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AICN EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone!

Well, I'm gonna get out of the way, but here's an exclusive interview with these two sickos from the spy that brought you that Terry Gilliam interview a while back. So here he is again...

From the man who gave you your Gilliam exclusive, here's a two-on-one with Trey and Matt, despite the headchopping warnings of Universal bigshots.


SOUTH PARK's Auteurs Crack Wise on "BASEKETBALL," Cannibalism, and the Value of Ham Food-Products Bucolic. Layered in a crisp, nearly religious snow cover. Azure blue skies. The mountainscapes iconized in patriotic songs. Then Riiiiiip! goes the, er, gas of a mythologized, terrifying but mostly-just-misunderstood Snowbeast with a leg that looks conspicuously like soap-schmuck cum kitsch-maven Patrick Duffy.

Such is the world according to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, alternately llampooned and revered in the fictional landscape of South Park, Colorado, which is featured -- along with third-grade daemon-seeds Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and the ever-jinxed, perpetually-resurrected Kenny -- on Comedy Central's weekly-animated series South Park.

The brain-nugget of millennium-era auteurs disguised as slackersomethings Trey Parker, aka The Romantic, and Matt Stone, aka The Math Nerd, South Park has consistently drawn the largest audiences of any cable-tv show since its debut in August of 1997. It has also befuddled, bewildered, and bedraggled the religious right, the moral majority, and nearly anyone who refuses to acknowledge the scatological humor contained in canonized works by Moliere and Swift, while simultaneously winning the hearts and, er, gastroentological systems of America's youth.

Robert LoCash, co-writer and producer of comedies like Naked Gun 33 1/3, High School High, and the Parker-Stone starrer Baseketball, says "(South Park) is so successful because you watch and go, 'I can¹t believe they just did that on tv.' And there's a lot of sweetness to it, too, because Trey's a romantic at heart."

Romantic may not always be as romantic does, if Parker is to be squeezed in next to alt-butter peddler Fabio as Romance's newest poster boy. Graced with a Scarecrow-crop of bottle-blonde-with-roots hair, a minor pot-belly that could very well contain the good taste he refuses to wear, and gaudy checkered pajama bottoms, Parker is fond of describing exactly how and when he likes to "fart on people's heads." He is also a shrewd businessman, a budding grunge auteur, and a terrifically nice guy. Make that, "dude."

Stone is taller, lankier, dressed even worse, and has hair that looks like a meth-addled gorilla caught up in an Edison experiment gone awry. By all accounts, he is the extroverted one, garrulous with a knack for numbers. Indeed, his college degree is in Mathematics. "People ask me all the time, 'How did you become so successful?'" Stone reflects. "The truth is: I have no idea. Yesterday, I was just a 1600-SAT math nerd. Now all of a sudden I'm a rich dude making jokes about midgets and puke and lactation."

"The truth is, these guys were stars in college and everyone in Colorado hoped things would work out for them in Hollywood," reveals Dian Bachar, the diminutive character actor who has served as sidekick/punching bag to Parker and Stone in three films. "They are the nicest guys, sincere and genuine and definitely very, very sick."

It was Parker and Stone's fondness for their college buddy that gave Bachar an acting career at all. "I did two movies with them back home, but couldn¹t quite work up the nerve to move out to Hollywood," Bachar confesses. "But as soon as they got Baseketball, they talked the writers into creating a part for me, too. Now I get to eat better food."

So let's review. You need a lover? Call Parker. You need an accountant? Stone's your man. Your best friend just choked on an Oscar Meyer and you need a ride to the airport or a boost in morale? Call the dynamic duo. Caca, pee-pee jokes? You know the number.

Just how exactly did these slacker everymen explode onto the radar screen of pop culture with the force and stench of 100 chili-eating Saint Bernard's?

1) Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking, Part I. While enrolled in a University of Colorado film school, Parker wrote a feature-length screenplay, drolly titled Cannibal: The Musical, equal parts Oklahoma!, Night of the Living Dead, and Beavis and Butthead. Parker and Stone scraped together $500 to shoot the funniest bits of the script and assembled them as a 3-minute trailer, which they shopped around to Boulder doctors, dentists, and lawyers with a request for monies to finish the film. With a budget of $120,000, Parker, Stone, and a bunch of college buds made their movie.

"I tried to shoot the movie just on weekends, but it ended up being my entire life," Parker says, "so I flunked all my college classes and got kicked out of school."

Taking to heart the Monty Python tune that fueled his life's dreams, Parker looked on the bright side of life. "I didn¹t get my film degree," Parker almost boasts, "but I had a finished feature film -- a lot more than anybody else I went to school with had."

Conventional indie filmmaking wisdom had Parker and Stone submitting their film to the esteemed Sundance Film Festival. They were turned down. "We didn't even get a rejection letter!" Stone exclaims. "We felt that we had at least paid fifty bucks (the entry fee) to get an official rejection to hang on our walls."

2) Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking, Part II. Undeterred by the rejection, Parker and Stone rented themselves a hotel suite near the Sundance festival in Park City, Utah, papered the streets with posters and flyers for Cannibal, and hosted a standing room only screening in their hotel room. While the film, made four years ago, only recently picked up distribution, through Troma Pictures, home of cult-movie favorite The Toxic Avenger, one of the audience members that fateful night in Utah was Brian Graden, a wisecracking studio exec interested in bucking winter holiday conventions and sending an outrageous Christmas video to his friends and coworkers.

3) The Obligatory Big Break. On a budget of $1,200, Stone and Parker produced Graden's "Christmas card," a three-minute animated bit featuring the now-famous inhabitants of South Park. The video, featuring X-rated profanity and a super-trippy kung-fu showdown between Jesus and Santa Claus that could have made Anton LaVey blush, quickly made the industry rounds, landing the unwitting duo squarely in the middle of a bidding war for tv rights to their characters. Comedy Central won out, and offered the whiplashed duo a big-salary contract.

4) Hitting the Skids. Huh-huh, we said "skids." Comedy Central was uneasy with the pilot episode Parker and Stone produced and put a halt to plans for a series. Paychecks came to a screeching halt. Ham food-products provided much-needed sustinence.

5) Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking, Part III. Proving themselves unrelenting optimists once again, Stone and Parker hopped straight into their next project, the Parker scripted and directed, low-budget Orgazmo, an absurd, screwball tale of a church missionary who takes a two-day job in the adult film industry to raise money for his wedding. The film opens this September from October Films.

6) The Second Coming, aka Big Break Deux. On the last day of shooting Orgazmo, which features Bachar as an intriguingly costumed adult film star named Choda Boy, Parker and Stone got the call from Comedy Central: We want six episodes -- NOW! With about eight weeks until the projected air date, the team worked fast and furious to create the most bizarre, scatological, and perhaps funniest stuff ever seen on television. An acid-brained combination of construction-paper animation and poo-poo humor, the show conjures up loads of comparisons, while also being wholly original: Howard Stern meets Wonder Years, Charlie Brown Does Dallas, Stand By Me by way of Dangerfield, Pryor, and Kaufman.

The show has become an international phenomena, a ratings smash, a marketing cashcow, and the subject of as much debate as Clinton's prowess with a zipper. Next March will see the release of South Park: The Motion Picture. Besides promising an R-rated adventure, Stone and Parker are reticent to reveal further details on the much-anticipated production. "It's a beautiful, perverted secret, and we want people to be surprised," Stone says. To keep Interneters from slamming the storyline back and forth across national borders, the top-secret script is being printed on red, uncopyable paper.

Baseketball co-scripter Robert LoCash has read the script and complimentarily calls it "the funniest, most amazing and despicable thing" he's ever read.

Just days prior to South Park's explosive debut, the dynamic duo were tapped by Airplane! and Naked Gun auteur David Zucker to head up his new laugh-o-rama, Baseketball, based on a driveway game Zucker and buddies created together a decade ago.

Trey, who finely-honed his acting chops in high school productions of "Grease" and "Flower Drum Song," leaped at the opportunity to headline a big-studio feature. "We only had to act good enough to make the joke," Parker says. "We were playing ourselves."

Stone slamdunks the deadpan: "(Baseketball) is not On Golden Pond."

Nevertheless, Parker and Stone ran into their share of high-end Acting, with a capital A. Stone was duly impressed by character vet Robert Vaughn, the former Man from U.N.C.L.E. Parker ran the dramatic gauntlet with his romantic co-star "Baywatch" alum, Yasmine Bleeth. During a dialogue-heavy scene, the film's only dramatic pause, Parker turned to the beauty, perhaps better known for the fit of her swimsuit than the crackerjacks on her resume, and playfully asked, "Doesn't it suck doing a scene with someone who can't act?" Parker was stunned when Bleeth gave him a disgusted look and responded, "Yes."

Zucker had encountered Parker and Stone when they were pedaling their tv pilot, Aaron and Moses, a weekly buddy comedy about the biblical exodus featuring the irreverent musical stylings of their band DVDA. "Trey and Matt are brilliant and funny," Zucker proclaims, then gasses: "(On Baseketball), they completely filled the shoes of my first choice, Chris Farley."

The film, with its scatological, low-brow mix of pee-pee, pooh-pooh jokes is all that Beavis could only aspire to: a gasping, wheezing, firebomb in the face of high culture, art, and aesthetic as we know it, an insistent barrage of below-the-belt humor that is likely to bust the bladder of anyone with a bone called funny. Put another way, this is the funniest movie in years, if not the decade. Sure, millennium doomsayers may quickly slap this film as another sure sign of society's imminent destruction, but just try not laughing during this breezy, biting, hilarious flick.

The fast and furious career trajectory has left smalltown-dreamers Parker and Stone, who just a few years ago were secretly tweaking rabbit-ears in their parents' basement to sneak vintage Monty Python episodes, a little dumbfounded, incapable of throwing their new cash wads at anything cooler than a new Toyota Celica -- "bought for cash, off the lot," Parker boasts, though confessing, "mostly to impress my dad."

So what have we learned? 1) Sometimes making those funny faces, despite your mother's warnings that your face will get stuck like that, can be the first step in building a successful career. 2) Staying loyal to your friends is, if not always financially rewarding, then at least a really cool thing to do. 3) David Zucker doesn't seem to know that Chris Farley is dead. 4) Baseketball is a really, gosh-darned funny movie.

And... 5) Ham is the gift that keeps on giving. At least it is in the world according to Matt and Trey.

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