IMPORTANT MESSAGE: On 11/9/23 Jonah contacted us with some important, but also disappointing news. A family medical emergency arose over the last 24 hours that he is dealing with, that will prevent him from attending the MCFC. He wanted to convey how very sorry he was to have to have to cancel at such short notice, but it is unavoidable. Please keep Jonah and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Jonah Ray (born Jonah Ray Rodrigues in Honolulu, HI on August 3, 1982) is an American comedian, writer and actor. Jonah is known for being a staple of the Los Angeles “alt” comedy scene. He was the long-time co-host of a weekly live show at the Nerdmelt Theater called “The Meltdown with Kumail and Jonah”, which was later adapted into a TV series for Comedy Central.
Jonah has also served as co-host of the popular Nerdist podcast (along with comedians Chris Hardwick and Matt Mira), in which capacity he interviewed some of the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Jonah Ray was a long-time fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 before he became involved with the show’s production. The titles of two of his comedy albums are taken from riffs in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.
In 2020, Jonah began producing and hosting the podcast Let Me Watch Your Movie with You, in which he watches a film with a guest that was involved with making the film. One episode featured Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie with guests Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy.
In November 2015, Mr. Ray was announced as one of the stars of the crowd-funded revival of MST3k, playing the role of Jonah Heston. He also appeared briefly during Turkey Day ’15, introducing the episode Danger!! Death Ray.
Jonah co-hosted the online Turkey Day ’16 Marathon with Joel Hodgson, as well as the subsequent Turkey Day marathons. Prior to the new series’ debut, Jonah joined Joel at the RiffTrax MST3K Reunion Show, where they riffed a short together. Jonah also promoted the new series in several media outlets including podcasts. On an episode of the podcast SklarBro Country, Jonah explicitly stated that the new series is a continuation, not a reboot (he referred to it as “Season 11”).
Jonah performed as Jonah Heston in the Watch Out for Snakes and 30th Anniversary live tours. He did not appear in the Great Cheesy Movie Circus tour.
Jonah joined the Facebook Live streaming event following the 2020 Riff-Along, where he appeared in costume (but not in character) and performed an acoustic rendition of “Every Country Has a Monster”. Later that year, he joined the Mads for the Q&A segment of their streaming riff of Walk the Dark Street. Later in 2020, he appeared (once again in costume but not in character) in the2nd Annual Puppet Camp Livestream where he interacted with Crow, then Joel Hodgson, Bill Corbett, and Josh Weinstein. During Turkey Day ’20, Jonah appeared in a Zoom call in which was apparently in character as Jonah Heston, though he was not addressed by his full name.
In April of 2021, it was announced that Jonah Ray would return to the role of Jonah Heston for some of the new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 funded by the second Kickstarter campaign. It was also stated that he would direct episodes as well. Jonah later clarified that he would be directing all of the episodes featuring Emily Marsh as Emily Connor. He also directed the episodes featuring Joel Hodgson as Joel Robinson and half of the episodes featuring himself as Jonah Heston.
Jonah was not a member of the cast of the live Time Bubble Tour, but he did make an unannounced guest appearance (in character as Jonah Heston) during the December 22, 2021 performance in Los Angeles. He interacted briefly with Emily and the ‘bots before being removed by Mega-Synthia.