FACT: I will watch, listen to, or read any interview involving Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In addition to being comedy heroes of mine, they’re funny and engaging as hell — just wonderful storytellers.
So it goes without saying that I made a point to DVR last night’s episode of 60 Minutes as Steve Kroft was slated to do a big profile on the two. It did not disappoint. Among my favorite aspects of the piece was the playing of some rare footage of a low-budget movie Parker and Stone made as teenagers: “Cannibal, the Musical.” I also enjoyed their telling of how South Park came to be — a story I’m quite familiar with but will never tire of hearing. From the show’s transcript…
Kroft narrating: They moved to Hollywood and spent three whole years as starving young artists, until a studio executive gave them $1,200 and asked them to make a video Christmas card that he could send to his friends.
Stone: We went back to Colorado. And we spent three or four weeks cutting out construction paper and we did this little thing called “The Spirit of Christmas.”
Kroft narrating: The primitive five-minute cartoon featured an epic battle between Jesus and Santa Claus over control of the holiday, as witnessed by a group of young boys that would eventually become the South Park kids.
Kroft narrating: The video became an underground sensation. Bootleg copies circulated all over the country, and ended up in the VCR machines of entertainment executives in L.A., New York and London.
Parker: That became so huge. I mean, it really was so viral, before YouTube and all that. All of a sudden, people wanted to meet us more. And we got meetings everywhere all of a sudden and people were like, “Ok, what do you want to do?”
Kroft narration: They eventually signed a contract to produce six episodes of a cartoon show based on “The Spirit of Christmas” for a fledgling cable network called Comedy Central. The show was named “South Park” after a real place in a remote part of Colorado, where Trey Parker says strange things always seemed to happen.
If you’ve never seen it, here’s the aforementioned video Christmas card Parker and Stone made that changed EVERYTHING…
Now go see Book of Mormon if you haven’t already. It’s amazing. Well done, bros.