J. Elvis Weinstein
Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein was born at the right time and place for his eventual career as a comedy writer. As a child of the 1980s, he got to see some really great movies and some really bad ones too. It was the bad ones that really got to him, and at the tender age of 17 in 1988, Weinstein joined "Mystery Science Theater 3000," a fledgling show on a local channel in his native Minneapolis. The series was created by Minneapolis comedian Joel Hodgson as a way to use the station's library of cheap old movies, with Hodgson and his puppets superimposed on the screen as they riffed on the movies' poor production values and nonsensical plots. After the series was picked up by the nascent Comedy Central, Weinstein stuck around for the first season before leaving the series to concentrate on his writing career. The puppets he voiced, Tom Servo and Gypsy, were recast with other voice actors (writer Kevin Murphy and producer Jim Mallon, respectively), while Frank Conniff replaced Weinstein in his onscreen role as the second-in-command of mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu). Resettling in Los Angeles, Weinstein changed his professional name to J. Elvis Weinstein toavoid confusion with another member of the Writers Guild, "The Simpsons" (Fox 1989-) writer-producer Josh Weinstein. Weinstein worked as a staff writer for "Later" (NBC 1994-2000) in its incarnation as an interview show hosted by Greg Kinnear. He also worked as a staff writer on the Judd Apatow-produced cult favorite "Freaks and Geeks" (NBC 1999), and reunited with Beaulieu as a writer for "America's Funniest Home Videos" (ABC 1989-). In 2007, Weinstein rejoined Hodgson, Beaulieu and several other "Mystery Science Theater 3000" veterans in a similar venture, "Cinematic Titanic," that brought the riffing experience to live audiences. The project went on indefinite hiatus in 2013.