‘Mystery’ moves

'MST3K' gang goes online with TimmyBigHands

The gang from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is back, but this time without the cheesy movies.

Many of the creative minds behind “MISTOOK” have started the humor-based Web site TimmyBigHands.com, which gets a soft launch this month.

“Our goal is to do a throwback humor magazine,” said Mike Nelson, former head writer and star of “MST3K.”

“There are tons of humor sites, but they’re more joke-of-the-day style things, current events humor, or sites that comment on the Web itself,” he said. “We looked around, and there aren’t a lot of things like we’re trying to do.”

Site’s features include reviews of everyday items, like the horse and the Statue of Liberty; comic strips made up entirely of clip art; syrup ads; and essays such as Nelson’s “Socratic Dialogue with a Steak.”

With tongue firmly in cheek, TimmyBigHands.com will also give away $1.18 to 500 random visitors, who will then be eligible to win a grand prize of $12.

“It’s not far off from our tone on ‘Mystery Science Theater’; it’s just the way we write,” Nelson said.

The group leading the site include “MST3K” refugees Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Patrick Brantseg and Paul Chaplin.

Own coin

The TimmyBigHands team, based in Minnesota, is still working out the site’s economic model. Nelson and his partners reached into their own pockets to start up the site. They’ve since signed with Chicago-based alternative weekly New City to represent the site’s ad sales.

New City reps a network of alternative sites, including its own.

“MST3K” ended its run last year after 10 seasons. Debuting in November 1989 on Comedy Central precursor the Comedy Channel (an earlier version ran on local TV in Minneapolis), the show eventually became a cult fave — spawning conventions, fan Web sites, a line of homevideos and a feature film.

The show also won a Peabody Award in 1993. After Comedy Central dropped “MST3K” in 1996, the Sci Fi Channel inherited the show and produced new originals.

With no firm TV offers in Los Angeles, the remaining “MST3K” staffers ultimately decided to remain in Minnesota and create Web-based content instead. With “MST3K” retired for good, TimmyBigHands won’t include any segment with wise-cracking robots taking shots at bad, low-budget pics.

“Now people can come see it and make comments on us, which is refreshing,” Nelson said.

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