Wednesday, March 13, 2002 Updated: March 15, 10:50 AM ET
Page 2 staff
He's the man who shuffles pop culture references in cardboard animation like Tony La Russa shuffles a 15-man pitching staff and somewhere between killing Kenny, satirizing Dubya and probably wondering if John Stamos has anybody else in his family to animate, Matt Stone took time out to take on Page 2's 10 Burning Questions.
Matt Stone, right, and Trey Parker in "Baseketball"
Half of the creative team behind "South Park," Stone (along with tag-team partner Trey Parker), has, in the first five seasons, brought America the Sexual Harassment Panda, the "handi-capable" Timmy, Big Gay Al and lots of other characters Disney probably won't let us publish. The duo also starred in the cult flick, "Cannibal, The Musical" as well as David Zucker's summer 1998 release, "Baseketball."
"South Park," which began its sixth season earlier this month, airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on Comedy Central.
Page 2's cardboard pop culture guru Ray Holloman caught up with the show's co-creator. Read on -- it's the closest you'll ever get to meeting Tina Yothers.
Of course we all know who the real winner is -- it's Wendy, with her Chewbacca costume.
1.It's the humble opinion of Page 2 that Eric Cartman is one of the great characters in the history of American television. With all due respect to your authoritaii as his co-creator, where do you think he ranks among the great American characters and what's it like having created something that is so much a part of the pop culture fabric?
Matt Stone: It's a total honor to have Cartman uttered in the same sentence with guys like Archie Bunker and Homer Simpson. I don't think we really think of "South Park" in those terms, but if people think so then it's an honor.
Do people feel the need to do a Cartman impersonation when they come up to you or Trey Parker (the voice of Cartman)? Stone: They do. It's really odd. First of all, people mix us up all the time, people call me Trey more than they call me Matt and they call Trey Matt more than they do Trey. People always mix us up. If they'd just do a 50-50 shot, they'd have better odds than now ... but yeah, people definitely do do the Cartman voice or something from "South Park," which is cool, but it's like "Why would we want to hear that?" I don't know why people do that. It's really the last thing in the world we want to hear. People come up and do one line from an episode or they do a voice and I'm like, "I remember, I kinda work on the show." I dunno if they think I'm gonna go, hey you're awesome?
Whose got the worst Cartman impersonation?Stone: I'm sure Trey has heard some bad ones ... and it's not so much that the vocal part needs to be tweaked most of the time, it's just like really bad acting. There have been a couple of people who do pretty good Cartman voices ... they tend to be fat girls with the right vocal timber. So there's a good chance if you hear a good impersonation, it might be a fat girl. Which I'm sure is great consolation to fat girls.
2.You and Trey starred in David Zucker's flick "Baseketball." Do you know the genesis of the sport baseketball was? Stone: I don't know exactly how it came about. It seems like the Zucker brothers invented it years and years ago. They actually used to play it at their house every Saturday. Then they tried to do a TV pilot with the concept but that failed, then of course they did a movie and we destroyed it.
What do you think about its actual (relative) popularity across the country?
Stone: Ya know, I got real stuff to do. I play real sports like basketball. I've got no interest in that game whatsoever, it's not even a sport. It's like chucking rocks at a tree. It sucks as a sport.
"Baseketball" has a very simple, glib interpretation of sports as a pure enterprise corrupted by free agency, money, etc., etc., etc. Was that the point of the Zucker's script and do you have that sort of attitude toward sports?Stone: That's sort of the jumping off point for the film, but it's meant more to have fun and the comment on sports is more of a basis than a statement. And yeah, it's not a courageous interesting position, that sports are ruined by a lack of continuity but the film is just there to have fun of it more than create some moral.
But yeah, it does suck now, some of the stuff that's going on, when you turn on the TV and Avery Johnson and LaFrentz are playing for the Nuggets one minute ... and now you've got Juwan Howard and Tim Hardaway ... stuff like that. It sucks. It is true that it's just hard to care about a team, when you get a new team every ... it's even more than every year, it's like twice a season, once every three months. The "Nuggets right now" have no relationship to the "Nuggets at the start of the season" and that lack of continuity hurts the game.
3.What kind of bet did Trey lose in the film so that you got to make out with both Jenny McCarthy and Victoria Silvstedt?Stone: I don't know what happened with that. I will say though, that if you watch the kiss with Jenny, it's pretty quick and hard. I think she got a busted lip from that. And Victoria Silvstedt is actually gross. She's just disgusting. People need to know about airbrushing, man. You're like, 'Wow you are not hot at all'. Maybe it was me that lost the bet.
Better kisser, Trey or Jenny? Stone: Hmm ... I'm gonna have to say Trey on that one. Although I hope I never ever have to kiss him again.
Was that kiss already in the script when you two decided to do the film, and if so, did you get hazard pay?
Stone: That was already in there, believe it or not. It was to make fun of all the other stuff. There were too many stupid (breast) jokes; we had to take the steam out of all of that. It was a screw you to everybody who thought it was just (breast) jokes and fart jokes.
Did Yasmine Bleeth walk around the set in a bathing suit, ya know, bouncing?Stone: Like "Baywatch"? No, it didn't happen. I only saw her like twice. She stayed in trailer with dumb boyfriend Richard Grieco all the time.
Who was cool to work with of all the various athletes and sports personalities who were in the film, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dale Earnhardt, Bob Costas?Stone: The only one we really got to meet was Kareem. Everybody else was just second-unit stuff. Kareem lived up to his legend of being pretty cold. Just didn't want to hang out that much. He's not real friendly guy. He wasn't mean or anything, but he couldn't care less about us. He is f---ing tall though.
4.Do you and Missouri hoops star Wesley Stokes have the same barber?Stone: I don't have a barber, that's the secret. I just let it go long and then shave it. Barbers are for women.
Yeah, and those of us who can't get women by virtue of having a TV show.Stone: Yeah, well, my hair didn't work before and it doesn't work now. And I don't have a TV show, I have a stinking cartoon show. Only like 15- and 16-year-old boys want to hang out with me and Trey. They're the only ones that come up to us, and they're nasty. Even if we were into boys they wouldn't be cute enough to go out with.
What about Trey and Christopher Lloyd? He's got a little bit of the Reverend Jim Ignatowski going on with the hair.
Yeah, I think he was going through his Jim phase. I'm just thinking maybe it was the drugs.
5.Do you ever hear from the various celebrities you make fun of in "South Park," such as Patrick Duffy, Kenny G, Brian Boitano? How do they handle it?
Stone: Not really and the few that I've met have been pretty cool with it. I did once meet this girl when I was out with guys and they're like here's Tina. And I say hi and start talking to her and everybody starts laughing. Turns out it was Tina Yothers and they're like this is Tina Yothers, you made fun of her. She thought it was great though. She's fronting a band (Jaded) she uses the soundbite to kick off her shows. She wasn't picking costumes, that's why I didn't recognize her.
Up yours, Tina Yothers!Seriously, though I interviewed Kristi Yamaguchi a few weeks ago and she said that Brian Boitano uses the "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" song from "South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut" in one of his shows and that he had skaters dress like the "South Park" boys. Were you aware of that?Stone: No, I didn't know about that, I think that's absolutely cool. See, people are pretty cool about it. Nothing's personal.
6.Season six of "South Park" premiered March 6 still without Kenny? The guy had career resiliency that Michael Jordan would envy. Is he really dead this time?
Stone: Yep, Kenny's dead. He might come back though, there might be something for Kenny in the future. It's funny that people care so much for Kenny, he's not even a character, he's like this orange blob that just moves around. People projected a lot of love on him.
So is Butters taking his place as the fourth member or are we just going to see a "South Park" trio with Kenny, Kyle and Cartman?Stone: Butters wants to be the fourth guy, but the other guys all liked Kenny better and they kinda wish Kenny was back. So we'll see what happens.
You did the voice of Kenny. Do you always have a script to follow for his stifled words or do you just mumble incoherent stuff?Stone: There's always something there, but normally I just sorta make it up on the spot.
7. The NCAA basketball tournament is coming up and we're wondering if there's any chance maybe Rick Majerus is a closet Cartman inspiration. Could Cartman take Rick?
Stone: I don't think so. Cartman's not a tough guy, he's a complete wuss, I think Majerus would beat the crap out of him.
8.You're a big NBA fan, being from Colorado and living in L.A. who do you root for?Stone: The Nuggets, but they suck ... and now that I live here, it's kinda cliché to be a Lakers fan, but I pull for them. Sacramento is fun to watch. New Jersey is fun, too, at least this year. I'm from Denver, but you just don't wanna support that team. They don't give you any reason to cheer for them putting out an awful team year after year.
Dude, you're talking to a Hornets fan. Preacher, choir, choir, preacher.Stone: Yeah, it's teams like that, like the Clippers, the Hornets who had guys like Eddie Jones and Alonzo Mourning and then trade them so they suck. It'd be different if they were putting out a bunch of young players trying and losing, but by just fielding cheap teams and losing, there's just no point in rooting for them.
9.Who do you guys look up to creatively?
David Cross of "Mr. Show"
Stone: There isn't a whole lot of good stuff going on now. "Mr. Show" on HBO was great and now they're doing a movie. There was "Space Ghost, Coast to Coast," on Cartoon Network, which was great. I just don't watch a lot of prime time stuff and things like that. I primarily watch CNN, the Discovery Channel, ESPN, and the DirecTV hockey and basketball package. I like Comic View on BET, it's got flava, f-l-a-v-a.
Oh trust us, in Bristol, Conn., we know all about flava, spelled with an A. It's Tony Danza funky.Stone: Right. Flava.
10.If you could have one superpower -- the ability to fly, the ability to be invisible or the strength of 100 men -- which would you choose and why? Stone: The ability to fly, especially if I could fly private. I just want to fly a jet, not even fly. Being able to fly -- I mean, flying like superman -- that sucks. I want to be able to pilot an airplane. And since already have the strength of 100 men, all I'd need then is invisibility.