Splitsider

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Checking In…with the Writers of South Park Not Named Matt or Trey

When we think of South Park, which concludes its 15th season next Wednesday (please catch up on Lindsey Bahr's excellent recaps if you're behind), we think of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They do nearly all of the voices, direct almost every episode (Trey, in particular), and write virtually every episode. Or do they? *Record scratch* Well, yes, they do, but they DO have help, from "staff writers" or "staff consultants," something that's not often mentioned. Below are only but a few of the fantastic writers who have helped shape South Park's vision over the years, and what they're up to these days.

Pam Brady (Consultant Writer, 1997-2007; Producer, 1997-2008)
Of the many writers on this list, Pam Brady is the one whose presence was the largest around Matt and Trey. She’s known the two of them since their Cannibal! The Musical and Time Warped days, and Brady co-wrote “Damien” and “Starvin’ Marvin,” both from season one. She’s also a co-writer of South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Brady would continue to be inconsistently active with South Park until 2008 (and she actually appears on-screen during “Tweek vs. Craig”), and she also wrote for and produced Just Shoot Me!, as well as co-created The Loop with Will Gluck. Brady wrote Hot Rod and co-wrote Team America: World Police with Matt and Trey and Hamlet 2 with Andrew Fleming, and recently created Neighbors from Hell. (She also created Mr. Wong, that Internet series from back in 2000, with Kyle McCulloch, who we’ll get to later. But let’s not mentioned that ever again, OK?)

Dan Sterling (Staff Writer, 1997-1998)
Dan Sterling has the distinction of being the first Other South Park writer; he helped pen episode number five, “An Elephant Makes Loves to a Pig,” all the way back in 1997. Around that same time, Sterling wrote for The Jon Stewart Show, too, and he’s gone on to do the same for Jesse, Kitchen Confidential, and King of the Hill (including standout “An Office and a Gentle Boy”). He was a head writer for The Sarah Silverman Program, which he also produced and occasionally directed, too. Sterling’s working with Silverman again, as well as fellow writer Jon Schroder, on the comedian’s upcoming NBC show, about a woman readjusting to single life after getting out of a long-term relationship.

Philip Stark (Staff Writer, 1997-1999)
I enjoy Philip Stark’s professional career a lot. It began in 1997 with South Park, where he received co-writer credits for season one's “Pinkeye” and "Mecha-Streisand.” Then, after departing the show in 1999 as a staff writer, he wrote possibly the greatest movie ever, Dude, Where’s My Car?, ensuring a lifetime’s worth of royalties — royalties being free beer from college students until the day he dies. Around this same time, Stark teamed up with Ashton Kutcher again and began producing, editing, and writing for That '70s Show, a gig which lasted until 2006.

Nancy Pimental (Staff Writer, 1998-2001)
In an article dating back to 2002, Esquire would like you to know that Nancy Pimental is a “fun woman.” No idea what that means, but good to know. Former-Renegade Duck Pimental became a staff writer for South Park in 1998, and her name is attached to the scripts for “City on the Edge of Forever” (the first episode of the show I ever saw, FYI), “Summer Sucks,” “Clubhouses,” “Cow Days,””Merry Christmas, Charles Manson!” and “Prehistoric Ice Man,” all from season two, as well as season four’s “The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000.” Speaking of 2000 (like that?), Pimental became the co-host of Win Ben Stein’s Money that year, replacing Jimmy Kimmel. In 2002, she wrote the totally underrated The Sweetest Thing, starring Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate, and has since appeared in Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, and the "Boobs for Obama" video. She is now a writer and producer for Showtime’s excellent Shameless.

Kenny Hotz/Kyle McCulloch (Consultant Writer, 2004-2006/1999-2005; Producer, 2006-2008)
The last time an episode of South Park was credited to anyone other than just Matt Stone and/or Trey Parker was in 2005, for “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow.” It was written by Parker, and Kenny Hotz and Kyle McCulloch. Canadian-born McCulloch wrote for the show from “Rainforest Shmainforest” in 1999 to 2005’s “Bloody Mary,” at which point he became a producer. He’s also done some voice work, too, including Stewie Griffin in “Cartoon Wars” and as Stan’s introduction to Mormonism, Gary. McCulloch has written episodes of Spongebob Squarepants and That’s My Bush, and voiced various characters in TBS’ Neighbors from Hell. Hotz, on the other hand, is the creator/co-star of Comedy Central’s much-loved Kenny vs. Spenny, as well as the mind behind The Papal Chase, a documentary about a friend betting Kenny $1,000 that he can’t meet the Pope, and Pitch, featuring Kenny and Spencer Rice trying to pitch a film to famous people, including Roger Ebert, at the Toronto Film Festival. All three projects are highly recommended. Most recently, he starred in Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will, a Canadian series about “taking on nearly impossible missions with a Dateline approach, like proving that pigs are too smart to be eaten and trying to find love for his widowed mother.”

Vernon Chatman (Consultant Writer, 2001-2007; Producer 2007-2011)
As the voice of Towelie (as well as Tiger Woods), as well as a consultant writer from 2001’s “It Hits the Fan” to 2007’s “The List,” Vernon Chatman is beloved by many, yet unknown to most casual South Park fans. He began as a writer for The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show in 1997, before moving on to The Chris Rock Show (where he won an Emmy), Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and That’s My Bush. Chatman’s also the co-creator of Wonder Showzen, Xavier: Renegade Angel, and, um, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle. He’s a member production company/art-rock collective PFFR Forever Ltd., along with John Lee, Alyson Levy, and Jim Tozzi. They’ve released three albums (most recently, United We Doth), two films (including Chatman’s Final Flesh), and currently produce Delocated and The Heart, She Holler together.

Karey Dornetto (Staff Writer, 2002)
Karey Dornetto, who worked as a staff writer for South Park’s sixth season in 2002, has written/co-written many of the best episodes of Community, including "Contemporary American Poultry" (a.k.a., the Goodfellas one) and “Epidemiology” (a.k.a. the zombie Halloween one). She has also written for iCarly, The Knights of Prosperity, Arrested Development ("Prison Break-In), Dog Bites Man, and Portlandia. Dornetto, a recent inclusion in Out Magazine's 100 Issue, also notably created Brants, the world's "first ever bra pant solution," and The L Word parody, "Hi, I'm Ilene", and she wrote a book, too, entitled 101 Ways to Shave Your Ass. She has a very amusing and helpful website.

Theresa Mulligan (Consultant Writer, 2004)
Theresa Mulligan got her first acting gig in November 1995, in the “The Cry of a Hungry Baby” episode of Mr. Show. She would continue to occasionally appear on the sketch show until 1997. Seven years later, in 2004, she began writing for South Park’s fantastic eighth season (we’re talking “Good Time with Weapons,” “The Passion of the Jew,” and “Woodland Critter Christmas” here, people). From there, she went on to write for The Loop, Cavemen, and How I Met Your Mother, including “Blitzgiving,” where she was credited as Thersea Mulligan Rosenthal after marrying fellow comedy writer Jeff Rosenthal. She’s also been an executive producer for HIMYM, as well as Whitney.

Jonathan Kimmel (Consultant Writer, 2004-2008)
Jonathan Kimmel, the younger brother of Jimmy, has a long history of working with Comedy Central. Kimmel was a consultant writer on South Park from 2004-2008 (he also voiced Peter Griffin in "Cartoon Wars" and one of the homeless men in "Night of the Living Homeless), but his affiliation with the network also includes writing for That's My Bush, Crank Yankers, and The Man Show, and producing Drawn Together and acting on The Sarah Silverman Program. He began writing for his brother's show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in 2009, and now works as a director. He is an avid Twitter-er.

Kristen Schaal (Consultant Writer, 2007)
The first of the two big-name breakouts from the Others, Kristen Schaal was hired as a consultant writer for South Park’s eleventh season, back in 2007. That was the same year she got her big break as Mel on The Flight of the Conchords, and since then, she’s become one of comedy’s most dependably hilarious stars, with roles in Toy Story 3, Get Him to the Greek, and Shrek Forever After, and on Modern Family and Bob’s Burgers, where she voices Louise, one of my favorite current TV characters. She wrote a book, Sexy Book of Sexy Sex, with her husband, Daily Show writer Rich Blomquist, and co-hosts variety show Hot Tub with Kurt Braunohler. She can currently be seen on Adult Swim’s The Heart, She Holler, and is set to do voice actor work for Disney Channel’s upcoming animated series, Gravity Falls, about two city kids spending their summer in Oregon. The Simpsons once misspelled her name, and looked like idiots for having done so.

Brad Neely (Consultant Writer, 2007-2009)
One of the happiest moments of my life was when I heard Brad Neely for the first time. I was wasting my life flipping through videos on YouTube, then like a Seeker finding the Snitch, I came across Wizard People, Dear Reader, a much-improved retelling of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by Neely. There’s Ronnie the Bear, Roast-Beefy O'Weefy, Professor Queerman, and so many more. He’s also the creator, writer, and producer of Adult Swim’s China, IL, based on his web series The Professor Brothers and I Am Baby Cakes. (He’s an incredibly prolific viral video genius, and you might remember many nights in college watching “George Washington,” about the 6’8 former-President who weighed a fucking ton.) For more about Neely, check out his website Creased Comics — just be sure you're ready to spend a couple of hours there.

Bill Hader (Consultant Writer, 2008-2009; Producer, 2009-2011)
Bill Hader’s the biggest name of the Others, due to his seven years-plus on Saturday Night Live, as well as his roles in Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, his first starring gig. He’s (un)credited as a consultant writer for such classic South Park episodes as “Fishsticks” and “Over Logging,” and he’s worked as a producer, too. He also voiced Farmer #2 in “You’re Getting Old.” Outside of continuing to work as a cast member on SNL, Hader will appear in Men in Black III as Andy Warhol; he also has an unspecified role in 2013’s The To-Do List, alongside Aubrey Plaza, Donald Glover, Connie Britton, and many more people you wish were your friends.

Josh Kurp wants everyone above to be his friend.

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  • Joe Bastian

    Recently, Robert Lopez co-wrote the episode "Broadway Bro Down", making it the first episode since "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow" to be written by an outsider.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Boschert-Zielsdorf/1061137029 Max Boschert Zielsdorf

    One of the few chances to talk about Brad Neely, and you missed it? Worst.

  • http://www.SouthParkMolestationIndex.com SPMolest

    While not as well-known as the other writers, Susan Arneson has been a creative consultant for SP since 2006 and has more episode credits than most of the other consultants. More info here.

  • Lawks O'Lordy@facebook

    Isn't Robert Popper a writer on South Park now?