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SCIFI.CON 2.0 Chat with Mary Jo Pehl

*** Topic for #auditorium: SCIFI.CON 2.0 continues with Mary Jo Pehl, MST3K, 12pm EST

*** Mode change "+m" on #auditorium by Moderator

Moderator: Hi everyone. We're moderated now.
Moderator: To ask a question to Mary Jo, type "/msg Moderator" followed by your question.

*** Mode change "+v MaryJoPehl" on #auditorium by Moderator

MaryJoPehl: Hi everyone

Moderator: Great. We're ready to begin.
Moderator: We hear that season 8 just wrapped. How does it feel?

MaryJoPehl: We look back at the first shows we did this season like the Revenge of the Creature and we all feel like that was years ago
MaryJoPehl: It feels great! We're excited about season 9!

Moderator: <Sampo> to <Moderator>: Hi, Mary Jo! I hear that BBI begins work on Season Nine shortly! Do you know the title of the movie for episode 901?

MaryJoPehl: No we don't. We get the movies minutes before we even start them. I know we've got some that we've selected, but we never know which ones we're going to get and in which order

Moderator: <Zarquon> to <Moderator>: MST3K has evolved from a cult show to a more main stream thing, what are your feelings about this

MaryJoPehl: I actually think it's great. I think the writing has improved, I think the show itself has improved. If one of the by-products of that is that we're getting a wider audience, I think that's ok.

Moderator: <invincor> to <Moderator>: with the season ending on Halloween, what sort of weird cast/Halloween party followed on Friday night?

MaryJoPehl: It was on Saturday night (last night). There were a lot of wild costumes. A guy came wearing chaps with no pants. I thought his butt was plastic, so I touched it, but it wasn't plastic...
MaryJoPehl: He was sitting on our couch, and we weren't too happy about that... That was kind of emblematic of our wrap parties

Moderator: <Jamie> to <Moderator>: Lawgiver, will we ever see Mike Nelson pay for his crimes? What do you have in store for him for Season Nine?

MaryJoPehl: Would you believe, as is the wont of MST3K, we're still figuring out what we want to do next season. And we start writing in a week..

Moderator: <TomServo> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: How do you think the character if Pearl Forester has evolved over the last year?

MaryJoPehl: She's lost her moustache, which I'm thrilled about. She doesn't wear her awful nails anymore -- which I the person am thrilled about since I can go to the bathroom which is impossible with those nails.
MaryJoPehl: With those nails, I couldn't do anything for the rest of the day...
MaryJoPehl: For some reason she's become younger

Moderator: <Shadowalk> to <Moderator>: Is there any danger of running out of schlocky sci-fi movies?

MaryJoPehl: Oh, no, no, no, no, no..... Sometimes I wish there was.... But believe me, we're in no danger...

Moderator: <neelix> to <Moderator>: how do you like playing Ms. Forrestor and how different/alike is she to yourself?

MaryJoPehl: well, I hope she's really different. I have a lot of fun playing her because my fellow actors are SO funny. It's just fun goofing off with them in that sort of realm. They crack me up every time...

Moderator: <EuroMiSTy> to <Moderator>: What are your thoughts on MST3k airing in Europe?

MaryJoPehl: My tiny brain can't quite fathom it. I don't get if it's going to be translated, and if so, it's a terrible job translating comedy, much less those horrible movies!

Moderator: <mrduffy> to <Moderator>: Season Eight brought joy, sadness, and cheese, but out of it all, what was *your* all time fav of the year?

MaryJoPehl: I think the worst was Overdrawn at the Memory Bank. We were all so close to killing ourselves and each other, and it was just unbelievably horrible.

Moderator: <Jamie> to <Moderator>: Mary Jo, I heard you appeared in some comedy bits on MTV a few months back. Are you working on anything these days outside of MST?

MaryJoPehl: I did a thing on MTV -- a profile on independent record companies - I was a terrible receptionist. Now I'm working on a documentary in the Twin Cities with an informal mentoree. But whenever a friend asks me to do something, I'm there.

Moderator: <smaug> to <Moderator>: Why does the crew of the SOL *have to* watch the movies you send them?

MaryJoPehl: Because I'm MAD and I'm MEAN!

Moderator: <Shadowalk> to <Moderator>: Have the producers of any movies ever refused permission to use them?

MaryJoPehl: I'm not so sure that it's the producers who refuse the rights, but the distribution company. But sometimes they're owned by the producers, so indirectly perhaps. We do get refused, but it may not be the producers.

Moderator: <Carnage> to <Moderator>: In the future do you see another movie for MST3K?

MaryJoPehl: No, I seriously doubt it. And I think that's ok. We had this experience, and it was a difficult experience working with a studio instead of staying the independent entity we are. We have more creative control with the TV show, and we're happy to keep with that. I think the format is better suited to television anyway.

Moderator: <neelix> to <Moderator>: what are some of your favorite *GOOD* movies and books?

MaryJoPehl: I have so many. Pee Wee's Big Advneture, My Favorite Year, Wings of Desire, the director's cut of Das Boot, and books... Where do you even start...

Moderator: <dagger> to <Moderator>: With MST3K finding a wonderful new home and an ever-increasing fandom, is there another convention in the forseeable future?

MaryJoPehl: That's really hard to say. At this point, I'd have to say no, but I'd have to offer the caveat that we're always changing our minds...

Moderator: <Redbeard> to <Moderator>: Have you been in contact with Joel, Trace or Frank? What do they think of the new shows?

MaryJoPehl: Yeah. I talk to Trace on a regular basis. Infrequent, but regularly. Frank I talk to occasionally. When I'm in LA, I see all 3 of them. I see Trace and Frank when they come to the Twin Cities....

Moderator: <BuckFifty> to <Moderator>: Any chance we'll see another MST3K CD?

MaryJoPehl: Oh it's quite possible. The last show we just did a new song. And we've got some songs that haven't appeared on CD yet. I'm sure. No doubt...

Moderator: <DrMarcus> to <Moderator>: Have gotten any more net saavy since your last chat experience?

MaryJoPehl: *LOL* YES!
MaryJoPehl: I actually am on the Information Superhighway now.
MaryJoPehl: But still clinging to the last vestige of Luddite-ism.

Moderator: <Callipygeas> to <Moderator>: So, we all know that there will be a Turkey Day Maraton this year, what funny fun things can we expect?

MaryJoPehl: Actually, we didn't all know that... I didn't know that...
MaryJoPehl: And we haven't started writing it yet, so I don't know if my co-workers know that...
MaryJoPehl: Those are all re-runs, as far as I know

Moderator: <dagger> to <Moderator>: Why does the brain guy follow Pearl's orders?

MaryJoPehl: We have wondered that ourselves. For one thing, I think she's less harsh with him. And I think there's the dynamic of conspiracy of brain guy with Pearl against Bobo.

Moderator: <QuarksLady> to <Moderator>: I just started watching MST3K a few weeks ago (got hooked from the very first show; wish I'd watched it sooner). Has your character ever had a romance, or are there any plans for such?

MaryJoPehl: She did go out with Sandy, played by Paul Chaplin. And I believe in the past we have made delicate allusions to the number of men in Pearl's past. She's been through a couple of husbands.
MaryJoPehl: Husbands are stacked up like cord wood in the back yard.

Moderator: <Carnage> to <Moderator>: I was wondering if you had any shorts planned for season 9?

MaryJoPehl: It doesn't look like it so far. Our movies have been running to the time we need them to run to, so we really haven't needed to do shorts.

Moderator: <TomServo> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: I am asking this because you are one of the many writers for the show...but where do you get your plot ideas?

MaryJoPehl: We all bring in a number of ideas and in a really great group brainstorming process, we work on ideas until a really great idea evolves. It's really a colaborative process.
MaryJoPehl: We are really inspired by a lot of sci-fi conventions (literary conventions, that is)

Moderator: <cp3o> to <Moderator>: is there always a set script, or are there times that you are free to go off on your own?

MaryJoPehl: There are times when each of the actors has ad-libbed a bit or can turn off the script just for fun. Sometimes when there's a blown take, we just play around and sometimes those end up in the final show.

Moderator: <Da`an> to <Moderator>: is there any chance of peral, bobo, and brain guy having to watch a movie, like if mike and the bot pulled off a mutiny

MaryJoPehl: Yes, it is very possible. We have discussed taht.

Moderator: <CaveDweller> to <Moderator>: Is there any (quote/unquote) "Good", "Big time" Hollywood movies that have come out in the last few years that would be good for an MST treatment?

MaryJoPehl: Oh yes. I think so. Waterworld, the Body Guard.
MaryJoPehl: Just to name a few.

Moderator: <TomServo> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: In the upcoming seasons is there the probability that there will be even more characters introduced in MST3k?

MaryJoPehl: Not as regulars. It's quite possible we might have the occasional visitors, but at this point we don't forsee adding any more regulars.

Moderator: <KatySkinner> to <Moderator>: Mary Jo, if the MST3K gig ended, what would you like to do next?

MaryJoPehl: I would like to make documentary films.

Moderator: <Godzilla> to <Moderator>: How do you pick movies to watch?

Mary Jo Pehl - /msg Moderator with questions
MaryJoPehl: There are distributors who buy up the rights for all these terrible movies, then they send us video tapes and we sort through them and say yea or nay to them.

Moderator: <CHUPACABRA> to <Moderator>: I loved the online chat viewer participation last year on MST3k premiere, any chance it will happen again in the near future?

MaryJoPehl: Oh probably. I expect so.

Moderator: <BuckFifty> to <Moderator>: Will there be a cliffhanger at the end of this season? And if so, could you give us a hint as to what it might be?

MaryJoPehl: Boy, I'm wondering if I should make it a cliffhanger whether there will be a cliffhanger.... But no, there is no big cliffhanger.

Moderator: <Croooow> to <Moderator>: In the Internet Movie Database, "Manos: The Hands of Fate" was recently outvoted for Worst Movie of All Time in favor of a 1995 Norwegian film called "Dis". Have any of you considered using it for the show?

MaryJoPehl: We haven't seen it. I've not heard of it. But please if it's worse than Manos, please DO NOT send it our way!

Moderator: <Wile> to <Moderator>: Was there ever a time where a movie was picked for the show, then ask yourself "Dear God! What was I thinking??"

MaryJoPehl: Yes, oh my god yes! Every single week! We always select these movies and then when it comes to actually doing them, we get into fights about who said that this movie was ok to do. And the movie we just did, "Overdrawn", well there were a lot of bitter recriminations and finger pointing in the writer room...

Moderator: <smaug> to <Moderator>: MaryJo, do you target a particular age group with the humor that you write? It seems to me, (geezer), that some of the younger viewers couldn't possibly understand some of it.

MaryJoPehl: I think that's true. One of the things I personally like about the show is that we're all over the map with our peccidilloes and sensibilities.
MaryJoPehl: We love that kids watch it, but we're not deliberately trying to make it a children's show. At the same time, we want to be sensitive to the fact that children are watchin, so we try to make it somewhat palatable -- we don't want children asking their parents, "What's a _____?"

Moderator: <TomServo> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: How did you become involved with MST3K?

MaryJoPehl: I had been doing stand-up cmedy for a couple of years. I knew Joel and Mike and Frank and Bridget, and at one point, I had heard that they might be looking for another writer, so I mustered up all my courage and called Mike and he asked me to audition.

Moderator: <hbogie> to <Moderator>: I would like to know if Sci-Fi will be airing any of the older mst3k from Comedy Channel

MaryJoPehl: No. I don't think any arrangement can be worked out. That is Comedy Central domain....

Moderator: <Carnage> to <Moderator>: Are there any plans for another MST3K book?

MaryJoPehl: We talk about it. We might just continue where the other one left off. We had so much fun writing the last one that it's very possible.

Moderator: <Nanite> to <Moderator>: What's the story about the MST comic book? What's it going to be like?

MaryJoPehl: I don't know that much about it, not being a comic person. It's going to be essentially the TV format in comic book format. Mike and the bots will each have balloons commenting over the pre-existing comic book material.

Moderator: <Fertikas> to <Moderator>: Do you know how many more Rhino MST home videos will be released in the near future?

MaryJoPehl: No, I don't know that. Sorry.
MaryJoPehl: I don't know anything about my job, lets face it...

Moderator: <QuarksLady> to <Moderator>: What was your first acting job?

MaryJoPehl: My first acting job was doing a local casino commercial, where the director instructed me to scream like I was having an orgasm.
MaryJoPehl: because I had won so much money in the commercial

Moderator: <LilSimba> to <Moderator>: (to MaryJoPehl:) Does Mike, having a culinary background, ever make lunch for the writing staff?

MaryJoPehl: No and we hate him for it! We resent him deeply! He has occasionally offered us tortilla chips...

Moderator: <Jon> to <Moderator>: Are any more MST specials in the works, like the summer movie preview?

MaryJoPehl: Not in the works. It's quite possible something will come out, but nothing;s currently brewing.

Moderator: <TomServo> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: I have recently noticed that lately the scenes outside the theater have gotten longer. Why is this happening?

MaryJoPehl: I think we're having more fun with the sketches. We're playing around with the length of the sketches. I also think we're trying to cover a lot more territory since we've had more of a story line that necessitates more exposition.

Moderator: <TVsJeff> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: Are you(or any other BBI member) going to promote MST3K on any talk shows? I'd love to see you on Conan.

MaryJoPehl: Wow, you know, I think there has been talk about getting anyone of us on a talk show. Of couse I'd love to be on Jerry Springer, come on!

Moderator: <BuckFifty> to <Moderator>: Any chance we'll see you or any MST3K staff at any scifi conventions in Canada?

MaryJoPehl: If I'm invited... I think any of us are game once we're invited. Those things are a blast!

Moderator: <TomServo> to <Moderator>: MaryJoPehl: Is George Clooney REALLY Pearl's fiance?

MaryJoPehl: Yes, but he doesn't know it. It's going to be a big surprise for him.

Moderator: <CaveDweller> to <Moderator>: Did you ever see any of the pre-Comedy Central KTMA episode of MST?

MaryJoPehl: No, I've never seen those. I hear legend of them, though...

Moderator: <sooprfrk> to <Moderator>: How many more seasons do you think you could continue on MST3K before you experience some kind of burnout?

MaryJoPehl: Oh, that has happened already. Maybe 2 more...

Moderator: <QuarksLady> to <Moderator>: How did Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo get their names?

MaryJoPehl: They were named by Joel when Joel created them.

Moderator: <Wile> to <Moderator>: What happened to all those "I thought you were Dale" jokes?

MaryJoPehl: We grew to hate them, so we dumped them.

Moderator: <Callipygeas> to <Moderator>: Goddess Apearlo, what are the odds of us seeing Gypsy in the theatre in upcoming episodes?

MaryJoPehl: We've played around with that in the past. It could happen again.

Moderator: <Jamie> to <Moderator>: What did _you_ dress as for Halloween?

MaryJoPehl: I'm afraid I went I as a normal girl in her mid-30's who was too busy and lazy to come up with a costume...

Moderator: <invincor> to <Moderator>: Does Best Brains endorse any candidate in the Minneapolis mayoral election Tuesday? :)

MaryJoPehl: Not Best Brains, but I will gladly spout off. The only thing I would say is DO NOT vote for Barbara Carlson.

Moderator: <BuckFifty> to <Moderator>: With the recent appearance of Pitch, can we look forward to seeing more of the older MST3K characters such as Torgo?

MaryJoPehl: We have thrown the idea of Torgo around here and there. It is very possible.
MaryJoPehl: As you can tell, we're not adverse to inviting folks back.

Moderator: <egerton> to <Moderator>: What were all those "I thought you were Dale" lines a reference to?

MaryJoPehl: There was a commercial, I wanna say in the 70's?, where because the woman had used Ivory dishwashing soap, that somehow she had been mistaken by her son-in-law, as her daughter because were so young looking.
MaryJoPehl: "I thought you were Dale"

Moderator: <dagger> to <Moderator>: What kinds of outtakes of you are there in the Poopie 2 tape?

MaryJoPehl: Unfortunately, and I'm not proud of this, but I saw the edit list, and many of them are of me cracking up.
MaryJoPehl: and a lot of flubbed lines and frustrated performers.
MaryJoPehl: and sets or props that didn't function properly

Moderator: <Doom> to <Moderator>: How does MST3K Find all those bad movies??

Moderator: Oops. Answered already...

MaryJoPehl: We already mentioned that-- distributors send us tapes.

Moderator: <Shadowlnd> to <Moderator>: what is the meaning of "movie sign"? always mistook it originally, but it still makes no sense.....

MaryJoPehl: It was just a device we used to segue from the host segments into the movies. It also represents that Mike and the Bots have no choice.

Moderator: <Gothhound> to <Moderator>: Mary Jo, how do you feel about Bill's perfomance as Crow as opposed to Trace's? Do you know his opinion?

MaryJoPehl: For me personally, I think it's not a matter of opposition to. They both brought something great to the role. Bill has done an incredible job. Trace's shoes were very hard to fill. I think Trace agrees that Bill's done a great job.

Moderator: <invincor> to <Moderator>: Could we please have a host plot someday that focuses (heh) on some issue regarding Cambot?

MaryJoPehl: *LOL* OK, just for you, we'll do it

Moderator: <CaveDweller> to <Moderator>: Have you ever gotten complaints from any of the "big time" actors you've made fun of in MSTed movies?

MaryJoPehl: We heard that Joe Don Maker was very displeased with us.
MaryJoPehl: We also were contacted by Kim Catrall as everyone knows, but she was not displeased, she enjoyed it.

Moderator: <Callipygeas> to <Moderator>: Is there any chance we'll see another MST Live?
Moderator: We only have time for a few more questions. Please send your questions for Mary Jo to the Moderator now.

MaryJoPehl: It's possible, if we do another convention. Sort of hard to say right now. We don't figure these things out until 2 days before we want to do them.

Moderator: <Shampoo> to <Moderator>: Mary-Jo Do you enjoy MST3k better than your stand-up work??

MaryJoPehl: Oh YES, YES, YES, YES, YES! And did I mention, YES! Dear God YES!

Moderator: <GnFightr1> to <Moderator>: Will Mike Nelson and the bots ever get off of the SOL?

MaryJoPehl: No, not if I have anything to say about it....
MaryJoPehl: We all need the work...

Moderator: <JimTheBrainGuy> to <Moderator>: Will we ever see any of the other Observers again?

MaryJoPehl: It's very possible. We don't know.
MaryJoPehl: They were a fun lot...

Moderator: <NONE> to <Moderator>: How, Mary Jo, do you relieve your agony of a terrible movie?

MaryJoPehl: I go for a walk on my lunch hour. And I have gone into the bathroom and cried...
MaryJoPehl: And we also have been known, all of us, to give the finger to the movie. You get so enraged sometimes.

Moderator: <Gurney> to <Moderator>: Are there any movies that you have trouble making fun of?

MaryJoPehl: Yeah, if the movie itself is trying to be funny, that's problematic, and often some of these movies, even though they might not be violently gory and graphic, they are still presenting a horrible (sometimes misogynistic) world view that I have a hard time with.

Moderator: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!

MaryJoPehl: Thank you all for coming, it's been a delight!

Moderator: OK, we will be making the room unmoderated.
Moderator: Don't forget about the MST3K movies we're now showing in our "Screaming Streamings" area!
Moderator: The old pre-SFC ones!

*** Mode change "-m" on #auditorium by Moderator

MaryJoPehl: Thanks everyone! Bye!
MaryJoPehl: Enjoy the videos on-line!

*** MaryJoPehl has left channel #auditorium

Reprinted with permission of The Sci-Fi Channel.