Nickelodeon GUTS Referee Moira "Mo" Quirk: A Conversation With Your Childhood Crush
"Mo" with host Mike O'Malley on GUTS
Back in the early '90s, Moira "Mo" Quirk inspired legions of kids to take up athletic pursuits as the co-host and referee of Nickelodeon's GUTS, a game show pitting kids against each other with feats of extreme athletic prowess (well, extreme for kids, anyway). The most memorable part of the show was when kids would scale a massive, glowing mountain, the Aggro Crag, in the search for ultimate supremacy and a trip to Space Camp. Ah, Space Camp.
After GUTS fame, Mo fell off our radar--until now. Quirk called in to local Miami comedy and pop culture podcast Quarter Life Crisis and told them what she's been up to since her Nickelodeon days, including web series and voice acting in video games. Catch up with Mo after the jump.
New Times: Can we call you Mo?
Moira Quirk: You...may. It was just [GUTS host] Mike O' Malley ... and my grandfather. No one else has really [called me that] before or since.
Tell us a little bit about how you started in the entertainment business.
In Brooksville County primary school, I played the king in a Dick Whittington pantomime, and I never looked back. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I was a pretty phenomenal king, and I found I had found my calling.
How did you get the job with Nickelodeon GUTS? Were you up against a lot of people in referee shirts?
It was probably one of the best auditions I'd gone once I arrived in Orlando. I guess it's cause I figure it was just not for me. I was against a lot of what I'd call blond goddesses. And then I stand up looking like a little dumpy Irish girl.
Your co-host on GUTS is now famous sitcom actor Mike O' Malley. Anything you can tell us about him from back then? Was he a dick?
He wasn't! I don't think he's changed, even though his life has changed. He's actually really lovely, and sensitive, and has a great deal of integrity. He's a good guy! He's one of the good guys. He's very exuberant, and very A-type, but it's all from a very good place.
Do you still talk to him after all these years?
Yes! Not as much as we'd like. He's actually just down the street from me. We do keep in touch. It's not that we don't want to, it's more that we all have grown-up lives now.
So you don't get together and scale the Aggro Crag?
Well, apart from that!
Do you have a piece of the rock in your house right now?
Yeah! It's actually on the piano right now. I went in the garage and found it. It's always a question people ask me. And I'm like, yeah, obviously! And I don't care! It's such a waste on me. It's like, I hate it, but yeah, I'm keeping it! Because I know that you want it. [Laughs]
When did you get involved with voice over work for cartoons and video games?
When I moved to LA, it was something that I liked. When there were things that involved a person with a difficult accent, it was, "Let's give that to Moira." It sort of came from a great love of Hanna-Barbera in my youth. In fact, my first animation job was at the Hanna-Barbera building, and I just about peed my pants, I was so happy. I love all of [the characters]. Magilla Gorilla, Hong Kong Fooey, Scooby Doo--I'm going to toot my own horn--one of the most exciting moments of my life was a Scooby Doo thing. The first one I did, we wrapped, I was getting my stuff together, and the person said, "Wait a minute! You're the villain!" And I said, "Yes!" And she said, "Did you get to say 'those meddling kids'?" Why, no. And they [rewinding sound], and I got to say, "And I would've done it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!" And my life was complete! I don't need Space Camp. [Laughs]
We are all huge fans of the video game Skyrim. When we found out you voiced the character Karliah, we about flipped out. How was it working on that?
It was funny, because I started getting comments on my YouTube saying, "You're Karliah!" And then I realized, it was that game! I didn't realize I'd done it. It was called "Dragon"-something at the time. Are there dragons in it? I haven't played it! I'm head of the Thieves Guild, I know that much.
What are you up to right now? My 9-year-old self who had a crush on you is wondering if you are married.
I am married, for many years, happily. Very Americana. We actually have a basketball hoop right above the garage this summer.
[Darn.] Tell us about your web series, Dirty Work, which is Emmy-nominated. Congrats!
It's basically a sitcom, but it's very interactive. It's a fun, dark, irreverent sitcom. I get to play someone so foul-mouthed and disgusting. If my oldest child finds it, she would say, "Mother, that's just terrible." But it's interactive. You can hear people's inner monologues. The show will text you. There's hidden things that you have to figure out. Before, if you needed to do something while watching TV, you ate or did knitting. But now, the TV will talk to you!
You could've been talking to us the whole time during our childhood! We could've appreciated some of your inner monologue during GUTS.
Oh, a lot of that would be, "I don't know what this is! Shut up!"
Wait -- so you're the referee on GUTS, telling us the rules on all these events, and you have no idea how these sports work?
Nope! Not really! In fact, every Super Bowl, I sit there, and I'm all, "They have to run where? How far? Why are they stopping?"
So, where can we catch up with you now?
I'm @MoiraQuirkable on Twitter and YouTube. I do a lot of radio plays! I'm also doing a couple of projects that I can't even really talk about, unfortunately. I have a list of games and movies I want to be on, and it's just called "Everything!"
You can catch up with Moira Quirk on @MoiraQuirkable on Twitter and YouTube, and the Emmy-nominated webseries Dirty Work rides.tv/dirty-work.
The Quarter Life Crisis podcast is a Miami-area podcast featuring 20-somethings taking about pop culture both current and nostalgic.
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