For those of you not in the know, MST3K stands for the cult comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It started out as a humble yet creative UHF show based out of Minneapolis created by comedian Joel Hodgson. While those beginnings were humble indeed, the premise of the show – in which a man trapped in space is forced to watch terrible movies with his robot pals who spend the whole time lampooning said movies – struck a chord with audiences. The show moved from KTMA Minneapolis to Comedy Central and then to the Sci-Fi Channel. While all of the episodes are quite funny, there are some classics that really epitomize what the show is all about. They also happen to be among the funniest episodes MST3K have to offer.
6. Future War
Future War is a movie about a runaway slave from the future who is being hunted by this alien masters using tracker dinosaurs. He enlists the help of a woman and her two large male friends to help him defeat his pursuers. The plot doesn’t make much sense beyond that, which makes it the perfect movie for Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo to skewer. Predictably, there are a number of fat jokes at the larger cast members’ expense, as well as particular attention paid to the runaway’s kickboxing skills. Apparently the cast and crew of Future War knew things weren’t going so well during production, because there was a shared hope that the film would end up on MST3K.
This movie follows the spread of the werewolf curse after the skeleton of one is discovered in the desert. As one scientist tries to exploit their discovery, his particularly emotionless colleague starts a relationship with a local writer. The most prominent jokes revolve around the lead actress and her lack of acting ability, and the conspicuously changing hairstyles of her evil colleague. The segments between commercials here are some of the funniest of any episode, with Mike cutting himself on Crow’s head and proceeding to transform into a “werecrow”, and a 60s doo-wop song about a doomed relationship with a werewolf.
This is a strange movie about a cool guy loner who is mysteriously bullied by a couple geeks. The loner comes across a piece of technology in the desert, a laser cannon of some kind and an amulet that turns him into a killing zombie. While the loner drives around in his van and goes about half-heartedly seducing his girlfriend, he also periodically turns into a zombie and takes his revenge on the geeky bullies. Most of the jokes are about how scuzzy the lead character is – which is most likely why he’s been ostracized from society in the first place – and the repeated use of the phrase “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!?” in connection with a large, bearded police officer.
3. The Final Sacrifice
This one is about a geeky kid whose father was murdered by a local cult. The kid finds a map among his father’s belongings and soon finds that it is an item that is desperately sought by the cult, putting his life in danger. The kid teams up with a loner named Zap Rowsdower – who turns out to be an ex-cult member – and the two try to find where the map leads before the cult does. A reoccurring joke throughout the series is the tendency to repeat a character’s name as a sort of exclamation. Rowsdower is prime example of how this joke works – partly because of his unusual name, but also partly because of how lame the character is and how very uninspiring his actions are. Other jokes revolve around the essential Canadianness of the production, including the crew getting a bad case of “hockey hair” and the singing of a failed ode to Canada.
2. Space Mutiny
Space Mutiny is about exactly what it sounds like: a mutiny in space. On a giant space station, unrest is forming among a select group who wants to leave the space station for their supposedly uninhabitable planet. Mutiny ensues, led by an evil caricature of a man with an even more evil laugh. The mutiny is fought by a dumb muscular man who wears a tank top and his girlfriend who is the daughter of the Commander. There is also some kind of plot involving a race of magic practicing alien women who spend their time dancing around plasma globes. I still don’t know what they had to do with anything. The best jokes in this episode involve the crew coming up with new butch names for the lead character – like Rock Hardbody, Big McLargeHuge, and at least thirty more.
This is one of the all time best episodes of MST3K and definitely one of the funniest. Mitchell is an action comedy starring Joe Don Baker as a kooky, slovenly, lovable cop who becomes embroiled in some kind of vague mob activity. This is another example of the crew using a character’s name as a repeated exclamation, which is particularly effective here because Mitchell is particularly uninspiring. The jokes mostly revolve around Joe Don Baker and his Mitchell character, particularly how unfit and unkempt he is. Baker reportedly did not take kindly to the MST3K crew’s jokes and threatened bodily harm if he ever met any of them. More than likely his comments were a joke, but the story has since become shrouded in legend and there it stays.