Kevin Wagner Murphy (born November 3, 1956) is a former Mystery Science Theater 3000 writer, actor, director, and puppeteer. He is known to Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans as the second voice of Tom Servo and portraying Professor Bobo.
After graduating University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Directing for the Stage and Screen, Murphy took a position at local station KTMA. While there he also did production work on Jim Mallon's 1984 film Blood Hook. The relationship with Mallon led to his working on MST3k from its inception.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
From the start of MST3k Murphy worked behind the scenes as a writer. He also occasionally appeared on screen in a variety of guest roles, and was responsible for the lighting and camerawork in the KTMA season and the first Comedy Central season.
Beginning in 1990 Murphy took up the role of Tom Servo following the departure of original puppeteer and voice Josh Weinstein. He first appeared in the second (national) season's debut episode Rocketship X-M. Starting in season 8 he also appeared on-screen as the masked character Professor Bobo, appearing from the season's first episode Revenge of the Creature. He continued both roles until the final episode of the series, Diabolik.
Notably, upon taking up the voice of Tom Servo he was anonymously mailed a six foot long banner reading simply "I hate Tom Servo's new voice", which he then displayed in his office.
After the cancellation of the series Murphy took up a project to see a movie a day in 2001. He completed the task–seeing over 400 movies on four continents–and wrote about the experience in the book A Year at the Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey. A television series based on the premise was planned by an unknown network, but abandoned.
In 2007, Murphy joined Michael J. Nelson and Bill Corbett as part of the straight-to-DVD riff series The Film Crew. The group fizzled after releasing just four movies. He was also a part of the short lived Timmy Big Hands online webzine.
He can currently be heard as a part of Mike Nelson's audio commentary service RiffTrax. Originally appearing as a "guest riffer" for a number of movies, both he and Bill Corbett became full time members of the show with Mike around 2007.
Murphy continues to reside in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with his wife, Jane. Kevin considers himself an Angry Centrist
When asked in 2008 about any possible animosity between Murphy and the rest of the original cast of Mystery Science Theater, Joel Hodgson said; "I can't really speak for him. We saw him at ComicCon, and we did the Mystery Science Theater 20th Anniversary panel, and he seemed totally happy to be there, willing to be there, but he's doing Cinematic Titanic."
Kevin's least favorite movie that he's riffed on MST3k to date is Red Zone Cuba and he had fun riffing films on the show like Space Mutiny and had a blast riffing Mutant for RiffTrax. Kevin also admits to loving some of the harmless movies featured such as Jack Frost, Rocketship X-M and The Magic Voyage of Sinbad. Murphy is also a confessed fan of William Shatner (a man who's acting he admires and loves to riff) and Adam West (a man who can take anything that's simply not funny and have the ability to make it funny).
- Robert Plant - The Amazing Colossal Man, Turkey Day '91
- Jerry the Mole Man (credited as "Roadie") - Gamera vs. Zigra
- Patches the Leech - Attack of the Giant Leeches
- Kevin the Cop - The Indestructible Man
- William Conrad - The Human Duplicators
- Harry Carey (voice) - The Painted Hills
- Santa Claus - Santa Claus, San Francisco International
- Abe from Illinois (voice) - The Dead Talk Back
- Kitten With the Whip - Kitten with a Whip
- Ilya Murametz - The Sword and the Dragon
- Ted - The Amazing Transparent Man
- Wade the Nanite - Revenge of the Creature
- Emperor Hadrian - The Thing That Couldn't Die
- Digger Smolken (voice) - The Undead
- Space Mother (voice) - The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
- Callipygeas - Prince of Space, The Horror of Party Beach, Devil Doll, Invasion of the Neptune Men
- Roger Whitaker - The Pumaman
- Fortenbras - Hamlet
- "We started seeking out people in the community who could be on TV, and one of them was Joel Hodgson."
- "There was one submission called Demon Rugsuckers From Mars, or maybe just Rugsuckers From Mars. [WIRED Magazine's Editor's note: It’s actually titled Over-Sexed Rugsuckers From Mars.] It’s about vacuum cleaners. And there was a scene with this dorky bearded fellow making graphic love to a vacuum cleaner. That was the one time I thought, what the hell am I doing with my life?"
- "We always encouraged people to share tapes of the show with each other. But the online thing was born of itself. The whole newsgroup that started was self-generated. We didn’t have anything to do with it."
- "When you have something successful, it starts to look like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Jim Mallon and Joel ran the show, and I don’t think they liked each other at all."
- "It began getting difficult when USA Network started exercising more control over the Sci-Fi Channel. And then we picked up these fucking production executives from the network. We had these bitter, dry, humorless trolls in charge of our show. And they were giving us notes. And they were insisting on our having a story arc. What the hell do you want with a story arc? This is a puppet show."
- (remarking on the success of the RiffTrax Live events and upcoming riff of 1998's Godzilla) "There’s an element of it that the show is LIVE; once we start the train rolling downhill, we can’t stop. We have to get through this thing, so the energy is put towards that and have as much fun as we can along the way. So, the live aspect for me is really adrenaline that makes it more of a high-wire act."
- (on which recent 2014 blockbuster they could riff in the future) "Yeah, Lucy I think is the one we’ll really be able to tear into because Luc Besson is not a subtle man. That’s definitely one that we could tower over."