Donald Trump’s electoral victory in November took nearly everyone by surprise, including South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In a new interview with The Ringer‘s Bill Simmons, Parker and Stone reveal that they actually had an entire episode prepped for the event of Hillary Clinton’s election, set to air the next night. When events went the other way, Stone and Parker had to radically change the episode in a very short time frame.
And so an episode that was supposed to be “The Very First Gentleman” became instead the more appropriately titled “Oh, Jeez,” though Stone and Parker did consider other options as well, including airing absolutely nothing.
“‘Go black was what we talked about,” Stone told Simmons. “[We talked about] airing the show as-is and just being like, ‘Here it is, it’s a document for history.’ We called [former president of Viacom Music and Entertainment] Doug Herzog and said, ‘We can’t get the show done. It’s just really screwed up, and sorry.’ And he was like, ‘I’m at The Daily Show, everyone’s crying, I’ll call you back,’ or something like that. It was like, his world was like, everyone was coming to him saying, ‘We can’t do this tonight.’ We show up Thursday morning and start another one. No time to process.”
“We just got to the dry-erase board and just started erasing s–t and filling in and going, ‘How can we line this all up to make it make sense?’” Parker added. “By 9:30 or 10 we kind of had it figured out. I think [Herzog] would have been OK with us just going black, but it was also nice for at least real die-hard South Park fans to see that everything was still [going]. Everyone was so shell-shocked and it was like you didn’t want to see that the world had changed. You wanted to be like, ‘OK, this horrible thing has happened, and [Trump] has been elected president, [but] South Park’s still on the air. The sun’s still rising. Water’s still clear.’”
Check out the full interview here.