|Interview of BJ Hiorns and Joey Hetzel- Part 2
Compiled by Hbomb on April 30, 2003
to the busy schedules of Mr. Hiorns and Ms. Hetzel, the remaining questions
were asked via e-mail:
Joey on the creative process:
I don't really think about it any more; it's more
intuitive at this point, but I'll give it a whirl...A big part of my creative
process is watching real life lame people at work, or least people doing lame
things. I get sparks of ideas from doing just about everything,
especially when me and BJ just sit around at a bar, coffee shop, or restaurant
and get wired on coffee. Denny's is a great brainstorming spot, BTW.
It's actually a lot easier to think of jokes and stories with a character
based strip (which is what mine has sort of evolved into since Liza).
You think of any situation, then just let the characters bounce off each
other, figuratively speaking. Music is a giant help for spring boarding
ideas, too. I have a bunch of different mix discs depending on who I'm
Ideas for storylines work one of two different ways: I either get an
idea for about a weeks' worth of strips, and end up coming up with new ideas
as I go along, building it into a story (like the Liza intro), or stewing and
editing a group of related jokes constantly until they hang together (the Zema
story). I have a laptop, too, and have big documents of one-off gags, as
well as scripts in progress. So, in short, my creative process involves
playing 52 pickup with my laptop documents, getting hopped on coffee,
listening to music, and getting hopped on coffee. My characters have
become these weird sort of imaginary friends, so they do most of the work.
No, I don't talk to Darron about Jem when BJ's gone. Hope that answers
1. Who's better at Pictionary: Joey or BJ?
BJ: Both of us. Seriously, we make an unbeatable team. The
two of us work together on layouts and rough designs all the time, so we
developed this strange ability to figure out each other's shorthand. It
also helps that we have a large library of in-jokes that we can reference as
we draw (yeah, it's cheating, so what).
Joey: We're usually mercenary Pictionary players. We play on the
same team against everyone else who draws a dog, no matter what the answer is.
2. Does Cher have a restraining order against Joey?
Joey: I mentioned once how if I went to a Cher concert she'd personally
kick me out. I think Cher would learn to respect me, though, cuz I'm
probably the only person besides her who has "Dark Lady" memorized.
I'd like to see her in concert someday, just to say that I was allowed to.
BJ: Yes. I don't know what Joey answered, but if she said no,
she's lying. A regular Tonja Steele reader, Cher was deeply offended by
the Botox joke and attempted to pressure Joey with threats of legal action,
but Joey stuck to her guns, and the joke remains in the TS archives. On
a happy note, though, Joey got an email from her--seems on further reflection,
she thought it was kind of clever.
3. Is "the pig" purely fictional, or is there something
BJ's not telling us?
Joey: My friend Becky used to have a guinea pig, and it was evil
indeed. I'm sure BJ will fill you in on the rest, since Pig is his
character. That's right! Not mine, AAAAALLLL his.
BJ: Oh, if only the Pig was purely fictional. He's based entirely
on my friend Becky's guinea pig, which inabited our house for a few years
before a liver infection got him. Now that he's free from his physical
body, he takes evil random glee in inflicting petty torture on me and Joey in
the form of rain when we have picnic plans, leaky roofs, cancelled Bruce
Springsteen concerts, broken pencil lead, dropped items, foiled plans and,
most recently, massive car trouble.
He's evil, and I hate him.
4. Have either of you been to a Dead Man's Party, and did you
leave your body at the door while there?
Joey: I've never been to a Dead Man's Party, but I party all the time
with Eddie Murphy. But, if I did go to a Dead Man's Party, would I be a
Living Dead Girl?
BJ: We did attend one as a favor for a friend (she didn't want to go
alone). It was actually quite well organized--they had a body-check system.
You go in, check you body, and they implant a memory on your mind (usually
something small, like enjoying a certain ice cream) that you can then relate
to them when you leave and get your body back. It was pretty cool. The music
Of course, my body was kinda' stretchy at the end of the night. I got
the feeling someone might've been joyriding while I was at the party.
And I now really like Blue Moon ice cream.
5. Essay Question: "Root beer" is neither a root nor a
Joey: Ummmm....I'll take detention please.
BJ: Root Beer is actually the original "beer", from which all
beer has been derived. Therefore, it is the root of all beer.
6. Who was a Scamp, a Tramp, and a bit of a Vamp?
BJ: Why? What have you heard about me? Lies, all of it.
Joey: It's either Cher, or Rush Limbaugh. I can never remember.
7. Has Tonja ever had the urge to tell people to "respect my
Joey: Only if she learned how to drive a big wheel and have the Shaft
theme play when she enters a room. We might have another ass tractor
incident on our hands if she gets on a big wheel, though...
BJ: Yes, but she refrains from such things, preferring instead a swift
kidney punch. If she can bring someone down, they're more likely to
stick around and listen to her talk at length about how cool she is.
8. When the pig finally takes over the world, will we loyal
readers be the first or last to have our souls eaten?
BJ: Yes. He'll eat them twice.
Joey: Pig's already taken over the world. He keeps saying stuff
like "There ought to be limits to freedom" "God-lovin'
people" and his favorite word: "Evil!" Oh, fine.
I'll stop with the heavy crap. If Pig (the JF one, not the Texas one)
took over the world, he'd probably forget that he took it over as soon as he
took it over, so we'd never even notice. Pig in 2004!
9. A bus leaves Stephens Point, WI at 8am heading for Oshkosh, WI
at 50 mph. Another bus leaves Oshkosh at 8:30 bound for Stephens Point at
55mph. How long before Mindy gets in trouble for leaving a wetbag on Miss
Joey: Depends on the amount of sleep Miss M has had. Divide
minutes of sleep by 12.6 + pi - the diameter of Darron's buttocks divided by
the cups of tea Miss M had before the Wet Bag appeared. Probably about
BJ: Keep in mind that Miss M is a teacher, and therefore psychic.
She would know before Mindy did what Mindy was up to. So guess who would
be on the Oshkosh-bound bus before she even knew what was going on?
That's right: JoBeth. She NEVER knows what's going on.
Zodo asks: Given the current geopolitical state, and the numerous
hotspots around the world which may erupt at any time, to put the world once
again in a state of global conflict, do you really think legwarmers have a
chance of coming back?
Joey: Will legwarmers come back? If Mr. T can make it on
1800COLLECT commercials, and Debbie Gibson can be Rizzo AND Sandra Dee, I
believe in the power of legwarmers. Neon green ones. I'd pay to
see Saddam or GW bein' a steel town girl on a Saturday night, too, on the
world angle of it.
BJ: Yes, and John Ashcroft will be wearing them. Neon green
legwarmers. And none of us will be allowed to laugh at him.
And finally, I ask the tough questions.
Is either Emma or Zack related to the Joke Baby?
BJ: I'd have to defer to Joey on this one. I'd say no, because
the Joke Baby, by its nature, is funny. Neither Emma nor Zack are funny,
they're just annoying.
Joey: No. Emma'd be related to Kenny from South Park, if
anything. Zack just came about after I saw one too many tricked out two
cylinder cars driven by teenage boys. So, whenever me and BJ see those
cars now, we just call them "Zacks", laugh and point, and be on our
way. Emma's based on a whiny unlikable person in my life. An
psychic punching bag, if you will.
Who's more evil: Pig, Catball, or Warren Sapp?
BJ: Well, all three have their failings. The Pig is too stupid to
plan anything and too brain-splattered to keep track of what he's doing. The
Catball has no feet, so it's not very mobile. And Sapp (also not that
mobile) had his heyday in '99-'00, and is not likely to regain that edge.
None of them are washed up just yet, though, so the potential for evil is
still pretty good.
Now. Imagine if all three of them got together! Sure, the Clown
Girl would kill them all, but for a brief few minutes, there would be some
amazing, concentrated evil in the world, one drop of which could turn us all
into hermit crabs.
Joey: I already have plans for ol' Warren in a future story, so I
almost pity him because he will be outdone by a bigger evil soon enough (bwaha!).
I'd say Pig, just cuz he's shrill, stupid, steals souls, and eats his food
three times before he's really through with it.
If you did a JF or TS spinoff strip, which character(s) would you
Joey: I actually have had so much fun drawing the current bit with
Mindy at school that I'm brewing up a spinoff called "Coleman
Elementary." I don't have a launch date for it, but it'll probably
end up with Liza in the lead role, along with Mindy.
BJ: Pig seems to be a favorite, but an entire strip about him would
wear thin. I'd have to say the Bitchin' Kitchen would be a fun one.
Or a strip featuring Melissa and Brandy growing up in the mid 70s, when her
medical problems cropped up. Yeah, I'd do that.
When is Brandy going to dump Chet and hook up with Shannon?
Joey: It's Jackie's Fridge! As my little cousin says, "Nevvah!"
No happy couples for you.
BJ: She's gonna have to want to ditch the creep. A situation like
hers is complicated--it's easy for someone outside the relationship to see it
all and tell her what's going on. But she's part of the problem and has
to make the move herself. And that can take a long time. What she
has going for her is her strong will and cynicism. And Melissa, of
course, as a source of outside strength and motivation. But there
are many many strong women in Chet/Brandy relationships who will likely never
get out, because it's not that easy when it's your relationship.
The short answer: not anytime soon. And that's assuming Shannon would be
interested in her--she's not quite as sweet as Melissa.
Will the Bucs repeat?
BJ: BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHA!! *snort* Mmmm....sorry. What was the
Joey: If they play the Raiders again, yes. "Hey! I
know! Let's run the exact same plays we used to run when Gruden was our
coach!" DUMB. The way the salary caps and all that go,
though, I doubt it. You can't really build a super awesome football team
anymore. Like, say, the 72 Dolphins the only undefeated team EVER in NFL
history. Go Dolphins!
And finally, who is The Mole? ;)
Joey: Enrique Iglesias.
BJ: Who cares? I like my entertainment to have a little thought
and creativity behind it. You know, like scripting (or improv talent) for
starters... I'm eagerly waiting for the reality TV craze to implode so
we can all get some halfway decent programming. Not that we ever did