Over the course of his career, Mike Nelson has risen from being a waiter at TGI Fridays to being a nerd icon thanks to his work on the awesome cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. MST3K, of which we here in The Back Row are very big fans, was Mike’s first real gig in the world of comedy beyond a bit of stand-up work that he had done, and after being hired on as a part-time writer he quickly rose to the position of staff writer, then head writer, and eventually host of the show. When MST3K‘s former host, Joel Hodgeson, departed during the show’s fifth season, he chose Mike as his replacement because he thought he was talented and also looked great with the puppets of Crow and Tom Servo. Since hosting MST3K, Mike has written a few books, a column in TV Guide, and done a few commentary tracks on classic films like Reefer Madness and Carnival of Souls. He also continues to heckle movies with Rifftrax – mp3 commentary tracks that can be purchased online and synced up to the movie you’re watching (click here to visit the official Rifftrax site!) alongside two other former MST3K riffers: Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. Mike turns 47 today.