Matt Stone

On this date in 1971, Matthew Richard Stone was born in Houston, Texas. Stone was raised in the Denver area before moving to Littleton, Colo., where he graduated from high school. Stone attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he earned a degree in mathematics and studied film. While in film school at Boulder, he met Trey Parker, his longtime collaborator.

They collaborated on various projects, including an animated short titled “The Spirit of Christmas” (1996), in which Santa Claus and Jesus fight about the true meaning of Christmas (the answer, by the way, is that the true meaning of Christmas is presents, not fighting).

This short led to a deal with Comedy Central in 1997 to make “South Park,” an animated show starring four third-graders: Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny (characters first explored in the short), which is frequently satirical and often employs crude humor. Stone and Parker do most of the male characters’ voices themselves. The show is set in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado.

Parker and Stone made a movie in 1999 titled “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.” A song from the movie, “Blame Canada,” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. “South Park” has been nominated for several Emmys and has received five, as of 2019 (its 23rd season).

Through “South Park” and other projects, Stone and Parker have frequently satirized religion. The 2005 “Trapped in the Closet” episode (link is U.S. only) satirizes Scientology and reveals some of its secret beliefs. A more frequent subject for their humor is Mormonism. Stone and Parker both grew up in Colorado, where they knew a lot of Mormons, and have often stated in interviews that they have largely positive feelings about Mormonism.

That did not stop them from poking holes in the story of Joseph Smith’s founding of it in the 2003 “All About Mormons” episode in which a Mormon family comes to town. The new kid Gary confronts the main characters at the end of the episode, saying, “Maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up. But I have a great life and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that.”

In 2011 the musical “The Book of Mormon,” created by Stone and Parker in collaboration with composer and lyricist Robert Lopez, opened on Broadway. It tells the irreverent story of two missionaries in Uganda and was nominated for 14 Tony Awards. It won nine, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. 

Stone married Angela Howard, a Comedy Central production executive in 2008. They have two children.

PHOTO: Stone at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con; Gage Skidmore photo under CC 3.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation