Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s musical The Book of Mormon has finally made it to the West End. The controversial musical, written by the creators of ‘South Park’ and ‘Team America’, was a massive hit on Broadway, and London’s sure to love it too. Time Out London’s theatre editor Andrzej Lukowski picks Stone and Parker’s finest showstoppers from 20 years of near-the-knuckle pastiches of show tunes, rap and more.
‘Shpadoinkle Day’ (1993)
Pre-‘South Park’, then student Parker wrote, directed, produced and co-scored the cult film ‘Cannibal! The Musical’. A cheerily inappropriate parody of the cowboy romance, the film’s soundtrack is comprised of a series of wantonly inane ditties, none more so than this pathologically perky piece of nonsense.
Key lyric ‘I think I know precisely what I mean when I say it’s a shpadoinkle day.’
‘Chocolate Salty Balls’ (1998)
The jokes were more scatological than satirical in early ‘South Park’, but it’s easy to forget how popular they were. Penned by Parker, produced by the legendary Rick Rubin and performed by soul veteran Isaac Hayes as his lusty ‘South Park’ alter-ego Chef, this ribald comedy R&B number was a global smash, topping the UK singles chart in January 1999.
Key lyric ‘Say, everybody have you seen my balls? They’re big and salty and brown.’
‘Blame Canada’ (1999)
‘South Park’ came of age with the 1999 film ‘Bigger, Longer & Uncut’, and netted an Oscar nomination for this satirical ditty about international scapegoating, co-written by Parker and Marc Shaiman. Some Phil Collins rubbish eventually won, but ‘Blame Canada’ stole the show at the 2000 Academy Awards thanks to comic Robin Williams’s memorable – if not exactly tuneful – live rendition.
Key Lyric ‘They’re not even a real country, anyway!’
‘America, Fuck Yeah!’ (2004)
Pre-‘Mormon’, the faux-soft-rock soundtrack to Parker and Stone’s un-PC puppetbased action flick ‘Team America: World Police’ stood as their finest musical hour. Many of the best songs – including the glorious ‘America, Fuck Yeah!’ – were performed by the pair’s hard rock band DVDA. If you don’t know what it means, look it up. Maybe not at work.
Key lyric ‘Terrorist, your game is through, cos now you have to answer to America – fuck yeah!’
‘Everyone Has Aids’ (2004)
In the midst of the screamingly butch anthemic bombast in ‘Team America’, Parker let slip his love of musical theatre with this affectionate – if merciless – parody of ultra-worthy Broadway smash ‘Rent’.
Key lyric ‘Everyone has Aids! My grandma and my dog Old Blue, the Pope has got it and so do you.’
‘Let’s Fighting Love’ (2004)
Parker was on a soft-rock roll in 2004 – as well as ‘Team America’, he penned this genius parody of Japanese cartoon theme songs for the manga-homaging ‘South Park’ episode ‘Good Times with Weapons’.
Key lyric ‘Hey hey, let’s go, kenka suru, taisetsu na mono protect my balls.’
‘Gay Fish’ (2009)
‘South Park murdered me last night and it’s pretty damn funny,’ blogged a chastened Kanye West in the wake of the episode ‘Fishsticks’, a surreal demolition of the rapper’s bloated ego. ‘Gay Fish’, Parker’s accompanying parody of West’s Autotuned smash ‘Heartless’, was utterly sublime.
Key lyric ‘I really get around, I’m the slut of the sea, when I say I’ve got crabs, I mean it literally.’
‘I Believe’ (2011)
Sung by plucky Elder Price in a rare moment of self-doubt, this terrifically earnest old-school Broadway ballad offers a fond but merciless litany of Mormonism’s more outré beliefs and foibles. You can hear it now on ‘The Book of Mormon Original Broadway Cast Recording’, which was nominated for a Grammy and rose to number three in the Billboard charts, making it the biggest hit Broadway cast album since ‘Hair’ in 1969.
Key lyric ‘I believe that in 1978, God changed his mind about black people.’