In a Chatroom With Matt Stone

South Park masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone have recently become the toasts of Broadway, with their new musical Book of Mormon receiving rave reviews and selling tickets like crazy. Lucky for us then that Mr. Stone found the time amid all the theater mania to sit down and have an online chat with us.

Matt Stone
hola

Richard Lawson
Hello!

Richard Lawson
Did you have any trouble finding the place?

Matt Stone
no. pretty easy.

Richard Lawson
Are you coming to us from LA?

Matt Stone
coming to you from an undisclosed location in manhattan.

Richard Lawson
A secret Broadway bunker.

Brian Moylan
How has the Manhattan theater scene been treating you?

Brian Moylan
Late nights at Angus McEndoe?

In a Chatroom With Matt Stone

Matt Stone
You know, people had warned us that the Broadway scene was snooty, but it really has been pretty great.

Matt Stone
i like theater people. they hug a lot.

Brian Moylan
Especially that Kristen Chenoweth....man...

Richard Lawson
They certainly do.

Richard Lawson
It seems like theatre folk have been waiting for a show like yours. Something to "shake things up."

Richard Lawson
Did all those rapturous reviews surprise you and the creative team?

Matt Stone
Yeah, i guess... It's weird. I always had faith in the material but thought maybe it would work for a narrower group. like south park fans and younger people.

Matt Stone
but we are getting a lot broader audiences. it's pretty cool.

Richard Lawson
I saw the show two weeks ago, and there was such a range of people!

Matt Stone
i'd like to act cool, but the reviews were pretty thrilling.

Brian Moylan
That's the funny thing about Broadway, people say you have to write for the old ladies who buy tickets, but if you make a show for younger people, they'll show up...at full price!

Matt Stone
old people were young once. they have been laughing the hardest.

Matt Stone
a lot of grey heads in those audiences....

Brian Moylan
So, why are Mormons so easy to laugh at?

Matt Stone
i'm not sure. they choose to put forward such a plucky attitude and such a wholesome image.... that is just funny to fuck with.

Matt Stone
but it is fucking with people's impression of mormons too that is funny.

Brian Moylan
Why settle on the Mormons?

Matt Stone
the project really started because trey and i had been talking about a mormon musical for years and then we met bobby lopez and he had too.

Matt Stone
it was just a crazy coincidence that had to be further explored...

Richard Lawson
Destiny.

Matt Stone
you could call it that

Matt Stone
or fate

Brian Moylan
Maybe you should have called the musical Destiny's Child

In a Chatroom With Matt Stone

Matt Stone
i like the american-ness of mormonism. both in its presentation and in it's scripture.

Matt Stone
musical theater is also pretty american. i don't know if that matters but it seems cool

Richard Lawson
Indeed. the American art form meets the American religion

Richard Lawson
There's a lot of squareness to tweak on both sides

Brian Moylan
But then you put that American religion and artform in a foreign, primitive culture. Does your comedy always come from a place of subversion?

Matt Stone
there always has to be the "why" of anything we do. even if that "why" only makes sense to us.

Matt Stone
the subversion here was to do an actual big, real traditional broadway musical

Matt Stone
not try to fuck with the form

Matt Stone
not try and reinvent

Matt Stone
we thought that was the last thing people would expect

Richard Lawson
I was so pleasantly surprised by how traditional it is. I know you guys are longtime musical fans. Were you nervous to plant your flag in the theater big leagues?

Matt Stone
yeah, pretty nervous

Matt Stone
that first preview was terrifying

Matt Stone
i drank a lot of scotch and tequila this last month

Richard Lawson
I mean, you didn't have Taymor or Bono. A Broadway dream team!

Matt Stone
they are probably downing booze drinks

Richard Lawson
I hope so

Richard Lawson
Was there any specific reason you didn't try-out out of town?

Matt Stone
we had a lot of workshops in town. more then your average musical and there was this moment where we just said "fuck it" let's go for it.

Matt Stone
nothing more then that.

Matt Stone
and the fact that the subversive element was to do this material on broadway

Matt Stone
"fuck you god" off broadway isn't that funny.

Richard Lawson
right. You need to be around the velvet seats and ornate wall paneling

Brian Moylan
Do you think people have a false sense of propriety about what should and shouldn't be on Broadway?

Matt Stone
it feels like the medium is right on 49th street.

Matt Stone
i'm not sure about that. i really feel like an outsider to broadway and how and what shows get to make it.

In a Chatroom With Matt Stone

Matt Stone
think about how weird the material is in cabaret

Matt Stone
or fiddler? it only makes sense in retrospect.

Matt Stone
fiddler takes place during some heavy shit.

Richard Lawson
People are willing to swallow a lot if they can chase it with a song.

Brian Moylan
Or Chicago, which has been running for ages. But you guys say the word "cunt" and the world goes into an uproar.

Matt Stone
cunt is such a great word. it's underappreciated here in america.

Matt Stone
love cunt.

Richard Lawson
"love cunt." - Matt Stone. We have our pullquote!

Richard Lawson
So let's fast forward a year or two. The show goes on tour. Does it do a sit-down in SLC?

Matt Stone
Oh we would love to bring the show to slc. it will play there in some form at some point.

Matt Stone
maybe even just a high school production!

Brian Moylan
HA! That would be brilliant

Richard Lawson
The scrotum maggots kid will be the toast of his school!

Brian Moylan
South Park has been on the air for years and people still love all the reruns and DVDs, do you think this will have as long of a shelf life on Broadway?

Matt Stone
I'd love it to have a long life. broadway and theater is weird. there is no guarantee. it will run as long as we can sell tix.

Matt Stone
but i have no idea.

Matt Stone
i just hope all my friends get to see it!

Richard Lawson
tickets are hard to come by. but I'm sure you have special house seat privileges.

Matt Stone
i have some pull.

Richard Lawson
So is your appetite whetted now? Are you and Trey going to become the new Kandor & Ebb?'

Matt Stone
i think we are happy going back to south park and then take a vacation man. we are pretty spent.

Matt Stone
no more musical ideas on the tip of our brain.

Matt Stone
but we are open to suggestion

Richard Lawson
you act as if writing and putting up a Broadway musical is a lot of work.

Matt Stone
the work work has been spread out over seven years. but the last couple months has been more emotionally intense then i thought it would be. good intense. nervous intense. just intense.

Matt Stone
sitting in the room with a thousand people laughing or NOT laughing is stressful

Matt Stone
i'm kind of a softy at this age. we don't get out a lot. we animate our shit and stay home.

Matt Stone
so this was new

Brian Moylan
Is that the biggest difference between this and south park or your movies? The audience?

Matt Stone
yep. the audience is a necessary part of the writing process in theater.

Brian Moylan
How did that change your creative process?

Matt Stone
you need them to finish it. thus previews. totally different then a movie or tv

Matt Stone
we had to work with real people for once!

Matt Stone
and we were lucky to have such talented people. Josh Gad is amazing

Matt Stone
Andrew Rannells Nikki James

Matt Stone
they were a huge part of cracking the characters and the story.

Richard Lawson
Nikki James blew the roof off

Matt Stone
she is amazing. such a smart performer

Matt Stone
she really is perfect in the role

Brian Moylan
So, what about the Tonys? Are you going to show up in drag on acid?

Brian Moylan
Can I be your date?

Matt Stone
drag at the tonys is a different joke. maybe not as funny.

Matt Stone
i'm too old for acid nowadays

Matt Stone
i did my share in my twenties though

Brian Moylan
I hear Patti LuPone has some fierce mushrooms though...

Matt Stone
she is a huge tripper.

Matt Stone
you can tell by her smile.

Richard Lawson
She still thinks she's doing Gypsy. everywhere she goes

Matt Stone
she is doing it at burning man this year

Brian Moylan
It's like that kid in high school who took acid and now thinks he's organge juice....Patti thinks she's always Gypsy Rose

Matt Stone
i guess that's better then orange juice so she is lucky....

Richard Lawson
So shifting gears, can I get political? A friend wanted me to ask what Team America would think of Libya and the no-fly...

Matt Stone
oh man, i have no idea. i think team america is still busy chasing kim jong il on his planet somewhere. his roach planet

Richard Lawson
Is that near the Mormon planet where Jesus lives?

Matt Stone
yeah!

Matt Stone
probably!

Brian Moylan
He and Kim Jong Il have brunch

Matt Stone
not too far-fetched if you think the book of mormon is true

Matt Stone
and team america is a documentary

Matt Stone
why not?

Brian Moylan
As long as you don't say Mohammad lives in space, you're probably safe...

Matt Stone
probably safe.

Richard Lawson
So who's someone you're dying to rip on on South Park? I feel like the world is filling up with hilarious/scary crazies right now.

In a Chatroom With Matt Stone

Matt Stone
none really to tell you the truth. we have been so busy with Book of Mormon. we haven't even thought about south park.

Matt Stone
i'm sure we will come up with something. we better.

Matt Stone
but no one in particular

Matt Stone
suggestions?

Richard Lawson
You could just air footage from the Iowa summit stuff and no one could tell the difference, maybe.

Brian Moylan
Maybe you should take the South Park kids on a field trip to Broadway. There's plenty to make fun of there

Matt Stone
we could. the kids in south park kind of dance and sing all the time

Matt Stone
they would probably dig broadway

Brian Moylan
Speaking of which, you and Trey are big into musical theater. How do you get away with that and not come off as totally gay?

Matt Stone
we do come off as gay. look at us! we just don't give a shit if we do.

Matt Stone
seeming not gay isn't really that important to us

Richard Lawson
Have you guys seen Spider-Man?

Matt Stone
yes

Brian Moylan
And.....

Richard Lawson
Did you love it, or LOVE it? (those are not your only options...)

Matt Stone
no comment

Brian Moylan
He wants Taymor to direct Team America: The Musical

Brian Moylan
there are puppets

Richard Lawson
Broadway has turned you into a diplomat!

Matt Stone
look at me! i suck now. but that's what getting old will do to you.

Brian Moylan

I blame the short hair...

Matt Stone
we would do team america the musical only with a budget of 700 million dollars.

Richard Lawson
that seems reasonable.

Brian Moylan
That's only half what they paid for Spider-Man

Matt Stone
i think we could do a great musical if we had a 700 million dollar budget

Matt Stone
who couldn't?

Richard Lawson
What was the most expensive thing in BOM?

Matt Stone
wow. i'm not sure... there isn't really one big thing that cost a ton. everything was done to a certain level but nothing over the top

Brian Moylan
If you could mount a revival of any musical what would it be?

Matt Stone
i'm not sure what i would revive

Matt Stone
maybe fiddler starring sacha baron cohen

Richard Lawson
feat. Gwen Stefani in "If I Were a Rich Man"

Matt Stone
sounds pretty great right?

Matt Stone
sacha singing tradition would kill

Brian Moylan
You know he would add some hilarious ad libs every night

Matt Stone
one of the funniest humans alive

Brian Moylan
So, is there anything everyone needs to know about Book of Mormon?

In a Chatroom With Matt Stone

Matt Stone
honestly i hope people have a great night out when they see it

Matt Stone
that is a cool thing to be able to give people.

Matt Stone
if it works

Matt Stone
and there is cunt in it a few times

Brian Moylan
Is there anything the audience can do to enhance their viewing experience?

Richard Lawson
read Under the Banner of Heaven perhaps?

Brian Moylan
Auto-erotic asphyxiation?

Matt Stone
well there is the aforementioned fungal obsessions....

Matt Stone
under the banner of heaven is cool too

Richard Lawson
Well, I think that's about our time! Thanks for doing this weird e-interview. It's like we're in an AOL chatroom.

Brian Moylan
Except there's only one pedophile

Richard Lawson
sssh!

Matt Stone
thanks guys!

Matt Stone
very fun!

Richard Lawson
good luck in June at the Tonys. kick Catch Me If You Can's ass!

[Photos via Getty Images and WENN.com]