Special FeaturesThe Book of Mormon Clan Pick Their Favorite "South Park" Episodes
December 22, 2011
The cast of the Tony-winning musical The Book of Mormon has kept audiences laughing with jaw-dropping off-color humor and good old-fashioned musical comedy gold since those charismatic missionaries first rang the doorbell at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Feb. 24, 2011.
Playbill.com wondered what has the The Book of Mormon cast laughing off stage? Since the musical is written by Emmy-winning "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Tony-winning Avenue Q songwriter Robert Lopez, Playbill.com decided to ask the Book of Mormon troupers which "South Park" episodes and characters were their favorites.
Tony Award nominee Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon's inept Elder with a heart of gold and lover of all things sci-fi.
Favorite Episode: "Whale Whores" There is something so absurdly brilliant about the Japanese being so vengeful and vicious about their desire to wage a bloody war against dolphins and whales that leads to one of the funniest reveals I have ever seen. When we finally learn why the Japanese despise dolphins and whales, (because they were told by the American government that both animals were responsible for flying the Enola Gay), there is nothing to do but helplessly wipe away the tears of laughter at the insanity of the explanation. After all, who other than Trey and Matt can make something as awful as whale and dolphin massacre, so convincingly funny, by giving the Japanese such a crazy motive for going after them.
Favorite Moment: Two moments stand out. One, at the beginning of the episode - the Japanese massacre dolphins and whales everywhere (the ocean, an aquarium, a Sea World show) and then they run onto the Miami Dolphins field and kill the Dolphin players. And then my other favorite moment is when the American government realizes that something must be done to right the wrong of telling the Japanese that dolphins and whales flew the planes over Hiroshima. So they retract it and tell them that it was actually chicken and cows that flew the planes. I lost control at that point.
Favorite Character: While I am a staunch Cartman fan in general, this episode's best character was the sloppy Captain of the ship based on the Whale Wars captain. When he gets harpooned, I genuinely convulsed.
Brian Tyree Henry
The Book of Mormon's blood-thirsty General, Brian Tyree Henry.
Favorite Episode: To narrow down my favorite "South Park" episode would be an impossibility, but after much consideration and a glass of bourbon, I have decided that "Smug Alert" and "The Return of the Fellowship of the Lord of the Rings" episodes are by far the best. What I love the most about both of these episodes are not only are the children of "South Park" showcased but the buffoonery of their parents is also highlighted.
Favorite Moment: In "Smug Alert" [Randy] purchases a Prius not because he thinks it will save the environment but because everyone else has one. And it inflates his sense of being better than everyone else, creating a smugness that makes him and everyone else who owns a Prius love the smell of their own farts.
In the "Lord of the Rings" episode, it is almost a screen-by-screen remake of the movie where the boys reenact the movie as different characters. However the quest to return the "ring," which in actuality is what is considered "the greatest porno ever made," has the parents in an uproar to get the tape back from the children before they can return it or even watch it. Unbeknownst to everyone, Butters has witnessed what is on the tape and turns into a Gollum-like character referring to the porno as "my precious." "South Park" has been a huge staple of my childhood and adult life, and I couldn't be more thrilled that I was asked to do this. I will now go and cry in a corner for fear that I left any other episode I love out.
Favorite Character: My favorite character other than the brilliantly racist Eric Cartman would have to be Randy Marsh. Randy represents the upstanding American ideal of the everyman, but also the down-right retardation of the American everyman.
Nikki M. James
Tony Award winner Nikki M. James, who plays Nabulungi, a young villager with a dream of a better life.
Favorite Episode: Phew. There are way too many hilarious and outrageous episodes to choose just ONE. I'm going with two, and you can't stop me. I love "Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo" and "Canada on Strike."
Favorite Moment: I love season one. I remember watching it in high school and discussing it with all of my friends at the lunch table the next day. The "Christmas Poo" episode reminds me so much of the Peanuts holiday special. I also really love the musical-ish episodes, for obvious reasons. The song Kyle sings about being a Jew on Christmas is both heartbreaking and hilarious (kinda reminds me a of a sweet little ballad in Book of Mormon). Coming up with a "new" icon to make sure everyone feels included in the Christmas holiday is brilliant, but a Christmas POO? I mean, these guys are totally messed up. While the town goes crazy erasing Christmas, poor Kyle accidentally becomes a kinda prophet, and let's face it being a prophet is hard. This episode is really top-notch stuff, I believe in MR. HANKY!
"Canada on Strike" became a favorite of mine from the first time I watched it. At the time I was living in Canada working on a show at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival. All of my Canadian friends and I DIED laughing and spent weeks calling each other friend or guy or buddy. Buddy!
Favorite Character: Cartman. That little chubby kid is a complete egomaniac but is also wildly insecure and totally bizarre, plus his mom is hot.
Rory O'Malley, who plays tap-dancing missionary Elder McKinley.
Favorite Episode: "Cartoon Wars Part 1 and 2" This is the episode where everyone is freaking out because Mohammed is going to appear on an episode of "Family Guy," and the whole country is up in arms because the terrorists may retaliate. It's a two-part brilliant episode where they make fun of the writing of "Family Guy," "Simpsons" and their own show. It's a genius satire of their own art form and pushes freedom of speech to the max.
Favorite Moment in the Episode: At the climax of the episode when Mohammed is supposed to appear on "Family Guy," the screen goes black with a statement that Comedy Central will not allow that image on the screen. It was a huge reminder of the boundaries placed on freedom of speech and Matt and Trey's constant attempt to break them down. Brilliant!
Favorite Character: Manatees
Tony-winning Book of Mormon co-author Robert Lopez.
Favorite Episode: "Awesom-O" I think this may be the best of the Butters-Cartman episodes, which I think may be the best of the "South Park" episodes. There are no two more dynamically opposed characters on TV, leading to hilarious, intensely situation-based comedy. In this one Cartman pretends to be a robot in order to destroy an incriminating video Butters has of him. It's like a classic "I Love Lucy." Add that to Trey and Matt's sense of humor – Cartman as the robot becomes a Hollywood success pitching Adam Sandler movies – and something purely original, purely "South Park" emerges.
Favorite Moment: Cartman, exhausted and sweaty from wearing the cardboard box for days, trying to eat as much of a tube of toothpaste as quickly as he can.
Favorite Character: In this one, Butters. He's so dorky and naive and cute. I love the little songs he hums and his little epithets (aw, hamburgers!)
Michael Potts, the villager who tells the Mormon boys what "Hasa Diga Eebowai" is all about.
Favorite Episode: "The Return of Chef" (Death of Chef episode) I thought with him dead, they'd create a new black adult character and hire me! Is that wrong? Token was already taken.