As co-creator of South Park, one of the most highly-rated original series ever to grace Comedy Central, Trey Parker 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 October 19, 1969 in Conifer, Colorado (the town that would later inspire South Park's setting), Parker attended the University of Colorado at Boulder. There he met fellow student Matt Stone, 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 5-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 Broslofski, 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 Parker's acting, directing, and screenwriting turn in Orgazmo (1997) and his starring role in the David Zucker project BASEketball (1998), South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut hit movie screens across the country during the summer of 1999. The film became a modest hit even as its television counterpart continued to gather acclaim -- winning three consecutive Emmy's for Outstanding Animated Program starting in 2007. Later moving from animation to puppetry as the director of 2004's Team America: World Police, an outrageous satire of American foreign policy, Parker and longtime partner Stone made an even bigger leap -- this time to Broadway -- with the Tony Award-winning musical Book of Mormon in 2001.