SAN DIEGO – Earlier this evening, I sat in on the packed Hall H panel for South Park's 20th season with creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with Chris Hardwick serving as moderator. Here are 20 big highlights from the wildly-entertaining Q&A.
1. The creators of Pokemon Go basically stole their idea (kind of).
“We did an episode called 'Chinpokomon' where the kids were just buying dolls, and the dolls had a chip in them that could track where the kids were and send all the info to Japan so that they could control America and bomb Pearl Harbor. I'm like, they ripped off our fucking thing!”
2. The studio wanted to make South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut PG-13.
“The reason to do the movie was to make it R-rated. We had a big argument with the studio [because they wanted to make it] PG-13. And we're like, 'we're not doing PG-13.' Because you know, we do that on the show!”
3. “Simpsons Did It” has turned into “South Park Did It.”
“This has literally happened in the past two years many times. We'll both sit there and we'll go, 'oh and then this could happen and this could happen.' And like a couple hours will go by and…it's like 'dude, somebody did this.' And it's like 'no, we did that ten years ago. Shit, we did that already!'”
4. They've wanted to quit the show every single season.
“The middle of every season I'm like, 'we're fucking done…fuck this, we can't do this anymore.' And then the season ends and it's like, 'oh, that was pretty funny.'”
5. Parker is turning into Randy Marsh, a.k.a. his dad.
“I remember the first five, even probably ten years, I would do Randy and I'd go in the booth to record him and I'd do an impersonation of my Dad. And now, I just do my voice…that's just me.”
6. They're still taunted about arguably their worst career moment.
“That still will happen, we'll walk down the street together and someone will go, 'Baseketball!'“
7. The 1999 Academy Awards, where they celebrated their Best Original Song nomination by wearing dresses and dropping acid, is pretty much a blur.
“We don't remember much from the Academy Awards. We just remember coming down off the acid and sitting there in the seats going, 'dude.' And at that point, it was really like, 'please don't let us win. I don't wanna go up on the stage right now.' And luckily Phil Collins won and we went and had spaghetti.”
8. The makers of Warcraft actually helped them with their Warcraft-themed episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft.”
“To be able to put it in our show…it was so much fun. Warcraft, they helped us make the [episode].”
9. Trey Parker has a hilarious Elon Musk anecdote.
“It's pretty funny…about two months ago, I played D&D [Dungeons and Dragons] with Elon Musk. That was really fun…the best part of it was, before we were playing, I was like, 'we shouldn't spend a lot of time doing character creation cause we're gonna start at level 1.' And it was basically like, I was just emailing, and I'm all, 'if you just wanna tell me sort of what class of race you wanna be, I'll do the sheets'…and maybe 20 seconds later, an email came back: human paladin.”
10. The famed “Woodland Critters Christmas” episode came out of a period of extreme writers' block at the very end of Season 8.
“We're like, fuck…we did Team America and we did all these episodes and we're gonna miss [the season order] by one episode? We're gonna have to call Comedy Central and say sorry? And you know, it was like, 'let's just put some stupid fucking thing on.' It was Christmas time again, or whatever, and we were like, 'let's just do a fucking Christmas Critter orgy.'”
11. They love writing for the show's female characters, including Stan's on-again, off-again girlfriend Wendy.
“There's episodes that have been Wendy-focused, when it's from her point of view, that we actually really enjoy writing.”
12. Like almost everyone, they thought Donald Trump's run for president would be a flash in the pan when they built an entire episode around him last season.
Stone: “At the time, we were just kinda like, yeah, this Donald Trump thing is pretty funny, let's make fun of that before it's over. We were worried that that was gonna be one of those episodes we'd look back and be like, 'why'd we do a whole episode about that?'”
Parker: “Unfortunately we've already raped and killed him.”
13. The celebrity target Stone felt most righteous about: famous “psychic medium” John Edward.
“That John Edward [episode]…”The Biggest Douche In The Universe.” That was something we really felt like, fuck that guy. That's really fucking bad. You know, there was kind of no equivocation…that's a really cruel thing [he does].”
14. One of Parker's favorite recent memories: taking his stepson and young daughter to the real Casa Bonita in the Denver suburb of Lakewood.
“My favorite thing I did was a few months ago was I took my stepson and my three year old daughter to Casa Bonita. To see Casa Bonita through her eyes…for her to go through Black Bart's Cave and be like, 'woah, it's huge!' Was just the greatest thing ever.”
15. Speaking of Casa Bonita: Parker came this close to buying it.
“We found out about two years ago that Casa Bonita was for sale. And I was like, 'I am fucking buying Casa Bonita.' But by the time I read [about it], a company had already swooped in and bought it.”
16. Making Team America was so excruciating they'll never work with puppets again.
Stone: “I don't think another puppet movie is in the cards…one puppet movie's enough, yeah. We were very proud of it, and it's a cool movie, but it was excruciating. The puppets are like that big, and they don't do anything […] we really dug a hole for ourselves.”
17. Having to find new ways to kill Kenny eventually became a creative obstacle.
“It was fun and it was awesome and it was fun, and it was rebellious at first…and then it got to be like homework.”
18. Sean Penn wrote them an angry letter after seeing the trailer for Team America — only to unintentionally reinforce their perception of him.
“Sean Penn wrote us this angry letter that we were reading, and we're like, 'is this a joke?' Cause he was saying shit that we were making fun of him [for] saying…if you haven't seen Team America, Sean Penn, all he does is he goes, 'I've been to Iraq!…You wanna talk about Iraq? I've been to Iraq!'…but then the last part of [the letter], Matt's reading the thing, and it said…'You know, I've been to Iraq.'”
19. A woman from the audience asked a question in character as Tweek.
I'm not kidding!
20. Parker took a selfie with the packed Hall H crowd.
Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
South Park Season 20 premieres September 14 on Comedy Central.