Live production of popular ’90s show ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ coming to Charlotte’s Knight Theater

By Beth Mack

November 23, 2021

Blumenthal Performing Arts will host the all new movie-riffing production of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: Time Bubble Tour at Knight Theater on November 30. The live event is based on the widely regarded cult fan favorite show, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), which originally aired in the late ‘80s and early ’90s. 

The comedy television series, created by comedian Joel Hodgson, first aired on a local Minneapolis television station on Thanksgiving Day in 1988. Unfortunately, the television station filed for bankruptcy the following year, but it was quickly picked up by HBO’s Comedy Channel (now Comedy Central), where it quickly became one of their signature programs winning a Peabody Award in 1993. The show was cancelled in 1996 but, in 1997, started another three-season run on the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy).

L to R: Tom Servo (robot) voiced by Conor McGiffin, host Emily Marsh as Emily Connor, and Crow T Robot voiced by Nate Begle. Photo: Cody York

Despite airing on various premiere networks, a large majority of the show’s popularity spread online through its avid, cult-like fans known as “MSTies,” who are still driving for the creation of more episodes today. Hodgson has turned to his faithful MSTies on multiple occasions to crowdsource funding for more episodes, which led to the creation of two more seasons that aired on Netflix in 2017 and 2018 starring Jonah Ray as the host.

The premise of the show follows a human test subject and show host, Joel, who was captured by mad scientists, “The Mads,” and imprisoned on a spacecraft that orbits the Earth named Satellite of Love. Wanting companionship, Joel took parts of the spacecraft and built four cognizant robots, Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy (later renamed to GPC), and Cambot.

Yvonne Freese as Mega-Synthia and host Emily Marsh as Emily Connor. Photo: Cody York

During each episode, The Mads test Joel’s sanity by forcing him to watch notoriously bad movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s. While watching the movies, Joel is joined by Crow and Tom Servo, during which the trio provides comedic riffs and wisecracks about the movie. All the while, the viewer just sees a dark, mostly empty movie theater with the movie playing in real-time on the screen. Occasionally, the trio leaves the movie theater to offer up satirical comedy skits or break to Rocket Number Nine, a camera that shows footage from outside of the spacecraft. The episodes typically end with one of The Mads asking their lackey to “push the button” to end the transmission. 

MST3K Live: Time Bubble Tour is the fourth MST3K live tour and features a brand new host, Emily Connor (Emily Marsh), who will be joined by Tom Servo (Conor McGiffin), Crow (Nate Begle), and GPC (Yvonne Freese), as they take you on a comedic journey through the 1985 sci-fi/horror film, Making Contact

Catch Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: Time Bubble Tour on November 30, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. at Knight Theater

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