As co-creator of South Park, one of the most highly rated original series ever to grace Comedy Central, Matt Stone is responsible for one of the most entertaining and gleefully disgusting shows in television history, a cultural phenomenon that has successfully polarized its equally fervent fans and detractors.
Born May 26, 1971, in Houston, TX, Stone moved to Littleton, CO, with his family when he was very young. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder as a math major, and it was there that he met fellow student Trey Parker, with whom he started making a series of crudely animated cartoons. In 1996, Parker and Stone collaborated on their first film, Cannibal! The Musical, which caught the attention of FoxLab executive Brian Graden. Graden commissioned them to make a Christmas video card, The Spirit of Christmas, a five-minute cartoon that featured the debut of the four foul-mouthed third graders who would become South Park's stars: fairly normal Stan Marsh, neurotic Kyle Broflovski, perpetually doomed Kenny McCormick, and fat and nasty Eric Cartman. The video -- its language uncensored -- quickly became the talk of Hollywood, and the guilty pleasure of watching four cartoon kids say bad words soon became the privilege of anyone with the cable channel Comedy Central. Debuting August 13, 1997, South Park became both hit and subject of controversy, as it was often invoked as yet another example of the popular-culture depravity corrupting America's children.
However, controversy did not stop the show's rapid ascent to a place of honor in America's pop culture lexicon. Following Orgazmo (1997), the Parker film that Stone produced, and BASEketball (1998), in which he starred with Parker, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut hit movie screens across the country during the summer of 1999. The film became a modest hit, further establishing Stone's reputation as one of Hollywood's most successfully idiosyncratic talents. In the meantime, when he wasn't earning Emmy nominations for South Park or teaming with longtime partner Parker for the mock-patriotic puppet comedy Team America: World Police (2004), Stone was racking up producer credits on projects like How's Your News -- a documentary series featuring disabled reporters exploring various topics -- the short-lived political satire That's My Bush, and Kenny Vs. Spenny, which featured two hyper-competitive best friends taking part in a series of outlandish challenges. In 2011, Stone, Parker and Avenue Q creator Robert Lopez debuted the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, which followed two naive Mormon missionaries on a trip to Uganda, where their efforts to share their religion are repeatedly sidelined by a ruthless warlord, famine, disease, and poverty. The recipient of nine Tony awards including Best Musical, The Book of Mormon also earned a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.