Every Comedy has Controversy
My favorite comedies are engrained with elements of the truth, which often leads to uncomfortable confrontations. These confrontations often stem from the “victim” being forced to reconcile or even acknowledge something uncomfortable or unpleasant. It is with themselves the problem lies, yet it’s so easy to blame the ones who present this information.
Especially when the comedy is as blunt as it is on MST3K.
Mystery Science Theater 3000’s reputation of holding no punches is accurate, and many times the actors and/or direction is criticized in a way that would leave Winston Churchill and Lenny Bruce rolling in their graves. The humor could be directed at appearance, (lack of) acting skills and just downright awful attempts at making movies. And that’s exactly the kind of humor which can easily become interpreted as personal attacks. I go crazy for these kinds of behind-the-scenes stories, but while it’s kind of a sadistic pleasure to search for angry responses to the show, it surprised me greatly to see how little animosity there actually was towards the show.
The main point of this post is to try and find out why so few people responded with malice and torches etc. There are plenty of reasons that support this, but in my opinion, the main reason why MST3K never needed to worry about hate mail came with the end credits; they thanked the authors of the First Amendment.
It’s tongue in cheek, potentially sarcastic and ultimately, an extremely bold statement that makes one think about it. The way MST3K got away with a lot of what was said came from a reminder that everyone has the right to speak about something, even if it is criticism, and the interesting thing is that they didn’t say that specifically, they didn’t get all “preachy” about people’s rights or hung up on their own opinions— they simply thanked them.
If you have an idea of why MST3K would have been able to escape the criticisms other comedies raise, leave a message in the comments.