Comedy Central's "South Park" begins its 20th season on Wednesday night. Ahead of the episode, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker as well as several others with varying degrees of affiliation with the show over its 19 seasons.
Here are five things we learned:
1. Isaac Hayes — who voiced the character Chef until it was rumored he'd quit the show after taking exception to a Season 9 episode satirizing Scientology — didn't actually leave on his own volition, according to his son, Isaac Hayes III.
"What happened was that in January 2006 my dad had a stroke and lost the ability to speak," Hayes III clarified. "He really didn't have that much comprehension, and he had to relearn to play the piano and a lot of different things. He was in no position to resign under his own knowledge. At the time, everybody around my father was involved in Scientology — his assistants, the core group of people. So someone quit 'South Park' on Isaac Hayes' behalf. We don't know who."
2. The show's pilot, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe," took "60 or 70 days" to complete. "Every day we would be in Celluloid Studios in Denver — it was a slow time there," Stone said. "It was summer, so they just gave us the keys and we camped out there."
3. The band Primus recorded the theme song. And then a reluctant lead singer Les Claypool had to rerecord his vocals because Comedy Central said it was "too slow and not peppy enough."
"So they just sped it up and I redid my vocals," Claypool explained. "I believe I was playing Red Rocks [in Morrison, Colo.] and they sent one of their old high school chums up with a handheld tape recorder, and I just did my vocals into that."
4. Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant heavily featured in a Season 7 episode of the same name, is a real place.
"Four years ago, it came up for sale and we had 10 minutes of like, 'We should buy it,' because they do have a few things up there now where they're like, this is the 'South Park' Casa Bonita," Parker said. "There are people who go to Casa Bonita because of 'South Park.'"
5. Until relatively recently, Coloradans were the most ardent "South Park" critics.
"For a long time, Coloradans were the people and reporters who did not like us," Parker explained. "If you look back, reviews of the 'South Park' movie are almost 95 percent positive; the negatives were The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News."
Read the full oral history of "South Park" on The Hollywood Reporter.