From: (jenkins lisa)

Subject: MST3K - article from UMinn paper

From: Minnesota Daily (U of M paper)

Date: August 18, 1989

Headline: Bachelor of Comedy

Author: Burns, Lisa

Page: 4 A&E


Most college students after their first year are still unsure as to what they want to pursue as a career. Not true with 18 year old U of M student Josh Weinstein, who for the past three years has been performing stand up comedy.

Featured at Scott Hansen's Comedy Galleries, the Ha Ha Club, and on the regional comedy club circuit, Weinstein's performances are part of his pursuit of an Individualized Studies degree in what else? comedy.

"I always knew I'd be a performer of some kind," Weinstein says as he fidgets with his salad at the Ediner in Calhoun Square. In high school he did musicals and admits he loved to ham it up in the spotlight. He first tried open stage night at the Ha Ha Club in January 1987. Soon after, he moved to the Comedy Gallery and since then Weinstein's progress has been steady. The first night he performed for Scott Hansen, owner of The Comedy Gallery, it was at the Ha Ha Club with Hansen in the audience. Weinstein wasn't scheduled to go on that night, but Styx Kiley (then owner of the club), sent him on in place of another performer specifically so Hansen would catch his act.

Weinstein says it's easy to remember that night, not just for the excitement, but because the next day the Twins won the World Series. So just as the Twins scored a chapter in the sports books, Weinstein saw a glimpse of his own chance for success.

Starting out young might have been more difficult if it had meant resisting conventional parents but Weinstein doesn't have that problem; describing them as "extraordinarily hip...(They) are much more concerned with a university education, but they understand that this is something I want to do and can do. They would understand if I had to take some time off if something happened with my career."

Perhaps Weinstein's biggest influence has been his tutelage under local comedy hero Joel Hodgson. They met just as Hodgson was returning to perform after a highly publicized retirement. Weinstein, on the other hand, was just starting out. "I had always been a huge fan of his, so when we first met, I was pretty star struck."

Weinstein says he took "Smartology" classes under Hodgson in March '87 and shared the stage with him and other students in Hodgson's comeback show "Heavy Leavity" the following June. Today he appears with Hodgson and others on Monday nights at the Riverplace Comedy Gallery.

Recently Weinstein also co starred on KTMA's "Mystery Science Theater 3000" with Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu. The show, which premiered Thanksgiving last year, became a kind of cult hit among various audiences, but was put on hiatus by KTMA due to Hodgson's schedule. In it, Hodgson played a character appropriately named Joel, sent to a space station by Dr. Lawrence Erhardt (Weinstein) and Dr. Clayton Forrester (Beaulieu), two evil scientists who forced him to watch bad Japanese science fiction movies. To compensate for his loneliness, Joel built robots to watch the movies with him. Weinstein played the robots Gypsy and Tom Servo while Beaulieu played the robot Crow. The crew sat in the space station theater's front row and cut the movies to pieces....

Last month, KTMA filed for bankruptcy, reorganizing the station's finances, which puts "MST 3000" in hiatus limbo. Jim Mallon, the show's producer at KTMA, said, "It's the kind of show we would like to produce, but due to the larger issues, we don't know when we could." Until all the barriers have been cleared, it is uncertain when Weinstein will again be able to play Gypsy and Servo.

In his stage routine, Weinstein doesn't dwell on any one subject, but jumps from bit to bit, allowing just enough time to get the laughs in. Hard put to define his act, he stalls for the right words. "Ah, geez. I dunno. Observational, commentative? I try to expose things. This is how people want you to see something, but this is what they're really saying. We don't always see it because we're clouded by hype. I don't think I'm a visionary, but I look closer. We accept things too easily...I can't characterize it. Cynical, observational? A little angry, maybe, but I don't try to force it on anyone else."

His act is definitely cynical, and yes, sometimes angry, though it doesn't insult the audience or make you feel uncomfortable and he's there to make you laugh. In subject, Weinstein has fun with television commercials, cartoon characters, his unfulfilled golf ambitions and our lack of cultural literacy. He brings up his family and vacations and what it was like growing up Jewish. Weinstein has killed audiences and died by them, but he still gets up and does it again.

Weinstein recently returned from Chicago, where he performed at Catch a Rising Star and Zany's. He'll return to Chicago over the New Year's Eve weekend to open at Catch a Rising Star. "As far as I'm concerned, I will always be in the business. I know I don't want to work for a living."