Late Nite JengaJam Interview - 4 Oct 2007

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The Brothers Chaps did an interview for Late Nite JengaJam, appearing on the episode The Brothers Chaps What Made The Homestar Runner. They talk about sequels, killing off characters, puppets and Mellow Mushroom.

Running Time: 1:08:35. Interview starts at 4:33.

Transcript

Offensive content Warning: Language that may be considered offensive by some readers follows.
To view a censored version of this page, see Late Nite JengaJam Interview - 4 Oct 2007 (censored).

JENGASHIP: But, without further ado, we have one of our two guests today. Matt Chapman is the man who does the voices for most of the, quote/unquote, "dumb animal characters" that comprise the Homestar Runner. Matt, how're you doing? {pause} Hello, Matt?

MIKE CHAPMAN: I'm here, I'm Mike.

JENGASHIP: Oh, Mike, hey. How're you doing?

MIKE: I just called in, like, thirty seconds ago.

JENGASHIP: Oh, wow.

MATT CHAPMAN: Matt's here too, I had muted my phone, and forgot to press unmute.

JENGASHIP: Wow, so we have Matt and Mike Chapman, Mike being the one who does half the animation, and Matt does the voices, and together they make what is arguably the most popular Flash cartoon, or cartoon of any kind, on the World Wide Web.

MATT: Hey, well, thanks for saying that. I have no facts to back that up...

MIKE: Sounds right to me.

MATT: Yeah, but the more you say it, the more it, uh...

MIKE: I believe it.

JENGASHIP: It's a self-fulfilling thing, the more we say it becomes true.

MATT: Exactly.

JENGASHIP: I'm sure you get this at every interview that you guys do, but it started out... more than 10 years ago, in '96, during the Olympics, Mike and Craig Zobel worked on a children's book?

MIKE: That's correct. We were bored one day and went to a bookstore on our time off, and thought that we could probably do something better, so we wrote the original children's book that day.

JENGASHIP: Hello?

MIKE: Just... no color, just Sharpies on typing paper.

JENGASHIP: Hello?

MIKE: We didn't really have computers... Hello? Hello? Can you hear us?

JENGASHIP: Oh, sorry about that, I...

OBOECRAZY: {overlapping} Yeah, we can hear you.

MIKE: Someone was saying "Hello, hello".

JENGASHIP: Oh, that was me, I apologize, I had a momentary lapse of reception.

MIKE: Oh, gotcha. Anyway, yeah. We just made copies at Kinko's, like, 10 copies for our friends, and there was no color or anything like that, it was just old-school Xerox stuff. And then a year or so later we scanned it in and colored it, made a souped-up version, a little bit. It was like '97. And then we started the website in 2000.

JENGASHIP: And, you know, that children's book motif sort of occurs in your work... I mean, you did something for the 10th anniversary last year, and then every now and again you'll see a children's book written by Lem Sportsinterviews?

MIKE: Yes. Leomard, for long.

JENGASHIP: You get a lot of these recurring..., I guess, site gags, or inside gags, for people who are following the site for a long time, almost rewarding them to keep up.

MIKE: Yeah, exactly. It pays off to look at... to watch all the stuff we drew, and a lot of stuff for people who've been watching for a long time, and 90% of the the people, they don't know what it means, but for the 10% that do, it's hopefully good for them.

MATT: That's something that I feel like I learned from Mystery Science Theater, I felt like they were always dropping... either references to a joke they had already made that was totally exclusive to the show, or making some weird reference to a commercial from the late '70s or something, that... they knew that only about 10 people were gonna get, but they made that joke anyway, so it was just sort of like... "This is for you 10 dudes that're gonna like this joke." I thought that was very cool, and just sort of... the way that it gets that kind of homey, grass-rootsey feel, and so we like to keep those... and it's also a part of creating the universe of the Homestar characters. Having stuff like, there's a weird children's book author inside the Homestar universe, and there's this guy who writes all the episodes of Cheat Commandos, and other things...

MIKE: The children's book author's wife writes weird...

MATT: Beverly Cleary.

MIKE: ...junior literature. It's been a while since she's written anything.

MATT: {overlapping} Beverly Sportsinterviews... I'm pretty sure she's "ex-wife", too... I don't know if we've...

MIKE: I'm sure Lem couldn't hold down a woman for very long.

{Laughter}

JENGASHIP: It seems to me that you've fleshed out this universe quite considerably. I remember in the past, like, people have asked you, "Hey, you guys planning on doing other kind of projects?" but anything you can think of has almost sort of..., I wouldn't want to say shoehorned, but you've found a way to incorporate it into the larger Homestar universe.

MIKE: Yeah, exactly. Making bad metal songs and crappy, drawn on notebook paper comics; we can find a way to work into Homestar.

MATT: Yes, there's really nobody to tell us not to do that stuff. It's sort of, almost, the curse of Homestar Runner, where it's like, you know, there are other projects we'd love to do, but then it's, "Oh, we can just do it for this website." So why start some other project when we can just do it for the cartoon? So it's sort of the double edged sword of we'll never get out of this universe... {laughs} we can just keep expanding it.

JENGASHIP: Yeah, it sort of goes as a testament to your guy's creativity, too. Not only do you have the regular citizens of Free Town, USA, but you have that metal band Limozeen and more recently that not so metal band, Sloshy.

MIKE: That's right.

{Pause, and then all three try to speak at once}

JENGASHIP: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

MATT: Oh, no, I was going to say exactly. It's very easy to keep it going and actually work on it, especially things like that, you know... Strong Bad's favorite band was Limozeen, and it just kept developing its own thing. Teen Girl Squad started as just a sort of one off thing that Strong Bad did. Now Teen Girl Squad has its own characters that keep recurring and crap. We recently made up this hip-hop character named Peacey P for a Teen Girl Squad, and we're probably going to make.... We probably going to make a Peacey P song. Peacey P and Coach Z might do a duet.

JENGASHIP: Aw, man. I'd love that.

MIKE: {simultaneously} All of the weird stuff like that.... {laughs}

MATT: So, it's just weird things like, okay this one character made this comic called Teen Girl Squad. And inside Teen Girl Squad he made up this rapper character that the characters in Teen Girl Squad like, and now that character is going to do a duet with one of the main characters. I dunno know. It's all ridiculous.

JENGASHIP: I think one of the reasons you guys are successful— to be able to expand it so much is you don't play necessarily like... I mean I guess there is a continuity with Strong Bad's technology and Cardboard Homestar and Marzipan, and you can get those gags. But, for the most part, it's not an ongoing arc story. You are able to pretty much go in there fresh, and people who have never seen Homestar Runner before are able to go in there and understand it because there's no continuing story line.

MATT: Right, the relationship between the characters is kind of the only ongoing thing. Like, when you watch a cartoon you get Strong Bad is a jerk and...

MIKE: Yeah, it's pretty easy to figure out which characters, what role that they play.

MATT: Yeah, so that's sort of the thing. There's that story that slowly develops, there's things where, obviously, Strong Sad has gotten bolder and, you know, there's been a couple times when Strong Sad actually even lashes out at Strong Bad. Which never used to happen. So, you know, there's these slowly slowly moving arcs for the people that have been watching it for a long time.

MIKE: Coach Z has gotten a lot—

JENGASHIP: {simultaneously} —character development.

MATT: {laughs} Yeah, so, you know... there's that, and there's at the same time— Yeah, it's sort of fun to not mess with that. Occasionally... we just recently did this cartoon called "The DNA Evidence" that sort of tied together this running gag that we've been doing, just as sort of a background thing in some of cartoons. And we thought it'd be funny to try and tie it all together. We sort of, there's not a lot of plot holes. At the same time, it was hard enough, it'd be a pain in the ass to try do that every week.

JENGASHIP: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Like, I remember some series— Well most of my audience comes from roosterteeth.com, which is the home of Red vs. Blue. You guys heard of it?

MIKE: Yeah. We've met those guys.

JENGASHIP: The reason Bernie gave for ending the series- the regular one- because they were doing an ongoing story, for a six minute off, six minutes a segment, whatever, episodes. It was sort of collapsing under its own critical mass. You couldn't incorporate all of that continuity after a while.

MATT: Right, right. And it makes it easier to those... to do those off shoot things when all we're doing is a sorta three to five minute cartoon every week. It's way easier to do like, "Okay, we're going to do a commercial for this fake brand of marshmallows this week." That doesn't need to follow any continuity. It's kinda of nice to be able to jump completely out of any continuity.

JENGASHIP: You guys have been at it for like, what, seven years now. The Flash animation, right?

MIKE: Yeah, this will be eight years, I guess, at the end of this year?

MATT: Yeah.

MIKE: That's pretty crazy.

JENGASHIP: I think I've been watching for five.

MIKE: Wow. Nice work. I haven't been watching that long.

JENGASHIP: Like, I remember the first time I ever had any experience with Homestar Runner was a sticker on a tunnel, underneath the train tracks, where I went to school. It was Strong Mad. It said, "Strong Mad Has A Posse." And it had the homestarrunner.com URL.

MIKE: Nice, that's an old sticker.

MATT: Yeah, I don't know whose that would've been, unless someone made their own.

MIKE: Well, we have a thing on the page for a while, a download where it just had a layout of— so they could've made their own. Yeah, that was the first Homestar Runner product we ever made. I got a hundred of those printed at stickerguy.com, I think in 2000.

MATT: It was such a big deal.

MIKE: We didn't have an online store or anything. So, we got a hundred of those printed and just gave them to our friends. If you've got an actual vinyl sticker, there's not too many of those. I don't think I have one of them.

MATT: Tried this thing right when I moved to New York and stick them all over the cool bars in Brooklyn. And they'd be like down the next day. {Mike laughs} So much for our street team.{laughter} So the fact that you actually saw one somewhere and it made you go to the website, that's pretty awesome. Somewhere, it worked.

JENGASHIP: Yeah, sure. You gotta thank your contacts out in Villanova, Pennsylvania, I guess.

MIKE: Yeah, but I don't know who those are.

JENGASHIP: But it sorta goes back to what I was saying with the community. Back in the day, the way that you heard of me, I was shocked that you heard of Jengaship from the old Strong Bored. You had the old message board, you had a community there. And I remember a bunch of names, like InvisiblePedestrian and Taryn and...

MIKE: Oh, yeah, Taryn.

JENGASHIP: Yeah, you made the game for her.

MIKE: Taryn got immortalized in that, yeah, Taryn game where you kick— you just kick her around the screen, I think? And her head came off maybe? Yeah.

JENGASHIP: And a bunch of other people like Carter and Emiwy, I don't know you remember her or not...

MIKE: Emiwy, I remember Emiwy. Eh, Steve, was there an Eh, Steve? No, what did he call himself?

MATT: StrongSteve.

MIKE: He called himself Homsar, but yeah StrongSteve or Homsar, I forget which. Yeah, it was kinda funny. It was this terrible, when we were hosted on Yahoo! at the time and they didn't support PHP or any sort of back-end stuff. It was just called Miva Script and it was so not robust.

MATT: Do you remember what we called it when the board would crash?

JENGASHIP: I'm trying to remember.

MIKE: I don't.

MATT: Somebody, I remember who, I think there was one time when it crashed, I put up the word "BONK!" up at the top.

JENGASHIP: BONK! Oh, my goodness, I remember that word!

{Laughter}

MATT: So it Bonked constantly, yeah, so the people on the board started calling it "Bonk" and even a couple people had their screen name be something involving Bonk. It was kinda fun. It was fun to be that involved. You know, we read emails from folks- obviously, all the Strong Bad emails are all real- but at the same time not quite as hands on. And it was fun, too, because I never really posted as me, I don't think, but I would usually post as Strong Bad. So, it was nice to do that.

Dennis Franz

MIKE: Yeah, didn't you have an avatar that was Dennis Franz for a while?

MATT: Yes, it was several different pictures of Dennis Franz including the one from when he was on The Simpsons.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right.

MATT: As playing Homer in the sexual harassment TV movie.

JENGASHIP: {quoting the episode} Mr. Simpson, that's a living creature!

MATT: {as Dennis Franz} I don't care... {laughter} I'm gonna get me something sweet. {All laugh}

JENGASHIP: Oh, man. And I guess it comes a natural question is, what happened to the site?

MIKE: It's still up, actually.

JENGASHIP: Well, I mean, homestarrunner.com, but I mean— board had that little Easter egg to it, but the actual message board aspect of it was the meeting place for the site.

MATT: Uh, well, that Yahoo! one was really hard to maintain, obviously, and it kept breaking and stuff, and so that became more of a hassle. And then, we switched web hosts once the traffic started to get pretty bad, er good rather. And so we tried another message board at one point and it got just overloaded, which is a good thing. Within an hour, there was a thousand users, but it was just crawling, and at the time we didn't want to have to pay for the bandwidth, and we looked into, whatever, lots of message board suites you could get like free message board hosting services, and crap like that. I don't know. It was the sort of thing where we were like, "Yeah, it's too much trouble." And we're doing Strong Bad emails pretty regularly. So that's being in touch with the fans. We started putting the fan stuff up on the website—

MIKE: {overlapping} It's mostly technology.

MATT: Yeah, mostly it was about technology and some laziness, a dash of laziness. But, yeah, it'd be nice— and at that point, the other thing was at that point there was two or three Homestar fan sites already and they were all run really well. Like, they had their own moderators and all of this stuff, and obviously, eventually, when the Homestar Wiki appeared it was like, "The fans are doing this for us, they've got the community, so we'll let the fans run the community, and we'll keep doing the cartoons." So, that's kinda why we don't host our own message board.

MIKE: I remember—

MATT: {overlapping} The fans are doing it way better than we could have.

JENGASHIP: Like Dot.net and homestarfreaks and....

MIKE: There was one, the-coolest-stuff-ever.com, was one of the early ones that was really good for awhile.

MATT: Yeah, and homestarrules, there was a homestarrules for a while.

MIKE: Yeah, again that's super cool, too, just the fact that the fans are doing that for us. It's crazy too, and they're really great about policing stuff. I mean, if somebody links to somebody trying to sell our merchandise without our permission or if there is an eBay thing, the community will go after these people for us, so we don't even have to pay lawyers to do it. That's pretty awesome.

JENGASHIP: Wow.

MATT: The community, that's a perfect example of the community. They've become like, whatever, their own police force for Homestar.

JENGASHIP: Then, I've taken a one off gag from Homestar Runner and spun it into a successful online identity.

MATT: Yeah, exactly. And speaking of that, you'll be hearing from our lawyers shortly.

JENGASHIP: {laughs} Well, I was wondering about that.

MATT: It's such an obscure thing, and that's what's great. You know, the Strong Sad journal has never been directly linked to it. It's always been linked from that one Easter egg.

MIKE: Is JengaJam just from the journal?

MATT: Yeah, 'cause he refers to it as a "Late Nite JengaJam." JengaJam is from that one cartoon, but it's the e-vite for Homsar's, I think that's what it's called... I forget. It's some party that Homsar is throwing.

MIKE: Yeah, "I'm a-creepin' and I'm a-creepin' and I'm a-creepin'"?

JENGASHIP: That's right.

MATT: That's what it was called. Yeah.

MIKE: Nice.

MATT: Yeah.

JENGASHIP: So I found it, I think I found on the Strong Bad website and you click— I'm giving out an Easter egg now... Go to the Wiki if you want the Easter eggs, man. Find your own way. I had to do the hard way. By clicking, by clicking tab you find where yellow things were highlighted. {laughs}

MATT: It was hilarious, it was way— I don't know how many years, we've been doing it before even I knew the tab trick. I found it out by reading one of the fan sites. Like, "Wait, really? You can just hit tab?" Our dad was very happy to hear that because we'd catch our dad watching our cartoon and he'd be just clicking on everything. Going through the entire cartoon, clicking a thousand times.

MIKE: Clearly not watching the cartoon or paying attention to what anyone was saying, just trying to click on every word and every object on the screen.

MATT: Like, "Dad, that email only has one Easter egg." I don't know...

JENGASHIP: Well, yeah, that brings up another point: the whole interactivity of the cartoon. The fact it's on the web, like if you were watching it on TV, you really can't click things on your TV. One cool thing with the DVDs are you still have some interactivity in there.

MIKE: Right.

JENGASHIP: Not necessarily all the freedom, but I think it's always kinda cool that you do that sort of fan service when you hide something. And something that's hidden as an Easter egg will become as part, in the fan's mind, as, something that was in the regular continuity of the actual story you tell.

MIKE: Yeah, there are sometimes when we, you know, if there is an Easter egg at the end of a cartoon, we are really tempted to put it into the main cartoon if it's really funny and we really like it. If we feel like it's a good part of the cartoon, and there is always the temptation, "Why don't we put that at the end of the cartoon?"

MATT: Yeah, there's definitely some of those moments.

MIKE: {overlapping} But, knowing that most people are going to see it either way, and you know... Keeping the Easter eggs, I dunno ... It gives the fan the feel of a little something special at the end.

MATT: Four or five years ago, I feel like we'd meet people that would say, we would tell them, oh yeah, we hide the stuff. "Wait, you hide stuff in your cartoons?" And so, at that point we were probably on Strong Bad email number 60 or 70, they were excited because they get to go back to all these cartoons and check it out. But, I haven't heard that from anybody in a long time. So I feel like if you watch the cartoon, it's probably common knowledge that there is hidden crap and ... I think that Easter egg culture just seems to be a thing with DVDs and just kind of stuff in general, not just Flash cartoons, they're kind of prevalent.

JENGASHIP: Oh, yeah, definitely more now. I remember you were doing DVD commentaries before most people had DVD players in their houses.

{Laughter}

MATT: Yeah, well that was so funny, 'cause now we do it on actual DVDs, but then, when we did the DVD commentary on those cartoons, it was like a joke. Oh, right, DVD commentary. Like DVDs were a funny novelty fad that was happening. {laugher}

MIKE: Deleted scenes.

MATT: Yeah, that was all just a funny thing that we thought... I figured DVDs would stick around, but that stuff, I thought was totally a fad. I didn't think we'd legitimately be doing it five years later.

MIKE: DVDs still do advertise "interactive menus," though, which I think should be illegal.

JENGASHIP: Oh, yeah, you already bought the DVD.

MATT: It's like, what, of course, it's interactive! I have to— Interactive menu, all that means is, like, you have to press up or down and hit enter.

MIKE: And then "scene selection." That was another one that they'd list. Scene selection. Wow! Bonus.

MATT: I can actually select which scene I would like to view.

JENGASHIP: Whoa. What a modern age we live in. And now, they're looking to replace these DVDs with HD-DVDs or... really, more online downloadable content. And I'm wonderin', yeah, I know you have Podcast Runner and everything, but have you guys dabbled or looked into doing anything with, like, Xbox Arcade or Xbox Marketplace or anything like that?

MATT: There is, you know... we've considered that sort of thing. For us, I don't know, we just enjoy the way we're doing it now, and it's free, and that's the thing... I know you can essentially do it free on Xbox Live Arcade but if some is savvy enough to use Xbox Live Arcade and downloaded content from it, they can probably can get on the web and watch it for free. Especially now that there is all these plug-ins like a Google, iGoogle widget that is an RSS feed and it will automatically, when you go to homestarrunner.com, it will make it full screen. But not show you the crap outside of the viewing area that you are not suppose to see. It auto-formats it and all this stuff. So, I feel like if it's your desire... Because one of the complaints occasionally people will say is, we still sort of have those cartoons in that tiny default size for Flash that it was in 1999 when we started making the cartoons. We have it that way. There are plenty of ways to watch it full screen these days.

JENGASHIP: True, and as all-encompassing as it has been, for the past seven years of your lives, you guys have managed to do outside projects. I remember a certain episode of Sealab, where Sharko I think is training, and I hear someone singing. I'm thinking to myself, "That's Matt Chapman!"

MATT: Our friend Christian works for Seventy-Thirty, who made Sealab and who makes Frisky Dingo. So, they just said, "Hey, we're trying to do, we need—" and it's funny because I think it was right, almost in tandem with when were do an email that made fun of montages, so we also had a training montage in our cartoon right around the same time. So, yeah, you know, I tried to do more of a Jon Bon Jovi voice, but they were like, "Can you be squealier?" So, it ended up just being Larry from Limozeen. He's actually credited, or I'm credited, or something, on IMDb as Larry Palaroncini is credited as singing that song for Sealab, which is pretty hilarious. Only furthering the myth that Limozeen was actually an '80s metal band.

JENGASHIP: Wow. That's pretty cool, and I remember the one side project that you did where I checked it out and it really wasn't, I mean— the MellowMushroom.com website.

MIKE: That wasn't a side project.

JENGASHIP: {overlapping} Specifically because you guys did it.

MIKE: That was, that was... I did that in, what, 2000?

MATT: Right when we were starting the site.

MIKE: 2000. 2001, maybe, and that was purely business.

MATT: That wasn't— that doesn't count as a side project.

MIKE: {overlapping} That's not a side project, that was just work.

JENGASHIP: Oh, work.

MIKE: Yeah. That was just paying the bills. And it was... you know, they basically... At the time, I wasn't— Homestar Runner didn't have, wasn't anything to worry about, so I didn't feel bad about ripping myself off, and ripping ourselves off and making the site to be very similar.

MATT: It's so great, too, because it still says "Toons" on it and there's still only one "toon" on it.

MIKE: {laughs} Yeah.

MATT: I wanna like talk—

MIKE: {overlapping} 'Cause we just—

{Silence}

MIKE: Sorry, Matt.

MATT: {simultaneously} Go ahead.

MATT: I was just going to say that I want to call them, and just be like, "Hey, I recorded a new sound file for that guy just saying 'Toon'. Will you change the button so it just says 'Toon' now?"

MIKE: 'Cause they originally, I did the site as it is now, we just looked it today randomly, and it's pretty much the exact same. The idea would be that we would continue to make cartoons and do stuff for it, but right about the time we did that site, when we started to focus more on Homestar Runner, and so we didn't have time, and they never found anybody else to do much on the site.

JENGASHIP: It's a smart move on their part. I live, I'm in the North, I live in Philadelphia. So I'm probably at least 100 miles from the nearest Mellow Mushroom. But, if I'm ever down there, I'm probably going to visit them specifically because you worked on the site.

MIKE: Cool.

JENGASHIP: You guys should be collecting some royalty checks.

MATT: {laughs} Yeah, come on.

MIKE: It's pretty good, it's pretty good pizza.

MATT: It is good pizza.

JENGASHIP: {gives information about calling in} ...And I have a couple callers in the room right now, but before I get to them, I want to hear, I guess I have all these questions for the characters. But it occurs to me that I can probably hear from them themselves, let them out and then let you speak for them.

MATT: Oh, I didn't know they were suppose to come. They're not here right now.

JENGASHIP: Aw, man.

MATT: {laughs} I'm just kidding. Uh, yeah, who do you want to talk to?

JENGASHIP: Well, I guess I should— There's sort of a metatexual moment. I can talk to Homsar for a minute?

MATT: Oh, wow. He's really hard to locate. Hang on a second. And I'm also walking around my neighborhood, talking on a phone, so my neighbors are going to get freaked out.

JENGASHIP: Wow.

MATT: Well, ask away. I'll see if I can find him.

JENGASHIP: Well, you know, Homsar, I'm wondering, like... Did your Jengaship ever get repaired?

HOMSAR: My paste is overwhelmed since Twelvesday.

JENGASHIP: {laughs} Oh my goodness. Wow, he called my bluff. That was a metatextual moment where I meet my creator. Sort of like those moments in fiction where they meet the author.

HOMSAR: If you don't step away from the car, I'll chop your fingers on.

JENGASHIP: Wow, that's got to be the most violent thing I've heard you say, Homsar.

MIKE: {overlapping} He's got a mean streak. Don't push him, man, he's got a mean streak.

JENGASHIP: Okay, I guess thank you for your time, Homsar. We'll get to our callers in a little bit, actually we have one person— but I should give my co-host, Oboe, the first crack at you guys.Lauren, did you have any questions for Matt and Mike?

OBOECRAZY: Yeah, I want to know why Trogdor is so hard to play on Guitar Hero.

MIKE: {laughs} I know. It's so much easier in real life.

MATT: Yeah, we suck at it. We immediately cranked it up to expert thinking we'd be so great at it, and we were just... yeah, we suck too. Talk to Harmonix or Activision or who ever is doing it now.

OBOECRAZY: So I guess my related question is did you have guys have anything to do with that besides saying, "Yeah! Go for it."?

MATT: Well, yeah Alex Rigopulos, the dude that was the president of Harmonix— I guess he still is, when Harmonix was still making Guitar Hero. He's just a fan and emailed and was like, "Hey, you guys want to put a song on here?" Yeah, so basically, basically, we said yes. And then they put it on, and then there is a Limozeen song, actually, on Rocks The 80s or whatever— the Encore one that just came out over the summer.

JENGASHIP: Oh wow.

MATT: We tried to do, we tried to get something together for Rock Band, but I just had a baby, and so we didn't really have enough time to get something going to sneak in some sort of Homestar reference in Rock Band. Sadly.

OBEOCRAZY: Oh, congratulations.

JENGASHIP: Congratulations on that, by the way.

MATT: No, no, we didn't get anything in Rock Band.

JENGASHIP: One of the cool things about that track on there, I bought it on Guitar Hero II was that it's actually— you know, Strong Bad — the actual track from the album. It's not like they have people covering it, and it doesn't sound like Mike singing. In Strong Bad's voice. I wonder what that would sound like...

MIKE: {laughs} What, me singing Trogdor?

JENGASHIP: Yeah.

MIKE: No no no.

JENGASHIP: As Strong Bad.

MIKE: No no no no no no.

JENGASHIP: I don't want you to hurt yourself.

MIKE: There's a reason why I don't do voices on the site.

MATT: What if The Cheat made it, though, Mike? What if The Cheat had Strong Bad singing Trogdor?

MIKE: I need to think of a...

STRONG BAD: {Powered By The Cheat} I can do it, uh... {off key} Trogdor was a man, I mean he was such a dragon man.

MIKE: That's all I can do. {laughter} It's really bad. I told you.

JENGASHIP: But you know what, I think that's the first time I heard that cover, anyway. I remember I used to see the Powered By The Cheat stuff like all the time, and now—

MIKE: Yeah, we're probably due for some Powered— There's been a lot Easter egg and small bits in emails where there will be Powered By The Cheat stuff, there hasn't been any full Powered By The Cheat stuff—

MATT: Yeah, Powered By The Cheat and Marshie were two things that really polarized folks. Those were two things that we— and Old-Timey stuff.

MIKE: {overlapping} And Old-Timey stuff. Yeah, a lot of people really love it, but a lot of people really hated it.

MATT: Yeah, so Powered By The Cheat we relegated to appearing in— He'd do stuff in the context of a cartoon, but not solo cartoons. But, yeah, we should probably not listen to what people say and just make a Powered By The Cheat cartoon. Because I love them. They're some of my favorite things on the site. Mainly because Mike does them all. {Mike laughs} And I don't have to—

MIKE: You don't need to help with those.

MATT: I can go out of town.

JENGASHIP: Well, I have a caller from Michigan that is unmuted. You're on Late Nite JengaJam.

MIKE: Hi, Michigan.

JENGASHIP: Michigan? Are you with us?

OLDSCHOOL: Oh, hello? Hi, Dick, this is OldSchool.

{JengaShip, Mike and Matt all speak at once}

OLDSCHOOL: How's it going? Yeah, I called in late. I didn't specifically have a question, but I do love the Homestar Runner. So...

MIKE: Well, great!

MATT: {laughs} That's awesome.

JENGASHIP: Well, Michigan, thanks for your call. Keep listening in.

OLDSCHOOL: I'll keep listening.

MIKE: We're from Indiana, that's close to Michigan.

OLDSCHOOL: Pretty close.

MIKE: Yeah, we've got relatives in Michiana. That's what they call the northern part of Michigan, er, Indiana, right?

JENGASHIP: Wow, small world. I have friends in Michigan, actually.

MIKE: Is the southern part of Michigan called Michigana too?

OLDSCHOOL: I'm not sure. I have a sister in Anderson, though.

MIKE: Oh. I don't know where that is. I only know about Winnemac. It's a really small town, but it's really cool.

OLDSCHOOL: It's on the other side of the state from that area, I think.

MIKE: Yeah.

OBOECRAZY: This has been Geography Talk on the Late Nite JengaJam.

MIKE: {laughs} Yeah.

JENGASHIP: Actually very appropriate seeing as how your host, JengaShip, is a two time school-level geography bee winner. And if I knew where Three Mile Island was, I would've competed in the nationals. Or at least the state levels.

MATT: {overlapping} Awwww.

MIKE: Really?

JENGASHIP: It turns out it's in Pennsylvania, which is where I live. I thought it was in Tennessee. {Matt and Mike try to speak at once, but cut each other off.} It was a history thing.

MATT: You thought an island was in Tennessee?

JENGASHIP: Yeah, there's rivers and stuff.

{Mike laughs}

MATT: I was just kidding.

MIKE: We're laughing—

JENGASHIP: I was a kid. What do you want from me? Actually, I have someone in here I know has a question. Trav, you're on Late Nite JengaJam. How are you doing?

TRAV: Oh Jesus Christ, I'm unmuted. Yeah, what's going on?

JENGASHIP: You're on the air with Matt and Mike Chapman.

TRAV: Hey, what's goin' on?

MIKE: What state are you from?

TRAV: I'm from Massachusetts.

MIKE: Okay, that's not very close to Indiana.

TRAV: No. No, not at all, no.

MIKE: I've never been to the fine state of Massachusetts.

TRAV: Oh, it is fine.

MATT: You've never been to Boston, Mike?

MIKE: I never have been to Boston.

TRAV: Never?

MATT: {simultaneously} Are you in Boston?

TRAV: No, I'm not. I'm actually north of Boston. Up in the North Shore of Massachusetts.

MIKE: Oh, okay.

TRAV: But I've been there.

MATT: So what's going on?

TRAV: Ah, not much. It's nice to finally talk to you guys, I must say. I've enjoyed Homestar Runner over the years. Actually, it was Mr. Jenga over here who got me involved in it some years ago.

MIKE: Nice.

TRAV: And I have to say that one of my favorite things that you guys did was the Strong Bad Sings album. And I was curious to know if you guys had a sequel in the works, so like another album coming out, 'cause I'm really interested in hearing a bit more Limozeen.

MATT: {laughs} We were just talking about that the other day, and, uh, yeah, especially... I don't know, since home recording is so much easier— not that it wasn't easy when we made the CD, but you know, Garage Band and all this stuff, it's so much cheaper to do it, and we'd probably do it in less time. There's kinda no excuse that we haven't made another CD at this point, especially since we've probably got three albums' worth of new songs that we've made on the website since we put out that CD. We want to do one, but it's just a matter of getting off our asses and doing it.

MIKE: That's the one thing. Before, you know, in the early years of the site, the songs we would do would be pretty short. And so the album really fleshed out a lot of these songs that on the website were just ten or fifteen seconds long. But nowadays, we tend to make the songs on the site be more full featured anyway.

MATT: Yeah, we'd have to try harder to try to soup them up for the CD.

MIKE: Yeah.

MATT: Make it worthwhile to buy it.

MIKE: Yeah, and the versions on the website were really half-assed because we didn't have Garage Band or any access to any sort of decent sounding programmable drums or anything.

MATT: It was just Mike and I sitting at two computers in our apartment, holding a microphone up to an amp or something.

MIKE: Yep.

JENGASHIP: Well, Trav, thanks for your call. We'll catch up with you later.

TRAV: All right, man.

MATT: {simultaneously} Watch out for that, we'll— that's a good— we'll mark that down as another person that gives a shit about a CD and we'll try and keep working on one.

MIKE: That makes five of you.

JENGASHIP: Oh, six!

MIKE: Six? Okay. {laughs}

JENGASHIP: Okay, we have Count3D in the room. Count3D, you're on Late Nite JengaJam.

COUNT3D: Good evening, gentlemen.

MIKE: Hello.

COUNT3D: I actually have a question for both of you; two separate questions. And, um, I guess I'll start with Mike.

MIKE: Okay. Shoot.

COUNT3D: What advice can you give for anyone who is trying to learn how to make Flash animation cartoons?

MIKE: Um, I think that for us the key was to find something that you really wanted to do. Um, which for us was Homestar Runner. Because then you'll learn because you want to do it as opposed to— like I've tried to learn the program Aftereffects and things like that. And unless you have a project that you are really passionate about, you know— I could sit there and do tutorials and learn something but then I'd pick it up two weeks later and I've forgotten everything. So, I would say that finding something that really want to do was for us the key. And getting a good book. Nowadays, there are tons, but back '99, 2000, there were four or five Flash books, and we had them all. We buried ourselves in learning from there. But most of the time, you know... we were looking back at the cartoons that we made there, we made a lot of pretty awful mistakes. Just learning by trial and error.

MATT: {overlapping} The other thing, don't let not knowing what the hell you're doing stop you.

MIKE: {laughs} That's true.

MATT: That was a big part of what we were doing. You know, we didn't know what we were doing but we were like, "Well, let's just try it this way!" We'd make it work for us, even though, if wasn't the best way to do it, you still forced yourself through it rather than hitting a wall.

MIKE: Yeah, we started doing Flash maybe in like August or September of '99 and we put the site up in January. So the first cartoon, we only had been messing with Flash for three or four months and we started making cartoons and putting stuff up. Not that anyone was watching that.

COUNT3D: I can see how a bit of film or experimental period would definitely help you out, to get to know something and to get new ideas, and things. And I'm a film major myself, actually, and my next sort of question is for Matt. I read that you graduated from Florida State University and I was wondering what it was like to study film there.

MATT: Uh, it was good, it was good. It was the undergrad program, was a little, uh you know, a little bumpy. I don't think they figured out what to do. The graduate program seems to be much, much better. I don't think they knew what to do with undergrads. But I definitely learned— writing was the biggest thing I think I learned best there.

COUNT3D: {overlapping} Cool, cool.

MATT: As opposed to actual film craft. The writing. The teachers they had for screenwriting classes were really good, the story classes. Yeah, the film school is part of the stadium, FSU Stadium, actually. So, on game days, you couldn't get to class.

COUNT3D: {laughs} Cool.

MIKE: You shouldn't have had classes on game days, anyway.

MATT: Well, yeah, but you needed—

MIKE: {overlapping} You guys were going to class on Saturdays? Film school nerds.

MATT: You needed to go in and shoot something probably, you know. Film doesn't stop for weekends.

MIKE: Go shoot frickin' Bobby Bowden on the sidelines. What's the problem?

MATT: {laughs} We all had to make football movies. That was the worst part. FSU made you make football movies.

JENGASHIP: Count3D, thank you so much.

MATT: {overlapping} Where— oh, sorry, I was going to ask him where, where he went to film school...

JENGASHIP: That's okay. He's still here. He's still here, I think.

COUNT3D: Yeah, I'm still here. I'm currently studying north of the border at film university, well, a university called Queens in Kingston, Ontario.

MIKE: Oh, nice. Awesome. We've been to Saskatoon before.

COUNT3D: Yeah, how was it?

MIKE: That's in Canada. It was great. There's a statue of Bobby Orr.

COUNT3D: That is correct.

MIKE: Yeah. And, uh, yeah.

MATT: Yeah and didn't we have the Homestar puppet talked to him, didn't he?

MIKE: Yeah, I think so.

JENGASHIP: We have ElMay in the room. How are you doing?

ELMAY: I'm doing good.

MIKE: Hi.

ELMAY: Hi.

MATT: {flatly} Hi. What's going on.

ELMAY: Um, not much. I'm a huge fan of your site.

MIKE: Thanks.
MATT: {simultaneously} Thank you.

ELMAY: And I love that you had the old 386. I used to have a 386.

MATT: Awesome.

ELMAY: What?

MATT: I said awesome.

ELMAY: Awes— Yes, it was an awesome thing. And I love all your little games. Your little mini games. That are all in 16-bit. Is there going to be Dungeonman IV?

MIKE: Oo.

MATT: I don't know. We kinda felt like that adding graphics was kind of the pinnacle of the Thy Dungeonman series. Especially since— did you win the third Thy Dungeonman?

ELMAY: I did, I did. I played through it.

MATT: We figured, since you, you know, that was kind of why we had you get Ye Flask finally at the end.

ELMAY: {overlapping} Right.

MATT: That's like, this is the thing that has been plaguing Thy Dungeonman all his life and finally he gets Ye Flask. So, we kind of felt, storywise, such as it is, we sort of thinking of that as being the end of Thy Dungeonman. But if people dig the text adventures, we'll make those 'till the cows come home.

ELMAY: I miss those, I miss those old Infocom text adventures.

MIKE: That's the style of, if we did a Thy Dungeonman IV, like those Infocom games, where it was just a scene but the graphics— You didn't have a character that walked around the scene, but it was just the scene. And there was some color and stuff like that. So it would be not be just monochromatic like Thy Dungeonman III was. There's a graphical style I've got in mind for Thy Dungeonman IV.

ELMAY: Oh, cool!

MIKE: We'll see what happens.

MATT: There's that terrible, Roberta Williams, one of her first games, a Dark Crystal game for the Commodore 64.

MIKE: {overlapping} Yes, exactly! That's it.

MATT: Black, white, pink and like yellow were the only colors in the game, but I think that would make a pretty awesome game.

ELMAY: {laughing} I like Peasant's Quest, too. That was good.

MATT: Yeah, we always— Peasant's Quest we would like— That's something I would do constantly too if it didn't— That game probably took us, what, six months?

MIKE: Yeah.

MATT: Working in the background, still trying to update the website, so that's just one we haven't— We love, we have plans for what the other Peasant's Quest games would be but we, uh...

MIKE: That's something I really want to do. We don't program, but we've got a friend, Jonathan who programs the games for us. And so, he doesn't live in the same town as us. So, working with him, it takes a little bit longer to do the games, because we can't do— all we can do is graphics.

ELMAY: So you use Adobe Flash to do the cartoons?

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

ELMAY: Are you guys on Mac at all?

MATT: We're on both.

MIKE: Yeah, we've got both. We do most of the site on PCs, we do some stuff on Macs. We do the all DVDs and video editing and stuff on the Mac.

ELMAY: Oh, that's cool. I just recently went Mac, so...

MIKE: We usually... we would probably be more likely to go Mac, but we use Flash 5, which is like six versions old, or something, and Flash 5 will only run in Classic.

ELMAY: Oh, right.

MIKE: It doesn't run very stable at all. It crashes a lot and stuff. So if we could ever figure out a way to make Flash 5 run smoothly on a Mac, we would be more likely to just do more work on that.

MATT: Yeah, we run OS X, and run that Windows emulator, and then run Flash inside that. Maybe that's the solution.

ELMAY: I just got the whole Adobe suite, so I'm like excited about the Flash, and learning how to use that stuff.

MIKE: Yeah, it's great, it's a great program.

MATT: {underneath} Good luck.

ELMAY: Very cool. I, for some reason, thought you guys were in Chicago.

MATT & MIKE: Nope.

ELMAY: No, that's a lie. That I read.

MATT: {overlapping} That's right, that's a lie.

MIKE: I got to Chicago once and got really sick. Food poisoning at this place called La Trattoria. They had a raw egg on my pizza. Awful.

ELMAY: {laughing} I'm sorry.

MIKE: Yeah, it's okay. I was going up there to do a project on Frank Lloyd Wright, and my friend I went up there with and wound up having to do the whole project himself. So, that was pretty sweet. I didn't have to do any homework.

ELMAY: Yeah, but it's not fun to throw up and stuff.

MIKE: Well, no and I did that a lot.

ELMAY: Anyway, my very favorite email is the one with the children's book. Children's bük. I still laugh. I've watched it a million times and I still laugh. Everyone is on fire. I just... awwwww.

MIKE: That one was a really fun one to make.

MATT: We got to make both the children's book first, which was fun and hilarious enough just to make that by itself. Then having Strong Bad, you know, defile it...

ELMAY: Right.

MIKE: We just sort of made the children's book first, right?

MATT: Yeah, we didn't really have anything in mind.

MIKE: {overlapping} We hadn't really planned out what Strong Bad was going to do.

MATT: And then my eyes rolled back in my head and I turned into Strong Bad and I just unleash him.

ELMAY: Well, anyway, great job and I have a lot of your stuff. The only thing that I could wish I could see in your store is like— I've got the window clings, like little, different characters, and I've got your bumper stickers, but it would be good if you had stickers that were shaped and not bumper sticker shaped. Because I like stickers to put on my guitar case.

MIKE: Yeah...

MATT: {overlapping} We've talked about that recently.

MIKE: We used to have that many years ago, we had a set of stickers. That's something we should do.

MATT: Yeah.

ELMAY: Just a request.

MIKE: We'll do that. Guitar cases need stickers.

ELMAY: They do, they desperately need stickers.

MATT: That's the best two things— If you had said like, "Oh, my—" I don't know. Not to dis on people that play the violin...

MIKE: Cello case?

MATT: Yeah, you saying guitar case, that's so much cooler than like, my—

OBOECRAZY: My oboe case needs a sticker.

MIKE: Yeah, they don't need stickers at all. Oboe cases don't deserve stickers.

OBOECRAZY: No, they deserved to be burned.

MATT: In the punk rock orchestra, maybe. They didn't have punk rock orchestra at my school.

OBOECRAZY: But if they did, that would automatically make your school the most awesome school ever.

MATT: That's true.

JENGASHIP: It'd be like Rock 'n Roll High School.

MATT: Exactly.

OBOECRAZY: Absolutely.

ELMAY: With oboes.

OBOECRAZY: Which makes everything better, but only if they have stickers. Which they don't, which means they are made of fail.

{Mike and Matt laugh}

JENGASHIP: I was just looking around the site, and I realized a month ago, maybe two years ago almost that level 10 of Stinkoman 20X6 isn't up yet. I don't know what's going on. Is that a running gag?

MIKE: {overlapping} That's another thing— We talked about that today, I think. Was that today we were talking about that?

MATT: Yeah, yeah. 'Cause I talked to Jonathan. That's again because our game programmer dude moved out of Atlanta, he lived here for a little while. He moved away and level 9 was the last one we did. And he was just— he was doin' his— He doesn't charge us top dollar, you know, which is awesome, but at the same time, it kind of, I think, makes it a little harder for him to make time for the Homestar stuff when he gives us such a good deal. So, we wanna— We know exactly what's going to happen, we were just talking to him about how the end boss would work. It'd be huge, it'd very epic. It'd be a nice end to the Stinkoman game. So before Homestarrunner.com— Yeah, before it comes off the web, the whole website, we'll do Stinkoman level 10.

JENGASHIP: Well, good to know. I'd like to see Stinkoman get the same kind of closure to his character arc that Thy Dungeonman has had.

MIKE: {laughing} Yeah, exactly, there needs to be that. That was the thing, playing that recently, that game— we made that game really hard.

MATT: Yeah, I was discussing making an easy mode, or adding an easy mode, where we redo most of the levels and make them a lot easier, because I suck at it now. Like when we first, like when we were making it, I was really good at it—

MIKE: {overlapping} That was the problem because me and Jonathan were making it, so we were playing it all the time. We were the only ones who were really testing the levels. And so we could, you know, "oh yeah, that's pretty easy." But, yeah, going back now and playing it, it's pretty hard. It's freakin' hard!

JENGASHIP: I don't know, how many hours have I lost playing that. The actual Mega Man game wasn't this hard.

MIKE: That was one of the things we definitely wanted to make it be. We didn't want to make some little Flash game, we did purposely try to make it be, as far as difficulty, be somewhat close to a regular Nintendo game. We wanted it to be more Strider level, as opposed to Mega Man level. Strider, you could win in maybe thirty minutes.

JENGASHIP: But, yeah, a remember a couple—

MATT: {overlapping} Maybe we should just go— Oh, go ahead, sorry, go for it.

JENGASHIP: No, no, no. Go ahead, I'm sorry.

MATT: Oh, I was just going to say maybe we'll go back and add a few extra men here and there throughout the rest of the game.

MIKE: Yeah, I guess that would be an easy way of making it easy...

MATT: {overlapping} A mid-point, a middle save point for each level, or something, that make it a little...

MIKE: There should just be, like, 30 extra men on every level.

JENGASHIP: [...] A couple more callers in the room. Vicki Silverwhisper, you're on Late Nite JengaJam. How are you doing?

VICKI: Hey there.

JENGASHIP: You have a question for Matt and Mike?

VICKI: Um, yeah, kinda a silly question for the guys. Decent approval in the chatroom, so... Mike, brilliant question of the night is: If you had to kill off one of the main characters— it can't be a secondary character, it has to be one of the main characters— which character would you kill off and how would you do it?

MIKE: Hmmm, that's a good question.

MATT: Yeah, um....

MIKE: Let's see... well, there is the standpoint, we could kill somebody who is really hard to animate.

MATT: Yeah, that'd be an easy way to do it.

MIKE: Just lighten our workload a little bit.

MATT: Maybe Coach Z and Bubs finally, like their friendship turns sour and one of them kills the other one...

MIKE: {overlapping} Yeah, these characters that have legs and elbows, like jointed arms; that's a problem.

{Matt laughs}

VICKI: So that's the real reason that Homestar doesn't have any arms.

MIKE: Well, we just lucked into that. But, yeah. We love—

MATT: {overlapping} The reason we haven't added any arms to him.

MIKE: {laughs} Yeah. He's such a joy to animate. Yeah, I think Bubs even worse than Coach Z because he has a mouth. Coach Z, he can just bob his head around.

MATT: I've always thought it would be really, really tragic if Pom Pom or The Poopsmith died. I feel that the two silent characters, if one of them died, that'd be really sad. If I was going to do it, I think I'd do it more like, as opposed to being abrupt and stuff, I'd really want to— if were going to kill off a character, I'd want to make it legitimately be a tear jerker.

MIKE: {laughing} Yeah, that'd be real fun.

MATT: Make grown college kids and people in cubicles cry when Pom Pom dies.

MIKE: Yeah, Pom Pom, that would be a good one. That would be a good one, because Pom Pom, everybody like Pom Pom, everybody knows he's the coolest, but he's also the only one that hasn't gotten his due, you know? You see him, he's probably the least seen character, as far as the main characters go.

MATT: Yeah.

MIKE: Usually, I assume he's just off doing cool things, much cooler things. So it's almost like, "Man, he was always out there doing cool stuff and I really didn't get to see him that much. Man! Now he's dead."

JENGASHIP: That's a new T-shirt opportunity, too. You could always be, "Where were you when Pom Pom died?"

{All laugh}

MATT: It'll be the defining moment for some weird generation.

VICKI: You know, if a couple weeks from now, if Pom Pom turns up dead, I'm going to feel like a jerk.

MIKE: Yeah, really.

MATT: You killed Pom Pom.
OBOECRAZY: {simultaneously} Everybody is going to blame you.

JENGASHIP: Pull a Captain America, why don't you?

MATT: That's a good question, it's a hard question to answer.

JENGASHIP: Well done. We have JohnScarpino1974 in the room. How are you doing?

Email

JOHN1974: I'm doing pretty good. How about you guys?

MIKE: {overlapping} What's up, John?

JOHN1974: I've got a question for you guys. Somebody asked this in on the Red vs. Blue site, and I thought I'd steal it and make it my own. When you guys are picking an email— I'm sure you get tons of email for Strong Bad— What do you look for to know, "Hey, that's a good email, that one needs to be made fun of." Is it the name of the person emailing, is it the question, the lousy spelling and grammar, or what is it?

MIKE: It can be any or all or combinations. Usually like within the first five seconds of looking at an email, either it's deleted or you are thinking about something. Most of the time, it is deleted.

MATT: Yeah, it's sort of like, you read an email and a Strong Bad keeps talking in your head, like he starts to respond to the email in your head, then it's like, okay, and you sort of see where he goes with it. And if it starts to be funny, I mean, often times we'll pick an email because I'll be like, "Hey, what about this one, Mike?" and I read it and then think of the first thing, yeah, think of how Strong Bad makes fun of their name or what they said or how they spelled whatever. And then, we'll be like, "Ah! That's funny! That's a good enough joke!" and then we come up for something for the email. Yeah, sometimes, just the person not knowing how to spell something will get it in the door. But then at the same time, there's obvious ones where we can tell they're trying to misspell things on purpose, to try and get Strong Bad to make fun of it.

JOHN1974: Sure.

MATT: Those get deleted with extreme prejudice.

{Laughter}

MIKE: And then, the other way not to get it: sending it multiple times. Anytime I see an email that's been sent fifty times, or even six times, I just delete all six of them without even reading them. Like, you're cheating. You only get one chance.

MATT: But, um, yeah....

MIKE: It's usually really quick and you don't want to sit there and dwell on, read the email and, be like, "Okay, how would he respond to this."

MATT: You can't try too hard.

MIKE: Yeah. If it doesn't jump out in the first couple seconds, then you just keep moving on.

OBOECRAZY: We have some more questions in the room if we want to take some from people who are too cheap to call in.

JENGASHIP: Oh, sure, go ahead.

OBOECRAZY: Cheap. {laughs} We've got LACaboose in the room and he wants to know, he says, "So, the Trogdor comes in the night. Where did the inspiration come for the most amazing song and the wicked dueling guitar solos? Love, LACaboose."

MIKE: That was... We were making the Trogdor email and it was one where we were um, it was Monday evening, Monday late afternoon when we were finishing the cartoon up.

MATT: No, it was Monday morning, because I was making eggs.

MIKE: Oh, were you? Okay, I thought it was later in the day.

MATT: We stayed up all night, and it was... Tuesday morning, I don't know—

MIKE: {overlapping} It was Monday morning and Matt was apparently making eggs— I thought he was making a sandwich— but anyway, he started singing the Trogdor song just randomly. So we had no plans, we had done the whole email without the Trogdor song at the end, and Matt singing the Trogdor song in the apartment. And so then I was like, "Well, I guess we've got to make this song now."

MATT: Yeah, Mike was kinda pissed because we were about maybe ten minutes from being done with the cartoon the way it was. And then I started singing a song. And Mike goes, "Well, great, now we've got to animate this song and make this song."

MIKE: But I did get to do some funny shady drawings of Trogdor and the dragon man.

MATT: Yeah.

MIKE: A peasant on fire.

MATT: {overlapping} The dueling guitar solos came out of, when we made the CD, we wanted to up the ante, and do a big, big version of Trogdor. And so, um— who was that? Our friends Chris and Matt—

MIKE: {overlapping} Matt Sonnicksen.

MATT: Yeah, Matt Sonnicksen from Y-O-U, two friends of ours that are just amazing guitarists. And we sort of let them go at it. Squeedly versus meedly, the epic battle.

JENGASHIP: Yes. Wow.

OBOECRAZY: Did you say...?

JENGASHIP: {unintelligible} I've got a question from TK The Demon posting on our site. "You've guys have seem to inspired a lot of Flash artists since you were there right when it started to become popular. Do you guys agree with that, and how do you feel about it?"

MIKE: Um... I feel good.

MATT: Yeah, do I agree that we inspire people? I don't know, I hope so. That's be awesome if we did. And I think that's great. I would... Yeah.

MIKE: I'm honored if someone is inspired to do...
MATT: {simultaneously} Yeah, exactly, it's really cool. If anybody considers us to be any sort of inspiration, in terms of cartooning or whatever, go for it, that's really cool.

JENGASHIP: TK, thank you for your question. Oboe, we got anything else in the room?

OBOECRAZY: Umm... sorry, I'm scrolling through right now. I'm still looking, give me a second.

JENGASHIP: That's okay. Let me know what you got. I've got a few more.
OBOECRAZY: {simultaneously} I've got a question.

JENGASHIP: I've got a few— go ahead with that.

OBOECRAZY: I was just going to ask if— Did you guys get notified by Joss Whedon before they mentioned Trogdor the Burninator on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode? Or was that a complete surprise?

MIKE: {overlapping} Yeah... Yes we did, right?

MATT: No, no, no, we totally didn't. That was the one where it was like, after the fact we got an email from somebody who worked on the show that was like, "Please don't say anything. We totally let this slip through our legal people," and whatever. Because we didn't find out until— because it aired the night before. Didn't it air a day early in Canada? I think so because I remember hearing from people early.

MIKE: {overlapping} I knew that we heard about it before it aired here.

He bought a shirt, you know

MATT: Right. I think it was because a Canadian fan sent, or like, had seen it. And emailed us. It was like, "Hey, you guys are in this episode." So after the fact, we found out that— they were kind of like, "Just don't say anything. Just put it in." So nobody said anything. But we would've said yes. Later on, when they put on— They did ask permission to put a Strong Bad t-shirt on a character in the finale of Angel? So we're in both finales, which is pretty cool.

JENGASHIP: Wow.

MATT: Plus, we saw that picture, a press photo of Joss Whedon wearing a Strong Bad shirt. So, we figured the dude supported the website. Bought a shirt, you know. I guess we'll let him use Trogdor in a game of D 'n D with his characters.

JENGASHIP: That brings up an interesting question. Regarding your celebrity or lack thereof. Yeah, you guys, for the most part, I've noticed, other than when you're playing with Larry and everyone from Limozeen, we don't get to see your faces unless you buy the DVDs, for the most part. Although, you're around. How much has your life changed, as far as being recognized? Like, have you— Being internet celebrities, and everything, has it translated into your real life?

MIKE: There was one— You got recognized one time, or a couple times in restaurants, right, Matt?

MATT: Nah, you just had that one time.

MIKE: I thought there was somebody— Yeah, there was one time when I went into a restaurant and, uh, yeah, they recognized me and they carded me when I ordered a drink. And she was like, "Yeah, the only reason I carded you is I just wanted to make sure it was you." And then they gave us a bunch of free drinks and stuff.

JENGASHIP: Nice.

MIKE: That was— It was really weird, 'cause, like you said, they would've basically had to have seen the DVDs or something, and even those, it's not like we're all over them. I guess there's one DVD where we do little intros to a couple of the cartoons. So that's pretty cool, but other than that, it's...

MATT: Not an issue.

MIKE: Yeah. Yeah, it's a non-issue.

MATT: If I walked around, talking like Strong Bad all the time, maybe a little bit.

MIKE: One time, when I went to Starbucks and I wore— Usually when I wear our shirts, they're maybe the more obscure shirts, but I was wearing a Homestar hoodie. And the girl that was working at Starbucks was like "Oh, Homestar Runner! Yeah, I heard that wasn't good anymore." She was like, "I heard that wasn't funny anymore." {all laugh}

MATT: Oooo...

MIKE: No, it's still funny...

JENGASHIP: Wow.

MIKE: It was nice, a friend was with me, "Ouch" "Yeah, well..." What are you going to do? It wasn't that she thought it wasn't funny anymore, she just heard that it wasn't funny anymore, so that's a little bit better.

MATT: Rumors are going about that it wasn't funny.
JENGASHIP: {simultaneously} Second hand knowledge.

JENGASHIP: But it brings up something interesting. I remember Mike and Puppet Homestar have had a lot of screen time together, actually.

MATT: They make a good team. Mike makes a good straight man.

MIKE: We haven't done that, the Homestar Puppet, it's been...

MATT: It's been a year. Over a year.

MIKE: Been like a year, yeah. We should do— We used to do, um, for a while there we'd go to colleges and do little lectures or whatever. I dunno what we did, but they'd have us come out. So when we did that, we'd always bring the Homestar puppet. The puppet and I would usually have adventures around campus or whatever the day before we gave our little talk. Or "say", we did a "say".

MATT: Yeah.

JENGASHIP: I gotta say, it's brilliant having the puppet and everything. It's a sorta three dimensional version of the Homestar Runner, Strong Bad and The Cheat where, you're bringing them into our world. Where did that idea come from?

MIKE: That was— We really early on, if we ever thought about TV shows, which we didn't for very long, but whenever we did, we wanted it to be a variety show, where there was big costumed characters, kind of like Banana Splits, or something like that, and cartoons and old timey stuff which is kind of this mish-mash of all the history of Homestar Runner. Creating this fake history, really. So, we've always sort of wanted to do that. We just happened to have a friend that makes amazing puppets. So, it was easy to get him to make one. And he did a great job. Matt?

MATT: I agree with everything he said. {laughs}

MIKE: Yeah, really, it was one of those things where, like most of the stuff we do— having the toys made, working with the band Y-O-U for the CD— it's stuff that falls into our laps if we know somebody, if this is an opportunity, it just kinda happens. We probably wouldn't have sought out somebody to make the puppet if we didn't happen to know someone who makes really great puppets. It worked out well. We've actually got two puppets. We've got a Marshie puppet that has been never seen on the site and a Doreauxgard puppet which is a very obscure character: a cantaloupe that Strong Bad made by shoving a pencil into the cantaloupe and drawing a little face on it. It's only been on the site once and— I guess it wasn't an Easter egg, but anyway. So, we've got a puppet made of that. We've never used that.

MATT: Yeah, we should use that.

MIKE: We always thought we'd do the Homestar Runner and Doreauxgard show.

JENGASHIP: That's right.

MIKE: With the puppets. And we never have.

MATT: Monday's update. I smell Monday's update.

MIKE: {laughs} Because the Doreauxgard puppet is actually really amazing.

MATT: Yeah, the puppet is really good. The mouth actually opens and they molded the cast of an actual cantaloupe. So, he's got a nice texture. And then in order to hide the little mechanism to open his mouth, he's got this— You know how when you open a cantaloupe there's those vines, kinda like in a pumpkin? And so those little things hang down.

MIKE: All the goop in the middle.

MATT: Yeah. Those hang down to disguise his little trigger mechanism. A pretty awesome puppet.

JENGASHIP: Wow. Doreauxgard puppet. I mean, that's— That is something else.

MATT: It's great too, because it's been three years since we made the email with Doreauxgard in it, so there's no way anyone would know —

MIKE: {overlapping} Yeah, somebody was around back then.
MATT: — Even if they've been around for a while, they'd be like "What the hell is that?"

MIKE: {laughing} Yeah.

MATT: Cantaloupe man.

JENGASHIP: Next, Senor Cardgage?

MATT: Oo. Senor Cardgage. I feel like we need to find a really creepy dude and not do a puppet and do like a guy with a big beer gut— Just make a mask for him, just the head. Find a dude to dress up like— Did you ever— There was this show on Cartoon Network for a while called Cartoon Planet and they had this dumpy Space Ghost guy, like this real person in a dumpy Space Ghost outfit that would walk around and that was always really creepy. And I feel like that's what Senor Cardgage should be.

JENGASHIP: And yet Strong Bad is compelled by Senor Cardgage.

MATT: Yeah, he loves him. For some reason, he can't see, can't see that he's a really shady dude that you probably don't want to hand around. Strong Bad just sees something magical in him.

JENGASHIP: Dateline exclusive waiting to happen.

MATT: Pardon?

JENGASHIP: It's a Dateline exclusive waiting to happen.

MATT: Yeah, exactly. I feel like I read somewhere a fan, or maybe it was just a Strong Bad email that someone sent in, where they were debating, thinking that's why he likes him so much: perhaps Senor Cardgage is actually Strong Bad's dad. So he's not a figment of Strong Bad's imagination. He's real and he's Strong Bad's estranged father.

MIKE: Yeah, I guess he's real at this point.

JENGASHIP: Yeah.

MIKE: For a while there, it just— wasn't really, sort of...

MATT: Established.

MIKE: Figure out, established, yeah, whether or not he was a real character in the world. But I guess he's interacted with people other than Strong Bad, right?

MATT: Yeah, he appeared at that garage sale, but then you never know— You never really know if Strong Bad emails are just Strong Bad saying stuff and just making it all up in his head—

MIKE: Right.

MATT: —or if it's really happening. Which is, again, in terms of continuity, a really nice thing to have. You can just be like, "Oh, that didn't happen, that was just Strong Bad talking about what would happen if that was like that so that didn't really happen."

MIKE: Right.

MATT: So, it can get nice and confusing. Which is always great.

JENGASHIP: Yeah, there is a certain ambiguity as to what's real and when something starts out as being created in Strong Bad's head and turns out to be real, like Sweet Cuppin' Cakes, like that, I guess.

MIKE: Right.

MATT: There are several times when Strong Bad has imaged Strong Sad being dead, so clearly that was in his imagination. But other times when he just punches him, that was probably real.

{Laughter}

MATT: That's something I want to do with killing Pom Pom. We'll just be like, "Well, I don't know, it was in a Strong Bad email, maybe that happened. Maybe it didn't."

JENGASHIP: There's one person I'm waiting to hear from, but I'm kinda afraid to summon him because I afraid of him. And I'm afraid now because I'm afraid of him, he's going to make fun of me even more.

MIKE: Why are you afraid of him?

JENGASHIP: What's that?

MIKE: Why are you afraid of him?

JENGASHIP: I dunno. He's intimidating when he answers his email a lot. Not that afraid, I guess. I would be remiss— I guess I could ask him some very cheesy and give him something to riff off me for, like I'd love to hear Strong Bad say, "This is Strong Bad and you're listening to Late Nite JengaJam." Something ridiculous like that. I can imagine his outrage of his feet. Yeah, I'm proud of it. Strong Bad, talk to me, buddy.

STRONG BAD: Yeah, it depends on how much cash you got on you, man. If you got like, five g's, maybe I'll do a drop your show. But unless you got some cold hard cash, man, you're not going to get anything out of me.

{Laughter}

JENGASHIP: I can only pay now in electronics.

STRONG BAD: Look, I don't even— I don't even listen to Jefferson Starship anymore, man. I love that "We Built That City With Rocky Road" song, though. That thing is awesome.

{More laughter}

JENGASHIP: Wow. That was amazing. Before I let you guys go, I gotta ask you, who— there's a debate going on, like, the place is called homestarrunner.com and Homestar is essentially the star, but Strong Bad sort of stole the spotlight from him. But then you tried to do some things to try and get Homestar's spotlight back, with the Puppet Stuff originally only Homestar. So, who do you think is in the lead right now?

MIKE: Who's in the lead?

MATT: Uh, I don't know. With 180 emails, I feel like Strong Bad might still have the edge. But Homestar— The best part is that Homestar has no idea that he's not winning the race. So it's okay. He still thinks everything is hunky-dory and it's his website and he's the most popular guy in the world.

MIKE: He'll figure out a way to win. Pom Pom will make him win. Pom Pom will die and Homestar will go into the lead.

MATT: That's it. Pom Pom sacrifices his life to make it, to take back homestarrunner.com for Homestar.

JENGASHIP: Brilliant.

OBOECRAZY: It's not funny.

{Laughter}

JENGASHIP: Oh, man.

MIKE: Don't you think Homestar would probably be accidentally killing Pom Pom in the first place? Is that how Pom Pom dies?

MATT: That's even sadder.

JENGASHIP: I hate to give that out, but how do you think Homestar would react to that? Can we get a clip?

MATT: I don't even know if he'd know what had happened. He'd be like:

HOMESTAR RUNNER: Pom Pom! That bullet! I told you that bullet was going to come out of that gun. It would squish right through you and then it would go into something else. But now you're like— you're dead and it's not my fault. I'm gonna go get that golbol that you stole from me.

{Laughter}

JENGASHIP: This is something I've been thinking about a long time. Homestar is ostensibly one of those great protagonists in fiction like Homer Simpson/Michael Scott character. One of those guys who's well meaning, and supposedly has a heart of gold, but can act selfishly and be self-centered and be incredibly dumb. And it has almost become the image of America.

MATT: {laughing} Yeah, sadly. We always thought of him sort of as the, you know, captain of the football team, but the clueless jock guy. Not the— He's really popular, but he kinda doesn't really know what's going on. And by virtue of that, he can be a total jerk to you. And so he's the most popular guy, so occasionally it's like:

HOMESTAR: Hey, um, I'm gonna shove you under the desk right now, because there's cute girls walking by. So, hang on a second.

MATT: And then he crams the kid under the desk. That's how I— Homestar might not even be that aloof, honestly.

MIKE: That doesn't even really seem— What characters do like Homestar?

MATT: {laughs} Yeah, everybody kinda rolls their eyes at him.

MIKE: Nobody really seeks him out. You know, it doesn't seem like— Coach Z, Coach Z seems like he's trying to hang out with Bubs.

JENGASHIP: "Everybody likes the Homestar Runner. He's a terrific athlete."

MATT: That's right! There's your answer.

MIKE: I guess that's true. I forgot about that.

JENGASHIP: But, yeah. Wow, Mike it's been, well past an hour, actually, Mike and Matt Chapman, thank you guys so much for doing Late Nite JengaJam.

MIKE: Well, thanks for having us.
MATT: {simultaneously} Thanks for having us on.

JENGASHIP: Great job.

MIKE: Is an hour over, really?

JENGASHIP: It's actually 71 minutes as we speak.

MIKE: Huh.

MATT: Well, let's get out here!

MIKE: Yeah, man.

JENGASHIP: Well, take care guys.

MIKE: Thanks a lot.

JENGASHIP: Yeah, no problem. Hang on for a little bit, I'm gonna wrap up the recording. [...] So until next week, this has been JG Edathil, and this has been episode number 45 of Late Nite JengaJam, "The Brothers Chaps What Made The Homestar Runner". The show is copyright 2006-7, JG Etathil, all right reserved. I'm reminding you help control pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered. Thank you and goodnight.

STRONG BAD: Bye!

Fun Facts

  • The episode of The Simpsons that Matt was quoting was "Homer Badman".
  • Cartoon Planet was a cartoon show that debuted on TBS in 1995 and moved to Cartoon Network from 1996 to 1999, as a spinoff of Space Ghost Coast To Coast, which in turn was a parody of 1960s Hanna-Barbera action series Space Ghost. Co-producer (and voice of Brak) Andy Merrill would dress up as Space Ghost during the intro to Cartoon Planet and for promo spots for both shows.
  • Jefferson Starship is a rock band from San Francisco that first made it big in the 1960s as Jefferson Airplane. In the 1970s, they changed their name to Jefferson Starship and then in the 1980s simply became Starship. As Starship, they had a hit in 1985 with "We Built This City", a song notorious for its open pandering to different radio markets and voted one of the worst songs ever by VH-1 and Blender magazine.
  • A "drop" is slang for a short sound clip, such as a sound effect or a station identification bumper.
  • Michael Scott is the well-meaning but awkward and hapless regional manager in the American sitcom The Office.
  • The Marshie puppet would first appear on the site in Marshie vs. Little Girl. The Doreauxgard puppet would finally appear on the website on Main Page 25.
  • MivaScript is a server-side scripting language.
  • "...help control pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered" is the line that Bob Barker and Drew Carey use in closing The Price Is Right.
  • Pom Pom does die (temporarily) in I Killed Pom Pom.
  • The 10th level of Stinkoman 20X6 would eventually be released on December 20th, 2020, mere days before Flash support would be officially discontinued for most browsers.

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