MATT STONE :Creator, "South
PARKER: Creator, "South Park"
DEBBIE LIEBLING: Vice
President, West Coast Development & Production, Comedy
Central Executive Producer, "South Park"
JEFF THORSEN: Please welcome
the Comedy Central Vice President of West Coast Development
and Production, and the executive producer of "South
Park," Debbie Liebling. (applause)
DEBBIE LIEBLING: Hi, welcome.
Two years ago when I arrived at the Aspen festival, I had
just closed a deal with two very unassuming guys for a pilot
based on a very insane short entitled "The Spirit of
At the time, Trey Parker
and Matt Stone could barely afford parking to get out of our
office building. And as we walked around the festival, all
of us at Comedy Central were pretty confident that this show
would be hilarious. And we were hopeful it might draw a little
bit of attention to the channel. But none of us had any idea
it would become the pop cultural phenomenon that it has, and
that Trey and Matt would be the subject of a panel here two
years later sharing the bill with 50 many other cultural icons.
But clearly, through their hard work and vision, they've earned
it. Before they join us today, I just want to tell you a little
bit about what we're going to do. We're going to show a few
early films that they did, early animation that illiterates
the evolution of a comedic and visual style that's culminated
in "South Park." Three animated pieces. Trey and
Matt will then join us for an audience Q&A. We'll open
the floor for questioning. And we'll close the program with
a half-hour pilot, the original animated pilot they did for
Comedy Central, with some scenes that they've never aired
before. So you'll be in for some treats. (applause) The first
piece we're going to see today is entitled "American
History," and this is the first animation that Trey Parker
ever did. He did it as a student in 1991 at Colorado University,
in a class on animation. And he waited until the last minute,
so he had to resort to construction paper cutouts. And hence,
a style was born. (laughter) After that, we'll see, "The
Spirit of Christmas," also known as "Frosty."
And that's not the "Spirit of Christmas" you're
familiar with. This one is actually the first collaboration
between Matt and Trey. And again it was for an animation class
at CU, in which they thought it would be funny to see -- put
synch-sound lips on construction paper characters. In this
one, you really, really see the early beginnings of some of
the characters and tone that have emerged in the series. And
the third thing we'll see is "The Spirit of Christmas"
which most of you are familiar with. The history of that,
if you don't know, was a Fox executive -- then Fox executive
-- Brian Graydon (sp) -- commissioned it for a mere $1,200
or so as a joke for a Christmas card to show some of his industry
friends. And it took off like wildfire. It was bootlegged
across the country became a cult phenomenon and launched the
careers of these two guys. So, before they join us, let's
roll some tape. (applause) (CLIPS SHOWN: "AMERICAN HISTORY,"
"THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS" PROJECT, "THE SPIRIT
OF CHRISTMAS") (applause)
LIEBLING: It's pretty
remarkable they've been able to top that 13 weeks in a row
-- well, not in a row, but 13 episodes anyway. In the past
eight months since "South Park" premiered on Comedy
Central, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have accomplished more
than most people dream of in an entire career. As if producing,
writing, directing, drawing and voicing a hit series weren't
enough, I'd just like to take you through a little laundry
list of some of their other activities. They just completed
a live-action feature called "Orgazmo," which premiered
at Sundance last month. It's being released this summer by
October Films. It was written and directed by Trey, produced
by Matt, and both men star in the picture. They are currently
writing the pre-quel to "Dumb & Dumber," for
New Line Cinema. They are co-starring in "BASEketball,"
a Zucker brothers film being released this summer by Universal,
in which you'll get to see them kiss Yasmine Bleeth and Jenny
McCarthy, respectively. (laughter) They're in talks to do
a "South Park" feature. They are producing a "South
Park" soundtrack album. They perform in their own rock
band around L.A. The band is called DVDA, if you get to catch
them. "South Park" was on the cover of Rolling Stone
magazine. They appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay
Leno," won a CableACE Award for Best Animated Series,
and just last week, the prestigious NOVA Award from the Producers
Guild of America, for most promising producers in television.
And their favorite football team, the Denver Broncos, won
the Super Bowl this year. (cheers/applause) And that's just
their first year of show business. Some people call them lucky,
but success like that doesn't really come from luck, except
maybe kissing Yasmine and Jenny. The rest of it really comes
from hard work, incredible talent and the dedication and commitment
to their vision. And having worked with them everyday for
the last two years, I can attest that that is the equation.
They work around the clock, paying attention to every detail
on the show, both on-air and off-air. They're prolific writers.
They believe in their choices and they stand by them. And
the honesty and integrity that you see in their work is there
because that's the honesty and integrity in their characters.
So please welcome back to their home state, where there really
is a South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. (applause) You're
MATT STONE: A little country
kitchen setting. Hi, welcome to the Trey and Matt show. (laughter)
LIEBLING: Can we turn
the lights up so people can ask some questions? Anybody have
questions to start?
TREY PARKER: Well, first
of all, you know, sorry you all came, but Matt and I are actually
really boring people. (laughter) So you're trapped.
STONE: Everybody expects
us to do "South Park Live" or something. (laughter)
LIEBLING: Well, I can
start. Why don't you guys tell us a little bit about how you
met and got together and how you launched this partnership?
STONE: Well, it was love,
PARKER: Yeah, we met at
-- we both went to the University of Colorado in Boulder.
(applause) Yeah, they kicked me out. (laughter) I got kicked
out. But we met in film school. They had just started the
film school there. And so that's where we met. And we were
doing lots of short, stupid things like the ones they showed.
And we met and, you know--
STONE: We were like the
two people who were into comedy and doing, like, weird little
films that weren't like black-and-white lesbian, like, sexual
exploration pieces. And so we kind of -- we were kind of thrown
together because we were the only two who wanted to not do
-- you know, not be Martin Scorsese.
PARKER: And we were the
only two guys in film school that cared about the Buffs and,
you know, the Broncos.
STONE: Yeah, we liked
sports and didn't drink a lot of coffee. (laughter)
PARKER: So are a lot of
people here from Colorado? Is this like a big Colorado--?
(applause/cheer.) Just have to say, Matt and I, because of
this -- thanks to Comedy Central, we were, like, 50-yard line,
tenth row at the Super Bowl.
STONE: Yeah, it warn the
greatest day of my whole life by far.
PARKER: It was so awesome.
(laughter) To just get kicked in the nuts like that every
year, and then finally be at the one that they win was just
the best. We were crying and s***. It was great. (laughter)
LIEBLING: You guys want
to talk about some of the influence in your comedy, both music
and comedic, because music plays a very big role in your work
PARKER: Well, part of
the reason we're psyched to be here is because, as we've said
in every interview, our biggest influence is "Monty Python."
(applause) And I think, you know, I remember that was the
show -- it was like Thursdays at 10:00 at night, being in
third and fourth grade and watching that show, and not even
getting a lot of it, but just knowing it was really funny.
(laughter) And it was the same with -- I think that's why
Matt and I hit it off so well is because we had this very
big "Python" background.
STONE: Still to this day
when our heads are getting a little big, if we go and put
on an old "Flying Circus" or something, you just
watch that and you're like--
PARKER: We suck.
STONE: --what the hell
are we doing. (laughter) Yeah, so we do that every once in
a while to check ourselves.
LIEBLING: And you were
going to talk about music a little bit, because there's so
much music in your work, in both "South Park" and
your film, "Cannibal: The Musical," which actually
played here yesterday. I don't know if some of you got it,
but there's clearly a love of musical theater that--
STONE: Yeah, we both,
before we were in film or anything, we were both musicians.
Like I play drums and bass and guitar, and Trey can play piano
like a son of a bitch. And that's like -- so when it came
around to do the show -- I mean, you can go back to "Cannibal"
-- but when it came around to do the show, I mean part of
the reason we wanted Chef to sing songs was so we could just
have a musical element to the show, you know.
PARKER: It's our favorite
part when we get to that part of the script and we're recording
where it's like, okay, Chef sings. We just sit down and start
playing it, and we send it to Isaac, and it's great. Because
we're playing for Isaac. It's really cool.
LIEBLING: Talk about some
of the characters in "South Park." I know some of
them represent real people in your live, or amalgamations
of real people and real experiences you've had.
PARKER: I think that,
you know, when we started talking about this show, even when
we were doing the shorts, you know, it was like there was
always a leader kid, there was always -- but what we realized
-- Matt and I didn't grow up together, but we both were talking
about -- we had this one fat kid. You know, it was like, oh,
everyone had the fat kid, or "at one time I was the fat
kid" -- and then it was -- and you always had the poor
kid, you know, who died every week. (laughter) And so it was
just sort of a very -- it started off a very cliché
group of boy friends that just sit around and cuss at each
other. And, you know, that's what's been the most fun for
me about "South Park," has been Cartman, because
to see him grow from --you know, in "Spirit of Christmas,"
he's just a big fat f*** (laughter) that, you know, that just
bitches a lot. And to go from that to him having a tea party
(laughter) with his stuffed animals and doing their voices
and stuff, has bean great.
STONE: Yeah, Cartman has
just become a force of nature. That guy has gotten so complex.
PARKER: That's why when
people are saying, you know, are you worried you're going
to run out of ideas, you know, it's just like the way we've
set Cartman, we need 20 years to explain that guy. (laughter)
STONE: Yeah, but it's
like every situation we think of, it's like --oh, one of the
boys do this or go to the White House or whatever -- it's
always if you think about Cartman in that situation, material
just starts like throwing itself at you, you know.
QUESTION: Who is Cartman's
PARKER: Oh, it's -- oh,
you almost got me. (laughter) We'll find out in April.
STONE: We'd have to kill
everybody in the room if we were to say it. (laughter)
QUESTION: How did you
get kicked out of college?
PARKER: I got kicked out
because we made "Alfred Packer, Cannibal: The Musical."
I mean, it wasn't because I made it. It was because I made
it and didn't go to any of my classes because I was making
that movie. (laughter) But it was a real -- we were in film
school. I was engaged to be married. I was, like, 21. You
know, because I was, like, a small mountain town boy. You
know, you get married when you're 21. And she totally dumped
me. Totally dumped me on my ass, right? And I just -- it was
like, I'm going to make a movie, I'm going to make a movie.
And we went -- and I went to Matt, and we read, like, every
book we could find on how to make a movie and how to get money
for it. And it was all a big joke. I mean, everyone in the
film school was like, right, you guys are going to get $125,000.
And what we did was we went and made -- for like 300 bucks,
we went and shot a preview of the movie. And then we went
around to rich people and said, "We need finishing money."
Like this movie is almost done, we're so close, here's the
preview. And they saw the preview and go, oh, that's really
funny, here's some finishing money. And all of a sudden, like,
two months later, we had $125,000. And it was the same as
the "South Park" phenomenon. We were both just like
"how did we do this?!" But it was in the middle
of the semester. And so I had a choice to either, you know,
go spend this money and make a movie or stay in class. And
I made the movie.
QUESTION: What's she think
of you now? (laughter/applause)
PARKER: I invited her
to come see me on "The Tonight Show." (laughter)
And she came. (laughter)
QUESTION: Do you guys
actually write dialogue for Kenny?
PARKER: Yeah, usually.
STONE: Yeah, a lot of
times in the script, it just says, you know, mmph-mmph-mmph."
But when it comes around to it, you always have a line in
mind that, you know, needs to fit there.
PARKER: And sometimes
it's a little too clear and we have to do it over.
STONE: Yeah, yeah. He
always says something.
QUESTION: Could you do
a voice for us?
PARKER: Who do you went?
PARKER: Oh, jeez. (as
Cartman) "You son of a bitch, I'll kick you in the nuts!"
QUESTION: Matt and Trey,
I notice that religion seems to play an important part in
the comedy series. And I'm just wondering what is at the root
of all that, between the two of you?
STONE: Well, religion
is funny. (laughter)
PARKER: Wait a minute,
this whole thing is a room? I thought that was a mirror the
STONE: No, that goes --
that's why I've been spacing out.
PARKER: I didn't know
there was this many people. Whoa.
STONE: When we walked
in originally, they showed us the room, it ended right there.
PARKER: Oh, my god.
STONE: So that's why when
I walked out, it was like--
PARKER: Holy s***, there's
a lot of people in here! (laughter)
STONE: I got a big laugh!
QUESTION: I have a question
STONE: Oh, wait, we've
got to answer the religion question.
QUESTION: (off mike/inaudible)
PARKER: Why is that so
funny? I think that it's just because it's so not something
you make fun of. And, you know, to us. part of what we loved
about "Python" was when they were saying stuff that
if you said in school you got smacked in the mouth. And that
you -- what was so funny about it is like, oh, you're not
supposed to make fun of that, are you? And so, immediately
you make -- just Jesus made out of construction paper is funny.
(laughter) You know, it's like we didn't even have to have
him say anything. And I remember when we were doing "Spirit
of Christmas," and I cut him out and I'm laughing the
whole time. (laughs) I showed it to Matt and we're just like,
"Huh-huh-huh!" (laughter) You know, it's just inherently
STONE: I mean, look at
"Life of Brian," like going back to "Monty
Python." Just that movie is like -- somebody told me
they originally wanted to name it, like, "Jesus Christ:
Lust For Glory." (laughter) And they wouldn't let them
do it. It's just great, man. It's hilarious.
QUESTION: I have a question
for you. Since I live with Cartman, which makes me the "Bitchbitchbitch,"
will there be a cattle call, so to speak, for this feature
movie that y'all are working on?
STONE: Oh, it's an animated
feature, is that what you're asking
PARKER: Well, is there
going to be -- are we going to have other people do voices,
is that what you mean?
QUESTION: I got the impression
in the beginning that maybe you were talking about like live
STONE: Oh, no, it'll be
PARKER: Yeah, it'll definitely
STONE: It would be fun
to find a real Cartman. We should do like a search for the
real Cartman. (laughter)
PARKER: Because it's actually
-- what we're really excited about with the movie is that
we're going to do it all on construction paper. Because what's
cool, like all this stuff, we only had the money to go right
back to video. So we shot it on film -- and Matt and I have
seen "Spirit of Christmas" projected, the 35-mm
prints, and it's gorgeous. I mean, it's like the detail of
the construction paper is really cool. (laughter) So when
we went to Paramount, we said we've got to do this on construction
QUESTION: What does "Shpedoinkle"
QUESTION: Yeah, what does
that exactly mean?
PARKER: It means everything
and nothing. There's a word in "Alfred Packer,"
in "Cannibal" -- everyone says "Shpendoinkle"
(sp) all the time. And it is -- I don't know, it's like "tootsie
bars" and "cheesy poofs," you know. We just
make up words just for the hell of it.
QUESTION: You guys, with
everything that you have been able to do, what in the hell
have you not been able to do on television?
PARKER: Get chicks. (laughter)
STONE: We wanted to do
an episode with the Nation of Islam, a whole episode about
that. (audience reacts) And Comedy Central wouldn't let us
do it. Not because -- I mean, they were like fine with the
humor and fine with all that, but they just, you know, feared
that they would get bombed and we would get lynched. So...
PARKER: So we're going
to do it in the Fall. (laughter)
STONE: Now we've got a
little more clout, maybe we'll be able to do it.
QUESTION: How did you
get Primus to do the opening?
PARKER: That was actually
-- that was one of the coolest parts, because we got approached
to do the show. And again, we had done pilots before, so we
were kind of like -- we had had small bits of money thrown
at us to do stuff, and we knew that it might not go anywhere.
But we were like, you know, we need a theme song. And Matt
and I were just huge Primus fans in college. And we said,
maybe we could get them to do the theme song? And it was like
now why would they do that, they're not going to do that.
And so we just -- it was a shot in the dark. We sent them
"Spirit of Christmas." And we were sitting around.
We had a really tiny, crappy office, and we had one production
assistant. And she just came in like three days later and
she's, like, "Matt, Les Claypool is on line one."
And we're both just like -- (gasps). (laughter)
STONE: Freaked out.
PARKER: And I've never
seen Matt so, like -- he's just on the phone going, "Yeah,
yeah, that's killer." (laughter)
STONE: Freaked out, yeah.
PARKER: And they were
into it. They were into it.
STONE: Yeah, they were
totally into it.
PARKER: So it was great.
It was really cool. Between that and Isaac, I mean, it was
actually pretty easy. You know, Isaac was our first choice,
and he just said he'd do it. So it was cool.
QUESTION: Trey, I got
hold of an advance copy of "Orgazmo." And Rick Lynch
got it for me. And I'm just wondering, where did you learn
the karate for that movie?
PARKER: I actually studied
Tae Kwon Do from the time I was, like, 12 until I was about
22. So it was -- that's what it was.
QUESTION: I saw you kick
Ron Jeremy's ass.
PARKER: Yeah. (laughs)
QUESTION: Have you ever
-- on the Internet, there's a lot of scripts for the episode.
of "South Park" floating around. Have you ever seen
those, and what they are claiming is what Kenny is actually
STONE: Yeah, we've seen
PARKER: And nine times
out of ten, they're wrong.
STONE: Yeah, it's wrong.
PARKER: But, you know,
and it's so funny, I mean, the things that on the Internet
they'll catch. I mean, they catch stuff we don't, for sure.
And they -- you know, they'll say this meant this, and when
they said that it meant this. And especially with the whole
Cartman's father thing, they're like, "Well, I went through
it frame by frame and there actually is another townsperson
in the background." Which was just a f***-up on our part.
(laughter) But of course now we're going to make it huge.
You know, we'll play that up. And you know, what people will
interpret, you know, is really funny.
QUESTION: How old are,
like, Kyle and Cartman?
PARKER: They're supposed
to be in third grade. So, eight-nine.
QUESTION: In Spin magazine,
there's a part about the future of "South Park."
How much of that is true?
PARKER: None of it. F***
Spin magazine. (laughter/applause)
STONE: That was -- they
made every word of that up. We had no --everything that's
PARKER: Everything that's
STONE: And the cover,
everything we had no input on.
PARKER: And that we were
shooting porno. And, you know, we made a movie, "Orgazmo,"
that's about porno. I mean, it's a spoof on porno. And, you
know, they got pissed off because we wanted the cover of Rolling
Stone. And so they decided to release a cover at the same
time to piss us off. And then they slanted all of the article.
STONE: So that's really
the worst part. You know, we can take, you know, like, someone
saying -- you know, someone parodying our show even is like
-- okay, okay, we can take that, or whatever. But the fact
that people think that those are the episodes that are coming
out, that that's an a