Joel Gordon Hodgson began his career as a stand-up comic, magician, and inventor before retiring at the age of 24 and moving back to his home state. Returning from exile in the late 1980s, Hodgson cemented his place in pop culture history by creating, writing and starring in Mystery Science Theater 3000, the TV show in which he and a group of robots watched and mocked B-movies. Beginning at a local Minneapolis station, the program found its niche among viewers of the then-fledgling Comedy Central in the early '90s. To the surprise of many fans, Hodgson left the show at the height of its popularity in 1995, once again disappearing from the public eye saying he was not comfortable with acting. But he's kept plenty busy: With his artist brother Jim, he founded Visual Story Tools, a small, L.A.-based idea and product factory. There, the brothers have worked on a number of projects which have allowed Hodgson to continue tinkering away behind the scenes, and which seem to be paving the way for larger things. Though Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans were treated to a return appearance in the show's 10th, and final, season opener; Hodgson prefers to keep a low profile working behind the camera. Joel has made guest appearances on the short-lived show Freaks and Geeks, writing for various shows and being creative consultant for others.