deserving of mockery, you should do it.


I can answer this with two things.

  1. Its just fun. Never heavy, just a good chance to unwind and enjoy something fun.

  2. Its the one show that gets more funny, the more you learn.
    Good example. You can watch an episode, get a lot of the jokes and laugh, and then some maybe not. But years go by, you see or learn something and BOOM suddenly a reference makes sense.

I always give the example from Mitchell…Tom says, “Was this filmed in Zapruder vision?” during the car…I guess you could call it a chase. Now at the time that joke went over my head. UNTIL I learned that Abraham Zapruder filmed the Kennedy assignation which is pretty grainy footage, much like the car chase footage in Mitchell.


I was diagnosed at 52. It made me see the sense in why my life has been as tough as it has been.


I’ve always been a loner because of my anxiety, which kept me inside a lot (still does), so I watched a lot of TV, and when my brother showed me the show, and a lot of the stuff that Joel always referred to, made me feel like I had a connection. Like ‘ok, another person’s family is the same way as mine, so I’m not the only one’ feeling, and it felt good. Just the connection I felt then and now makes this show sooooo important to me :heart:


I started watching it as a teen with my dad (seems to be a common thread here), and always enjoyed it. I was thrilled with the reboot on Netflix, and my kids and I started watching it again.

2020 was such a tough year, and I fell back on watching MST3k on all the platforms I could find as a mental break from what was occurring throughout the year. It really kept me going and able to keep a smile on my face (plus, no disrespect, but man does it help me fall asleep at night!). :slight_smile:


I’m not sure I can express or explain how or why the show is important to me. I caught on later, around season 8. I was in college. I saw the show on tv and loved it instantly. At the time I could only watch it once a week, which I did religiously. At times my fraternity bothers would watch it with me (coed professional engineering, not Greek - nerds, basically). When the show stopped airing I was very sad*. This was 1999, so it was just gone. Years later episodes became available to buy, but I couldn’t afford them. When Netflix had them on DVD I was ecstatic and watched them as often as my wife would tolerate. I jumped at the chance to back both Kickstarters.

To this day I don’t quite know why it’s so important to me. It feels like home. I get it, and it gets me. On some level, I think it’s a show about dealing with isolation, and that can make it feel comforting to certain people. People like me. When I watch MST3K, I’m never alone.

* For years, the end of Diabolik made me cry, just like Pearl. I didn’t watch it much. I can enjoy it much more freely now.


Oh, and apparently I really enjoy puppets. I love the Muppets, I enjoyed Christine McConnell’s short-lived show on Netflix, and I even like Duff Goldman’s show on Hulu(?) where he cooks with puppet friends. Also Waffles and Mochi is a great show and cute as hell.


I’ll keep it brief:

With all the memories attached to it and its connection to MN, it just feels like a slice of home.


Waffles and Mochi, huh? I too liked that show, especially since Russ Walko (Growler) was involved!