Kevin:  Yeah.  OK.  I’m gonna put you on the spot a little bit
here.  I’m gonna run through the characters and talk a little bit
about them, and I might ask for one little sample.  Is that do-
able?

Matt:  All right!

Kevin:  You can do that?

Matt:  Yeah.  I have a sore throat, so if a voice sounds half-
assed, don’t hold it against me.

Kevin:  OK.  Well I’ll tell everybody who’s listening, we’re
talking about www.homestarrunner.com, and the main character
Homestar Runner – do you want to give us an example?

Matt (as Homestar Runner): Oh, hello!  Where are we at –  Winnipeg?

Kevin:  This is Winnipeg, yes.

Matt (as Homestar Runner):  Hello Winnipeg.  This is Homestar
Runner.  Um, you guys have a funny name for your town.

Kevin:  We do, yes.  It means “muddy water,” apparently.

Matt (as Homestar Runner):  That’s gross.

Kevin:  I know.

Matt (as Homestar Runner):  You gotta get that out of the bathtub.

Kevin: (laughs) Oh, God.  This is the reason I didn’t want to talk
to the characters – ‘cause I’d find myself cracking up and not
knowing what to say.

Matt:  (laughs)

Kevin:  But it all sort of begins and ends with Homestar Runner as
far as I’m concerned.  He’s obviously not the sharpest tack in the
box.

Matt:  Yes.

Kevin:  And he’s more than a little bit naïve.  But that is the
appeal of him, isn’t it?

Matt:  Yes.

Kevin:  So what are your thoughts on Homestar Runner, and how has he changed since the whole thing began?

Matt:  Um, he’s definitely gotten a little dumber.  Which has made
him more endearing, I think.  He started off a little more like,
kind of, the head of the football team.  That’s how we kind of
originally envisioned him, you know.  And then just through that
we sort of were like, “Well, you know, what’s funnier about him is
that, like, he is just so nice that it makes him oblivious to
everything else.”

Kevin:  And how can you not like somebody like that.

Matt:  Yeah, exactly.  And I went to school with a guy that was
like that, where even when he was so annoying and you just want to
punch him in the face and get him out and, you know, never hear his
voice again, but he’s just like, he’s so well-meaning and nice, and
kind, and you can’t ever hold anything against him.

Kevin:  And the beauty of that is that tends to make Strong Bad
even more angry at him.

Matt:  Right!  Exactly.  Well see, it also came to that through
kind of, like, developing Strong Bad more and kind of getting into
his character more, it made Homestar such a better foil for him.

Kevin:  Oh yeah.  They play off each other beautifully.  So where
does the name Homestar Runner come from?

Matt:  It actually comes from a friend of ours.  There was an old
local grocery store commercial, and we live in Atlanta, and it
advertised the Atlanta Braves.  It was like, “the Atlanta Braves
hit home runs, and you can hit a home run with savings here!”  And
so there was this player named Mark Lemke, and they said something like “All star second baseman for the Braves.”  And our friend knows nothing about sports, and so he would always do his old timey radio impression of this guy, and not knowing any positions in baseball or whatever, he’d just be like, “Homestar Runner for the Braves.”   And we were just like, “Homestar Runner?  That’s the best thing we’ve ever heard!”

Kevin:  Yeah!  And you actually made him a runner in the early
days, right?  He was such an athlete.

Matt:  Yeah, that was also one of the things that’s kind of
changed.  I mean, we still occasionally go back to that sort of
thing, but originally, before we really knew, kind of, what we were
doing, every episode was gonna be a contest or a sports event of
some kind…

Kevin:  He’s damn athletic for a guy with no arms.

Matt:  Yeah, exactly.  He makes up for it.

Kevin:  I guess now we’ll come to Strong Bad.  Let’s have a sample
of Strong Bad.

Matt (as Strong Bad): Hello there Winnipeg.  I got you guys pegged
as not as cool as me.

Kevin:  Nobody’s as cool as Strong Bad.

Matt (as Strong Bad):  That’s right.

Kevin: (laughs) OK, now Strong Bad has sort of become the highlight of the whole thing because of his weekly emails, right?

Matt:  Right.  To our chagrin for Homestar.

Kevin:  Was he originally conceived as the obvious villain?

Matt:  Oh yeah. Definitely.  We just figured, we had to make a bad
guy, so I mean, obviously the embodiment of evil is the masked wrestlers from our childhood, and so we had to make him a masked wrestler.  He’s more of a masked wrestling creature.  It’s not like he’s actually got a face under that mask, that’s basically his
head.

Kevin:  And he’s a little bit – inept, too, isn’t he?

Matt:  Yeah, well that’s his whole point, exactly.  He talks an
enormous game and doesn’t have a whole lot to back it up.

Kevin:  And he’s a stickler for correct grammar and spelling, too,
interestingly.   Is that something that bugs you guys personally, or
is it more just an excuse to get Strong Bad to be abusive?

Matt:  No, whatever, I’m sure my emails have just as many mistakes.  It is one of those things we look at as, you know, it’s just going to be funny watching how the internet changes to where, like,
grammar, or at least correspondence between people is just going to become like where there’s no standards (laughs) – you can just
write crap and it just doesn’t make sense and it’s all slang and
whatever.  But – yeah, we thought it would just be a funny thing
for, like, this big bad evil guy that thinks he’s so bad, like, to
be a real stickler for grammar.  He’s also got an affinity for
baking, so we thought that would be kind of funny.

Kevin:  Yeah.  (laughs)  I was struck by something that Mike said
in an interview I read once, he said something about how you could
have Homestar Runner and Strong Bad having a conversation about
absolutely nothing and it would still be funny, and I think he’s
right!

Matt:   (laughs)

Kevin:  You know, just based on their personalities.   You know,
just the way one grates on the other.

Matt:  Right.

Kevin:  Now we come to Strong Mad.  I don’t know if you can imitate
him!

Matt:  Oh, sure I can!

Kevin:  OK, sure.  Go ahead.

Matt (as Strong Mad):  Hey!  Get off the phone!

Kevin:  (laughs) Not one of your more difficult voices to do, in
other words.

Matt:  No, he’s pretty easy.  We originally messed around with
slowing my voice down, but then I was just able to get somehow into
that deeper register.

Kevin:  OK, now here you have a character, who kind of takes every
aspect of the violence that is supposedly such a concern in kids’
cartoons these days, and multiplies it by, like, ten.

Matt:   (laughs)

Kevin:  He’s pure blind aggression, isn’t he?   That’s the whole
reason he exists, isn’t it?

Matt:  Well, right, but then the way I always liken him is, he’s
like, in the original Frankenstein movie, he’s like Frankenstein –
except, you know, there’s that scene where he goes up to that
little girl, and she’s throwing the flowers into the lake- she’s
throwing this really pretty thing into the lake, and so
Frankenstein’s kind of confused, and he’s like, “Oh, we throw
pretty things in the lake, right?” So he picks up the little girl
and chucks her in the lake, you know.  And everybody thinks he’s
trying to murder this girl.  That’s kind of Strong Mad, you know,
he’s kind of like – he’s got this ridiculous brute strength, but
usually the aggression part of it comes more from Strong Bad
telling him what to do.  And then, obviously, you can see that
Strong Bad, Strong Mad and The Cheat are best buds and they kind of sometimes find solace in each other when Strong Bad is just that
much of a jerk.

Kevin:  Yeah, and Strong Mad does have that soft side – sometimes
you’ll see him shedding a tear over The Cheat…

Matt:  Yes, exactly.  That’s his little friend.  They’re like
Blaster and Master in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Kevin:  And, I guess, the third of the Strong Brothers, Strong Sad
– all right, let’s hear Strong Sad.

Matt (as Strong Sad):  Uh, I don’t really listen to the radio so much anymore, because the DJs are always really depressing, and there’s a lot of dead air, and it sounds like they don’t know what they’re doing.

Kevin:   (laughs)

Matt (as Strong Sad):  I play DJ in my own room by myself - in the
dark.

Kevin:  With lots of Cure, I imagine.

Matt (as Strong Sad):  Oh, yeah, a lot of Cure, a lot of Bauhaus…

Kevin:  (laughs)  There’s a touch of tragedy to Strong Sad.  He
kind of reminds me of Charlie Brown because I always thought the
creator of Charlie Brown went a bit overboard in making him the
perennial loser.

Matt:  Oh, yeah!  Especially in the feature film they did, A Boy
Named Charlie Brown, I mean, there’s just some rough, rough
moments, where you’re just, like, MAN!

Kevin:  Yeah.  It’s too much, almost.

Matt:  But, it’s like, that’s about as accurate as it gets to how
mean… I mean, my favourite kind of thing to liken it to is my
friend Neil, when he was in kindergarten…it was the last day of
school, and the teacher is going around saying, “OK, now who’s
going to be back next year?” And each kid would raise their hand,
and the class would go “Yaaaaay!” And Neil raised his hand, and he
actually ended up not coming back to the same school the next year,
but he thought he was, so she’s like, “Neil, are you coming back?”
and Neil raised his hand, and he was the only one, and the class
just goes like, “Booooooo!”  And at that point, he didn’t even
know that he was all that unpopular until that moment, so anyways,
that’s definitely some of the inspiration for Strong Sad, is moments
like that in childhood where it’s just, like, “Oh my God, that’s the
meanest thing I’ve ever heard!”

Kevin(laughs) And Charles Schulz – I thought he was a bit of a
sadist for a while.

Matt(laughs) Yeah, for real!

[ PAGE SIX OF THE HOMESTAR RUNNER INTERVIEW ... ]