Trey Parker met Matt Stone while the two attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where they later made their first animated short film, "The Spirit of Christmas" (also known as Jesus vs. Frosty). The pair used only construction paper and glue to create the characters, a method they employed again in creating South Park.
After graduation, Parker and Stone moved to Hollywood, where Parker worked on a pilot for a FOX sitcom that was never picked up. But a producer on the show had seen "The Spirit of Christmas," and asked Parker and Stone to make another version of the film that he could send out as a video Christmas card. The resulting film landed on the desk of an executive at Comedy Central, and the duo was asked to develop a show based on the film. In 1997, South Park was born.
South Park premiered on Comedy Central to generally negative reviews that focused on the show’s deliberately offensive subject matter. Audiences, however, embraced the show from the start and turned it into a sensation. Critics came around eventually, and South Park has earned four Emmys over its 15-year run, as of 2012. While the show was co-created with Matt Stone, South Park truly became a Trey Parker production, as he has directed virtually every single episode in its long run and has been the only credited writer since the second episode of the 2000 season (he co-wrote all the others).
Created for adult viewers generally, much of the humor of South Park would be lost on younger viewers, such as the references to other material, political satire, and lampooning of various famous figures. These features run through virtually every project Trey Parker has originated, from the South Park movie, to Team America: World Police, to the TV shows That’s My Bush! and How’s Your News'—all of which involve Parker’s biting brand of broad and targeted satire.
In 2011, The Book of Mormon, which lampoons organized religion and traditional musical theater, opened on Broadway. The production, which Parker co-created, co-wrote and co-directed, was a great success, earning him a Tony Award, a Grammy Award and a Drama Desk Award. The year 2012 marks the 16th season of South Park, and Trey Parker, always the gifted satirist, will undoubtedly continue to keep his audience, and his targets, guessing.
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