AICN EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone!
Published at: July 30, 1998, 12:53 p.m. CST by staff
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.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MATT AND TREY:
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
goes the, er, gas of a mythologized, terrifying but
mostly-just-misunderstood Snowbeast with a leg that looks
like soap-schmuck cum kitsch-maven Patrick Duffy.
Such is the world according to Matt Stone and
alternately llampooned and revered in the fictional
landscape of South
Park, Colorado, which is featured -- along with third-grade
Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and the ever-jinxed,
-- on Comedy Central's weekly-animated series South Park.
The brain-nugget of millennium-era auteurs
slackersomethings Trey Parker, aka The Romantic, and Matt
Stone, aka The
Math Nerd, South Park has consistently drawn the largest
any cable-tv show since its debut in August of 1997. It has
befuddled, bewildered, and bedraggled the religious right,
majority, and nearly anyone who refuses to acknowledge the
humor contained in canonized works by Moliere and Swift,
simultaneously winning the hearts and, er, gastroentological
Robert LoCash, co-writer and producer of comedies
like Naked Gun 33
1/3, High School High, and the Parker-Stone starrer
"(South Park) is so successful because you watch and go, 'I
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
boy. Graced with a Scarecrow-crop of
bottle-blonde-with-roots hair, a
minor pot-belly that could very well contain the good taste
to wear, and gaudy checkered pajama bottoms, Parker is fond
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
awry. By all accounts, he is the extroverted one, garrulous
with a knack
for numbers. Indeed, his college degree is in Mathematics.
me all the time, 'How did you become so successful?'" Stone
"The truth is: I have no idea. Yesterday, I was just a
nerd. Now all of a sudden I'm a rich dude making jokes about
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,"
Dian Bachar, the diminutive character actor who has served
sidekick/punching bag to Parker and Stone in three films.
"They are the
nicest guys, sincere and genuine and definitely very, very
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
but couldn¹t quite work up the nerve to move out to
confesses. "But as soon as they got Baseketball, they talked
into creating a part for me, too. Now I get to eat better
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
Just how exactly did these slacker everymen
explode onto the radar
screen of pop culture with the force and stench of 100
1) Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking, Part I. While
enrolled in a University
of Colorado film school, Parker wrote a feature-length
drolly titled Cannibal: The Musical, equal parts Oklahoma!,
Night of the
Living Dead, and Beavis and Butthead. Parker and Stone
$500 to shoot the funniest bits of the script and assembled
them as a
3-minute trailer, which they shopped around to Boulder
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
"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
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
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
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
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
festival in Park City, Utah, papered the streets with
posters and flyers
for Cannibal, and hosted a standing room only screening in
room. While the film, made four years ago, only recently
distribution, through Troma Pictures, home of cult-movie
Toxic Avenger, one of the audience members that fateful
night in Utah
was Brian Graden, a wisecracking studio exec interested in
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
featuring the now-famous inhabitants of South Park. The
X-rated profanity and a super-trippy kung-fu showdown
between Jesus and
Santa Claus that could have made Anton LaVey blush, quickly
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.
food-products provided much-needed sustinence.
5) Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking, Part III. Proving
unrelenting optimists once again, Stone and Parker hopped
their next project, the Parker scripted and directed,
Orgazmo, an absurd, screwball tale of a church missionary
who takes a
two-day job in the adult film industry to raise money for
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
adult film star named Choda Boy, Parker and Stone got the
Comedy Central: We want six episodes -- NOW! With about
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
and poo-poo humor, the show conjures up loads of
comparisons, while also
being wholly original: Howard Stern meets Wonder Years,
Does Dallas, Stand By Me by way of Dangerfield, Pryor, and
The show has become an international phenomena, a
ratings smash, a
marketing cashcow, and the subject of as much debate as
prowess with a zipper. Next March will see the release of
The Motion Picture. Besides promising an R-rated adventure,
Parker are reticent to reveal further details on the
production. "It's a beautiful, perverted secret, and we want
be surprised," Stone says. To keep Interneters from slamming
storyline back and forth across national borders, the
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
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
buddies created together a decade ago.
Trey, who finely-honed his acting chops in high
of "Grease" and "Flower Drum Song," leaped at the
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
Robert Vaughn, the former Man from U.N.C.L.E. Parker ran the
gauntlet with his romantic co-star "Baywatch" alum, Yasmine
During a dialogue-heavy scene, the film's only dramatic
turned to the beauty, perhaps better known for the fit of
than the crackerjacks on her resume, and playfully asked,
suck doing a scene with someone who can't act?" Parker was
Bleeth gave him a disgusted look and responded, "Yes."
Zucker had encountered Parker and Stone when they
their tv pilot, Aaron and Moses, a weekly buddy comedy about
biblical exodus featuring the irreverent musical stylings of
DVDA. "Trey and Matt are brilliant and funny," Zucker
gasses: "(On Baseketball), they completely filled the shoes
of my first
choice, Chris Farley."
The film, with its scatological, low-brow mix of
jokes is all that Beavis could only aspire to: a gasping,
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
may quickly slap this film as another sure sign of society's
destruction, but just try not laughing during this breezy,
The fast and furious career trajectory has left
Parker and Stone, who just a few years ago were secretly
rabbit-ears in their parents' basement to sneak vintage
episodes, a little dumbfounded, incapable of throwing their
wads at anything cooler than a new Toyota Celica -- "bought
off the lot," Parker boasts, though confessing, "mostly to
So what have we learned? 1) Sometimes making
those funny faces,
despite your mother's warnings that your face will get stuck
can be the first step in building a successful career. 2)
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
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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