From the press side of things at Santa Monica's Barker Hangar on Tuesday evening, there wasn't much to smile about at the 15 th Anniversary Party for "South Park." Although the two guests of honor were in attendance, a good number of celebrity attendees failed to show before the press line was broken down.
It all started with the "Spirit of Christmas"
Nearly 20 years ago, Trey Parker and Matt Stone created "The Spirit of Christmas," an animated short featuring a battle between Jesus and Frosty the Snowman. At the request of FoxLab executive Brian Graden, they made a second version of the short, subtitled "Jesus vs. Santa," which Graden used as a Christmas card for friends.
According to reports, the two shorts circulated throughout Hollywood and became the foundation for what became the long-running series "South Park."
Producer Norman Lear on hand to honor Parker and Stone
Over 40 years ago, Norman Lear created "All in the Family," the first of a series of groundbreaking sitcoms that focused on issues that television hadn't honestly dealt with, including racism and rape.
Lear, a self-professed "South Park" fan, was on hand to honor Trey Parker and Matt Stone. When asked what he would have done if he had access to a network like Comedy Central, Lear said he hoped he would have created something like "South Park."
"But I couldn't; these guys (Parker and Stone) are just great. The greatest gift to the culture-the world culture-is their show in New York, 'The Book of Mormon,'" Lear said.
Lear is proud to say his kids also became "South Park" fans. "I have a grandson now who can't live without it," he said.
Jon Hamm does a run-by snubbing
Jon Hamm, a surprise guest at the "South Park 15 th Anniversary Party," only stopped for a few quick photos before jogging past the print and online press. Evidently, the "Mad Men" star didn't want to rehash his recent Emmy loss to Kyle Chandler.
"South Park" and its incredible turnaround time
One key to the popularity of "South Park" is the relevant nature of the show. On the fourth season episode entitled "Trapper Keeper," kindergarten student Ike gets involved in class election scandal that pokes fun at the 2000 Presidential Elections.
This episode aired just a week after the "hanging chad" controversy came to light. "We're on the same schedule that a 'Saturday Night Live' is," Trey Parker said. "We work on a show the week leading up until it airs and the day that it is supposed to air, that's when we lock it and it's done. And then we go on to the next show."
Matt Stone said that having everything done locally helps the quick turnaround. "A lot of it is that the technology has gotten so awesome. Like everybody else, our computers have gotten better, everything has gotten better," Stone said.
"And it's great that it looks like that," Parker said, pointing to the backdrop containing the "South Park" characters.
"It's not 'Avatar,'" Stone said with a smile.
"Downtown" Julie Brown gets off the couch
When MTV was in its music video heyday, "Downtown" Julie Brown was one the V-Jay's introducing the videos.
"I love 'South Park' because for me being British, we're very used to Benny Hill, 'Fawlty Towers,' that sort of 'slide in a little bit of naughtiness' humor," Brown said. "The thing with 'South Park' is that they brought it to the forefront so you can actually laugh loudly. You don't have to get it; you just have to know it's funny."
Saying she has been retired for 10 years, Brown said she just got off her couch for this event. "I have to say that's double the reason why I am a 'South Park' fan because it kept me in the loop with everything that was going on," she said.
Brown also has a new show launching on Billboard.com. "It's a live, 30-minute show that wraps up all the music info from Monday through Thursday. A new chart comes out on Thursdays, so I do a 'Top 10' countdown, live music guests in the studio. So I am coming back to do exactly what I love," she said.
New episodes of "South Park" will air beginning Wednesday, October 5 at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central
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