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'Mystery Science Theater 3000' will orbit around Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 19

There will be two riff-erific hosts when the stage version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” comes to Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, Oct. 19.

Based on the TV show that had cobbled-together robots and a beleaguered janitor riotously riffing and cracking quips while watching B movies, the 30th anniversary tour has come up with a script that works in the first host alongside the show’s newest host.

Joel Hodgson is the creator of the show that became a cult hit, first on local TV in Minneapolis in 1988 and later on Comedy Central from 1989 to 1996. In the show coming to South Florida (and for the first time in 25 years), Hodgson re-creates his role of Joel Robinson, an unwilling test subject whom a mad scientist forces to watch corny and cheesy movies while imprisoned on a spacecraft. In the show’s premise, his character builds robot sidekicks to keep from going insane, and the television viewer sees the the cast in silhouette wisecracking in front of a projection screen. Joining Hodgson onstage at Parker Playhouse will be Jonah Ray, who plays the lead in the 2017 reboot of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” on Netflix (after a less successful stint on the Sci-Fi Channel from 1997 to 1999) and traveled with a different version of the show last year titled “Watch Out for Snakes! Tour.”

What made Hodgson want to re-create his role and tour with the show?

“Well, you know we’re sitting there going, ‘What is this, the 30th anniversary? What can we do?’ ” Hodgson recalls by phone. “Then, we thought, ‘What if we had the original guy and the latest guy and the two are the hosts and the robots, of course?’ The robots will be there forever. They are just like the ‘Star Wars’ robots. They will be there until the end of time. I bet you we’ve been talking about doing this [for] maybe a year, thinking and talking about how to do it. It’s really designed around three [characters]. If you add a fourth, how do you do it? It’s a different rhythm. We have a different way of dealing with that in the context of the show.”

The new genre of “edit-prov”

“We did our first live show over 20 thousand years ago in Minneapolis,” Hodgson says. “It did great. In some ways, it was better than the TV show. It works great live. To me, that informed what ‘Mystery Science Theater’ became. More than anything, it’s about having fun. It only works if you’re having fun. If it’s too much like a play, I don’t think it will work. If a standup comedian tells a joke … the standup can stop and let [the audience] laugh and he picks up again. Well, the way we do it, the movie does not stop. We have to constantly adjust what we do based on what [the audience does]. ‘Edit-prov’ is really what it is. We said, ‘Let’s call it edit-prov.’ It’s weird. It’s a living thing. It’s, like, 700 jokes in our show. You can’t improv them all or there will be a traffic jam.”

What you need to know about “The Brain,” the movie being riffed on at Parker Playhouse

“The movie ‘The Brain’ is from 1988,” Hodgson says. “I wanted movies made the same year that we started. ‘The Brain’ is from Canada. It’s an adorably weird science fiction TV movie. The brain itself is more like a mad, mad ball. It’s got teeth and eyes. It’s autonomous. I don’t know if it’s flying around or rolling around. It gulps down people. It doesn’t eat them. It gulps them like the Cookie Monster gulps cookies. It’s just great.”

“Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live 30th Anniversary Tour — The Brain” will begin 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19 at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale (in Holiday Park). Tickets cost $37.50-$47.50. To order, call 954-462-0222 or go to ParkerPlayhouse.com.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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