20 Celebrities Who Spoke Out About Their ‘South Park’ Parodies
From Tom Cruise trapped in the closet to Kanye West’s fishsticks, the long-running Comedy Central cartoon has taken aim at nearly every A-lister.
February 28, 2023 8:30 pm
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“South Park” has royally pissed off its share of celebrities in the show’s decades-long run. The hit Comedy Central animated series, co-created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, debuted in 1997 and has most infamously mocked Barbra Streisand, Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, and more recently, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
While the viral parody of the royal couple stirred rumors that the show may be sued by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, this isn’t the first time A-listers have spoken out about getting parodied on the notorious cartoon. Stone and Parker admitted during the “Basic!” podcast in February 2022 that they “can’t even remember” every celebrity feud from over the years. The duo has crossed everyone from Sarah Jessica Parker to Al Gore, and even teed off with entire religious organizations.
“We were considered counterculture,” Parker said on the series’ irreverent style. “The Catholic League are always on our arse.”
“Everyone knew Scientology was so litigious,” Stoned added, citing the Tom Cruise “Trapped in the Closet” episode from 2005. “People in Hollywood were scared of Scientology at the time because they would just sue you. I think that got us going. The Tom Cruise episode was really about getting sued. I mean, poking openly litigious people and seeing where the line is and what you can say. They picked a fight with us and we just went with it.” (Notably, Scientologist and “South Park” cast member the late Isaac Hayes left the series following the debacle.)
But for other celebrities, appearing on one of TV’s longest running, most provocative cartoons is an honor. Paris Hilton, Russell Crowe, the late Bob Saget, Lorde, the cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” and YouTube’s most popular dog trainer César Millán have all praised the series publicly. Millán even filmed his complete reaction for YouTube, gushing, “They did an incredible job of representing exactly, exactly what I do.”
Check out every celebrity who has spoken out about their “South Park” portrayal below — listed in no particular order.
Note: The specific episodes in which each celebrity appears have been listed below. This excludes the two-part Season 14 event, in which a large group of public figures file a class action lawsuit against the people of South Park.
Meghan and Harry, Duchess and Duke of Sussex
Episode: “The Worldwide Privacy Tour” (2023) The most recent “South Park” episode parodies the controversy surrounding Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s feud with the press and their step back from the British Royal Family. Although the two aren’t named, the episode focuses on “The Prince of Canada” and his wife, who claim to want privacy while ruthlessly promoting themselves. Meghan and Harry haven’t made an official response or statement to “The Worldwide Privacy Tour,” but reports have come out claiming Markle was “overwhelmed” and distressed by the parody. Rumors of the couple potentially seeking legal action have popped up, but they were shot down by representatives.
Episode: “Trapped in the Closet” (2005) Tom Cruise was the center of the infamous Season 9 episode “Trapped in the Closet,” with the title in reference to the R.Kelly song. Cruise’s character is implied to be grappling with his homosexuality while being trapped in the Church of Scientology. Investigative journalist Mark Ebner, the author of Scientology exposé “Hollywood, Interrupted,” served as a consultant on the episode. Cruise threatened to back out of the “Mission: Impossible III” promotional tour because parent company Paramont Pictures had aired the Comedy Central episode. The infamous closet scene was later parodied at the 58th Emmy Awards.
Episode: “Mecha-Streisand” (1998) Barbra Streisand did not think a star was born during Season 1 of “South Park.” The famed actress-singer-songwriter spoke out against being portrayed as a mechanical dinosaur called “Mecha-Streisand” in the episode. “I wasn’t even aware of this show until I read in Time magazine that they had used me in a very negative way,” Streisand told Mirabella in 1997. “Let me say that I enjoy satire and parody and I loved the movie ‘In & Out.’ It made me laugh. It wasn’t mean-spirited. But I wonder if shows like ‘South Park’ and ‘Beavis and Butt-head’ don’t add to the cynicism and negativity in our culture, especially in children.” She continued, “These youngsters are formulating their attitudes and maybe they come away feeling that any woman who dares to accomplish something is the incarnation of self-centeredness and greed. And that would be very unfortunate, especially for young girls.” “South Park” continued to parody the “Star Is Born” actress with another episode called “Spookyfish” with her face framing each scene. Streisand ultimately forgave creators Stone and Parker and later attended a Broadway performace of their Tony-winning muscial “Book of Mormon.”
Sarah Jessica Parker
Episode: “The Tale of Scrotie McBooger Balls” (2010) “Sex and the City” icon Sarah Jessica Parker is no stranger to her looks being mocked onscreen, as in “Ed Wood.” But a Season 14 episode of “South Park” seemed to be the last straw for the actress. “Personal criticism I find distasteful,” Parker told Stylist, without naming the Comedy Central series. “We think it’s funny to be mean. It’s so uncivilized and vulgar; it’s not good for our souls.” Parker was also put down in an episode of “Family Guy.”
Episode: “Fat Butt and Pancake Heaad” (2003) Jennifer Lopez did not respond lightly to the Season 7 episode featuring her “taco-flavored kisses” to Ben Affleck. Allegedly, Lopez was already frustrated with “South Park” co-creator Parker after he wore a replica of her famous green Versace Grammys gown to the 2000 Oscars, where Parker and Stone were nominated for Best Original Song for the “South Park” movie. (Stone donned a pink dress in ode to Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1999 Best Actress winner look.) Parker and Stone later alleged that members of a Lopez movie were fired after quoting the episode on set.
Mama June Shannon and Alana ‘Honey Boo Boo’ Thompson
Episode: “Raising the Bar” (2012) Reality stars “Mama June” Shannon and daughter Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson reacted to a 2012 episode in which Honey Boo Boo receives a heart transplant from a pig due to her unhealthy diet. Mama June told TMZ that the episode was “kind of trashy.” “Me being a big person, I didn’t take offense,” she clarified. “That show is just not a show that I would want to be on in the first place.”
Episode: “The Ring” (2009) During Season 13, the Jonas Brothers’ teenage purity rings were mocked by “South Park.” Nick Jonas revealed in a Reddit thread that he didn’t see the humor in the episode at the time, but has since rewatched it years later. “When it first came out, I didn’t think it was funny to be honest,” he said. “But probably because I was actually living all of that in real time and so it just made it harder to come and live your life as a young person and have all that going on,” the “Jumanji” actor wrote. “But years later and once the purity rings were no longer around, it was very funny to me and I’ve actually watched the episode a few times.”
Episode: “Hell on Earth” (2006) Terri Irwin, the widow of late adventure star Steve Irwin, was said to be “devastated” following the 2006 episode “Hell on Earth” in which Steve is portrayed with a stingray’s barb sticking out of his chest in hell. The episode aired two months after Steve’s untimely death from such an incident. “Terri is devastated Steve is being mocked in such a cruel way,” a friend of the family said (via Metro UK). “Her worry is that [kids] Bindi and Bob will see it and break down. Steve had as big a sense of humor as anyone, but this goes too far too soon.”
Kanye “Ye” West
Episodes: “Fishsticks” (2009) and “The Hobbit” (2013) The Season 13 episode revolving around Kanye West’s love of “fish sticks” led the rapper to admit that the show hurt his feelings in a lengthy blog post. “‘SOUTH PARK’ MURDERED ME LAST NIGHT AND IT’S PRETTY FUNNY,” West wrote in all caps. “IT HURTS MY FEELINGS BUT WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM ‘SOUTH PARK’! I ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MY EGO THOUGH.” West continued, “AS LONG AS PEOPLE THINK I ACT LIKE A BITCH THIS TYPE OF SHIT WILL HAPPEN TO ME. I GOT A LONG ROAD AHEAD OF ME TO MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE I’M NOT ACTUALLY A HUGE DOUCHE BUT I’M UP FOR THE CHALLENGE. I’M SURE THE WRITERS AT ‘SOUTH PARK’ ARE REALLY NICE PEOPLE IN REAL LIFE.” He also referenced the episode in track “Gorgeous.”
Episode: “Ginger Kid” (2005) “South Park” didn’t specifically parody Ed Sheeran, but the British singer-songwriter took serious issue with “Ginger Kids”: a 2005 episode mocking redheads. “Having red hair in England was always a thing that people took the piss out of you for, but it was never something in America,” Sheeran told Slam Radio (via The Independent). “I was going to America and everyone was like, ‘I love your hair, dude.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, people like my hair?’ And then I remember that episode coming out and that was just it worldwide for the rest of my life.” “That episode of ‘South Park’ fucking ruined my life,” he said.
“South Park” poked fun at actor Russell Crowe and his reputation for volatile behavior and public altercations in 2002’s “The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer,” which shows the Aussie actor as the star of a children’s show “Fightin’ Around the World with Russell Crowe,” where he travels the world and randomly beats people up. In DVD commentary for the episode, Parker and Stone admitted the parody was instigated by a bad personal experience they had with Crowe at a party — as much as it was by a desire to poke fun at his public controversies. Crowe addressed the episode in a later interview with “60 Minutes,” claiming that they didn’t ask his permission. Still, he praised Parker and Stone as “very, very funny men” and said that he wishes “them godspeed, and I hope they continue to do what they’re doing.”
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
Episode: “It’s a Jersey Thing” (2010) Few celebrities took their “South Park” appearances with more good humor than Snooki and her castmates from MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” Released when the reality series was at its peak as a national phenomenon, 2010’s “It’s a Jersey Thing” portrays the show’s cast — as well as Teresa Giudice from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” — as a violent group attempting to conquer “South Park,” while Snooki was portrayed as a literal gremlin. But the episode went over as a hit with the reality stars. Snooki, Vinny Guadagnino, and “The Situation” all expressed their appreciation for the episode on Twitter, while Giudice proclaimed that it was an “honor to be mocked” by the long-running series.
Episodes: “ManBearPig” (2006) and “Time to Get Cereal”/”Nobody Got Cereal?” (2018) Al Gore holds the rare and illustrious honor of being the only public figure to receive a real apology from Parker and Stone. After the 2006 episode “ManBearPig” mocked Gore and his activism for climate change — represented as the titular and seemingly fake monster — “South Park” corrected the record in 2018 with a two-part sequel episode that saw the boys realize the monster is real and apologize to Gore. Although the former Vice President didn’t speak publicly about the initial 2006 episode, he broke his silence in an interview with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show,” saying he was “impressed” by the show’s apology: “I thought it was a hell of a statement by ‘South Park’ and I appreciated it a lot.”
Episode: “Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playlist” (2004) In a parody of early aughts tabloid culture, the 2004 episode “Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playlist” saw the girls of “South Park” (minus Stan’s girlfriend Wendy) grow obsessed with emulating Paris Hilton on the heels of her infamous 2003 sex tape. Hilton responded to this episode — which repeatedly calls her degrading terms and sees her dog die by suicide to escape the misery of being owned by her — with indifference: “I haven’t seen it, but when people copy you, that’s like the most flattering thing, so whatever people can say, I just laugh about it.” “It doesn’t matter to me,” she told blackfilm.com at the time.
Movie: “South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut” Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano made his “South Park” debut in the 1995 short “The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Santa” (a follow-up to the earlier “The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Frosty.”) The two projects would inspire the basis for “South Park” proper, and Boitano would return in the franchise’s first feature film, “South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut.” In the movie, Stan, Kyle, and Eric sing a song titled “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” and use his career as inpiration to carry on with their adventures. Boitano has been a friend of the show ever since, and filmed a parody video congratulating the “South Park” team on their 200th episode in 2010. “It’s been great being a small part of your journey on ‘South Park,’” the athlete said. “I want to wish you another 200 episodes. You guys are the greatest.”
Episode: “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut” (1998) The late Bob Saget was the canonical host of “South Park” smash hit “America’s Stupidest Home Videos.” The stand-up comedian and “Full House” actor generally took the appearance in stride, responding to a question from a Reddit AMA in 2014, “I liked that their grandfather found their version of me so hilarious while he watched me on that video show. It hurt and felt good at the same time. Like most of my relationships.”
Episode: “Starvin’ Marvin” (1997) and “Starvin’ Marvin in Space” (1999) One of the earliest “South Park” episodes was also its earliest brush with celebrity controversy. In the eighth episode of the series, “Starvin’ Marvin,” “All in the Family” star Sally Struthers is portrayed as an obese, greedy scam artist who hoards all the food from the Christian Children’s Fund’s Ethiopian fundraiser for herself. Back before it became a badge of honor to be mocked by the show, Struthers was reportedly offended by the episode, according to Parker and Stone’s commentary on a DVD track. Neither was undeterred, however, and later portrayed the actor as a Jabba the Hutt rip-off in the Season 3 sequel “Starvin’ Marvin in Space.”
Episode: “Tsst” (2006) In response to the 2006 episode “Tsst,” César Millán (aka TV’s most well-known dog trainer) filmed his complete reaction to the “South Park” parody in which he domesticates Cartman. Millán posted it on YouTube in 2019. “They did an incredible job of representing exactly, exactly what I do,” he beams at the start of the video, complimenting the episode’s attention to detail. “Even the clothes that I’m wearing are exactly what I used to wear: a navy blue buttondown and khaki pants.”
George R. R. Martin
Episodes: “A Song of Ass and Fire” and “Titties and Dragons” (2013) George R. R. Martin saw his fair share of animated parodies across eight years of “Game of Thrones” fervor. On “South Park,” the author appeared in a two-part epic involving Kenny, Cartman, and a Black Friday battle for gaming consoles. “It’s surreal what’s happened in my life in the last few years,” Martin said in 2014 at the Nacogdoches Film Festival. “I think part of me was always tickled by the idea that someday I would create characters that people would do parodies of… I love ‘South Park.’ They were relatively gentle with me.” “But they got one thing wrong, really badly wrong,” the author added. “‘South Park’ me has this obsession with weeners. And anybody who knows me or has watched my show knows my actual obsession is with boobies.”
Episode: “Gluten Free Ebola,” “The Cissy,” and “#REHASH” (2014) In the “South Park” universe, Lorde didn’t rise to fame as a teenage singer from New Zealand. Her true identity is that of Stan’s dad, Randdy Marsh. In a since-deleted Instagram post (via LA Times), Lorde reacted positively to the parody, writing, “This is actually surprisingly cute, and from what I can tell also has a message of transgender acceptance. (I’m still very new with this type of humour so I’m not sure if it was actually genuine but it seemed so to me.)”