Comic-Con@Home is online and underway, having kicked off this past Wednesday, July 22. It’s a grand experiment in capturing San Diego Comic-Con International’s heady mix of popular culture, camaraderie, and commerce without exposing attendees to a highly contagious and lethal virus, and as anyone who’s ever conducted a grand experiment—say, subjecting a human and his robot companions to the worst movies ever made—things don’t always go according to plan. Which is how Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator and original host Joel Hodgson, second Crow T. Robot Bill Corbett, and first Tom Servo J. Elvis Weinstein find themselves committed to resuming their old roles a few hours before taking the virtual stage Comic-Con stage and announcing they were doing so as part of a fundraiser for the Minneapolis-based Native American youth organization MIGIZI.
The fundraiser’s formal launch was intended to be part of tonight’s MST3K SDCC@Home panel, but word of the campaign spread early. As of this afternoon, it had reached the first of its two goals, with $10,000 in donations locking Hodgson, Corbett, and Weinstein in for a riff of the short film “A Busy Day At The County Fair.” (Let it never be said that MSTies aren’t passionate or quick to put money behind that passion.) If the fundraiser reaches $20,000—and, as of this writing, it’s less than $5,000 away from doing so—the trio will do another short, which, like its predecessor, will be a turkey with the full MST3K trimmings: The silhouettes, the doorway sequence, and a combination of host and bots never before seen on the Satellite Of Love.
Donors will receive early, VIP access to the shorts, which will later run on mst3k.org. Their donations will go toward rebuilding MIGIZI facilities damaged during May’s protests over the death of George Floyd, caused by fires that spread from the burning of a nearby Minneapolis Police Department precinct. The Minneapolis area was the longtime production hub for MST3K, which originated on Twin Cities UHF station KTMA and produced its 10 cable seasons in nearby Eden Prairie, Minnesota.