June 30 marks the 15th anniversary of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut—the movie adaptation of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s iconic irreverent TV series—and co-songwriter Marc Shaiman is quick to award quite the superlative to his work on the now beloved animated film.
“It’s just about the most important movie or creative experience that I’ve ever had,” said Shaiman, a respected voice in the theater and film worlds for his musical/lyrical contributions to Broadway hits like Hairspray, TV shows like Smash, and movie scores ranging the scope from Sister Act to Sleepless in Seattle. “South Park was the most fun movie I’ve ever worked on, and certainly the thing that really led to me being asked to do Hairspray.”
With Broadway composing legend Stephen Sondheim among the film’s passionate fanbase, the movie remains one of the funniest and most fluid musicals ever put to film. Although it holds a fond spot in his memory, Shaiman actually hasn’t revisited the film since South Park’s premiere in June of 1999 at Grauman’s Chinese Theater: “Most premieres can be filled with industry people, always looking around at each other, not necessarily being the best or most attentive audience…but the premiere for South Park was unbelievable. People banging their feet and screaming and yelling. I just knew right away, I’ll never watch this movie again. The memory of that night is just so spectacular, I prefer to keep it incredibly precious.”
Still, that didn’t deter Shaiman from indulging with EW and revisiting the songs that made the movie great—sweeping ensemble choruses like “Mountain Town” and “La Resistance,” utterly ridiculous dance numbers like “It’s Easy, M’kay” and “Uncle F–ka,” and of course, the Academy Award-nominated “Blame Canada.”
Shaiman shares with EW a number of stories behind the creation of the songs, but he’s very clear about one thing: these songs were very much borne almost entirely from the brain of South Park co-creator Parker. “I’ve said it before: I was Igor to Trey’s Dr. Frankenstein,” Shaiman emphasizes. “The word genius gets thrown around a lot, but Trey truly is a genius. He can do it all. I understood and shared his sense of humor and musicality, but this was all Trey, and I was just along for the ride.”
(Warning: The following songs are pretty NSFW, but you obviously already knew that.) READ FULL STORY