The creators of "South Park," like so many other comedians, just don't find President Trump funny anymore

"We couldn't keep up." The rest of America can't blame them

By Matthew Rozsa
Published February 3, 2017 7:50PM (EST)
 (Comedy Central)
(Comedy Central)

"South Park" has been around to spoof the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. When it comes to Donald Trump, though, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone aren't sure they can keep up.

"It's really tricky now, because satire has kind of become reality. So it is really hard to make fun of, and we actually just had the last season of ‘South Park’ ended a month and a half ago. We were really trying to make fun of what was going on, but we couldn't keep up," Parker said on Australia's "7:30" TV show.

"It was like what was actually happening was way funnier than anything we could come up with. So we just decided to back off and let them do their comedy and we'll do ours." Stone said, "People say to us all the time you know like, 'Oh, you guys are getting all this good material.' We're happy about some of the stuff that's happening. But I don't know if that's true. It doesn't feel that way."This isn't the first time that the creators of "South Park" have had an uncharacteristically somber reaction to the Trump phenomenon, which they parodied on their show by using perennial character Herbert Garrison as a Trump stand-in. During an interview with Vulture in July, Stone explained that he felt there was an important difference between the show's opposition to political correctness in comedy and the anti-PC arguments being used to justify Trump's brazen campaign rhetoric.

"Comedians especially, that’s probably where we identify and have the most sympathy with anti-PC forces, is within comedy," Stone told Vulture. "Not talking to people or trying to get elected. That’s a different standard. There’s shit that you shouldn’t say running for president that [character Eric] Cartman should totally be allowed to say within a satirical cartoon. When I see a politician or a Donald Trump say 'political correctness,' I’m like, 'That’s not the same shit that we’re talking about in the writers’ room. There’s satire over here in cartoons, and you’re standing onstage in a suit and you want me to vote for you.' Different standard, you know?"

Other comedians have expressed similar views on Trump since his election in November.

"I honestly don’t know how to talk about it," Janeane Garofolo told Salon in January. "I don’t have jokes — you can’t parody it, because it’s self-parody. And it’s just so tense." Later, she told an audience during one of her stand-up routines, "I don’t have jokes about it because if you’re a reasonable person who has any emotional intelligence or empathy of any kind, there’s a void. I’m bereft."

Another comedian, Joe List, told Salon that he has been avoiding discussing Trump because "if you’re pro-Trump then that’s not somebody who I’m really interested in engaging with." As put by Joe Harary, the manager at the comedy club The Stand, "Before the election there were a lot of jokes about Trump, and after the election it kind of fizzled out because they did so much of it."


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Matt Stone South Park Trey Parker