Entertainment Weekly has a new South Park oral history out today, and it’s a great look into how Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “The Spirit of Christmas” shorts evolved into a smash hit Comedy Central series. Here’s an excerpt from former Comedy Central president Doug Herzog:
Anybody that tells you they knew it was going to be a hit—and the only people I would believe if they said that would be Matt and Trey—that’s just bullshit. Nobody knows, right? What we did know was it was really funny. We thought it was clever. And for a network that was still struggling to reach 50 million homes, we went, “At the very least this will get attention.” But then I bolted up in bed just nights before we put it on the air, in cold sweat, I swear to God. I was like, “Wait, can I get arrested for this? Is this legal?” The big thing at the time on cable was was how HBO would show some breasts on Dream On. You have to remember how far the culture has come, and how far the needle has moved in a good part of 20 years. There was nothing on TV like this. I don’t think anybody understood how funny, how smart, how ingenious it was going to actually be.
Read the rest over at Entertainment Weekly.