Trey Parker and Matt Stone were film school buddies at University of Colorado-Boulder and they thought they would do something “Christmassy” for the end-of-the-year student review. They had been cracking each other up with foul-mouthed little kid voices while sitting around film sets, and so they put those characters on screen using construction paper and crude animation. The audience loved it, and after a winding road, they convinced some adults at Comedy Central to approve the pilot. The rest is television history. Entertainment Weekly looks back at “The Spirit of Christmas.”
How ‘South Park’ was born: An oral history of ‘The Spirit of Christmas’
Bonnaroo wanted to expand its festival experience so in 2004 it added a comedy tent, a showcase that has gone on to host many of the top names in comedy, including Louis C.K., Steven Wright, Aziz Ansari, and David Cross. The digs are somewhat less than swanky (no running water), but many of the stars treat it like going to camp, or a paid vacation, where they see their comedy brethren and some good music. The A.V. Club gathers a bunch of interesting and funny anecdotes, plus some good video clips, in this oral history.
Deadnecks and sound checks: An oral history of Bonnaroo’s comedy tent
Mr. Show never had a big audience and the creators never gave much of a shit about that. HBO gave Bob Odenkirk and David Cross a platform to do stuff that wouldn’t fly on networks, or even at mainstream comedy clubs, including a slacker messiah sketch that would help launch Jack Black’s career. Many other talents worked on camera and off: 30 Rock‘s Scott Adsit, 24‘s Mary Lynn Rajskub, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, and Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants). Spin takes a look back at a uncompromising comedic incubator.
Mr. Show: The Oral History
The “roast” format, in which the honoree is the subject of jokes, needed a bit of revitalization at the turn of the century. Known primarily for bad dad jokes, Comedy Central updated the format on the strength of young and fearless talent like Anthony Jeselnik, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, and Pete Davidson. They brought an edge that made for compelling television, especially when you consider the prime meat offered up to them: Donald Trump, William Shatner, David Hasselhoff, Charlie Sheen, and more. Maxim chronicles the origin story.
Burned: The Oral F***ing History of the Comedy Central Roast
Joan Rivers was a brutally honest but surprisingly loving and humble comedienne who repeatedly revived her career by working harder than everyone else. She burst on the scene in a 1965 Tonight Show appearance where Johnny Carson proclaimed that she would be a star. She made female standup a thing. A million nightclub acts later, a thousand red carpets, and then Rivers would win Celebrity Apprentice at age 76. She kept working until her tragic death at 81, and there will never be anyone else like her. 24 associates gave endearing/funny/interesting anecdotes to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Story of Joan Rivers: 24 Famous Friends From Dick Cavett to Donald Trump Construct Stunning Oral History for THR
Originally created by two key creative forces behind “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” was envisioned as a re-imagining of the former in the public sector. The similarities are clear: a lovably eccentric cast centered on a naively hopeful star played by a comedic genius. Steve Carell’s Michael Scott and Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope are two of the defining comedic characters of this century, and their shows are still ravenously devoured by fans looking to step out of the cold.
You Go Big Or You Go Home: An Oral History Of The Creation And Evolution Of ‘Parks And Recreation’
The baseball blog “Fire Joe Morgan” is still remembered fondly by readers who like witty eviscerations of sports cliches and their human embodiments.
We Didn’t Know What The F— We Were Doing: Fire Joe Morgan on Fire Joe Morgan
A comically long oral history of the movie with the most memorable lines per minute (MMLPM) in the history of the media.
Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane!
This piece covers the early days, intense competition, and many successes of the troupe that produced such varied talents as Paul Reubens, Phil Hartman, Lisa Kudrow, Will Ferrell, Kristin Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy.
40 Years of Improv Comedy: An Oral History of the Groundlings