‘South Park’ Season 20 Release Date: 7 Early-Season Jokes You Probably Forgot


South Park has been running for a very long time—in fact, it’s the longest running scripted series in cable primetime history. The Comedy Central show enters its 20th season on September 14, and—between the success of the innovative season 19 and the upcoming release of South Park: The Fractured But Whole—it’s an exciting time in the show’s history. It’s come a long way from the early days… and left a lot of classic jokes behind. Let’s revisit some of the jokes of South Park in its early seasons—the ones you probably don’t even remember, but made you laugh out loud way back then.

The Best Early South Park Jokes

Try to name everyone in this picture
Try to name everyone in this picture Comedy Central

Mr. Hat

Mr. Garrison wasn’t always openly gay in South Park—in the show’s first few seasons, he didn’t even know he was gay yet. All his gay impulses were channeled into his little puppet, Mr. Hat, a constant companion whom he talked to regularly… even while teaching class! Mr. Hat is long gone and Mr. Garrison is a new man, but his memory is not forgotten…

The Kids Used To Be In Third Grade

Speaking of Mr. Garrison, he wasn’t always the fourth grade teacher in South Park. He used to be the third grade teacher in South Park—but back then, the kids (Stan, Kenny, Kyle, Cartman and friends) were in the third grade. But South Park isn’t the Simpsons. The kids are a year or so older, and one grade higher, than they were twenty years ago. For a while, they even had a different fourth grade teacher in Miss Choksondik… and the kids made up dirty jokes based on her name, because they didn’t realize her name sounded pretty “dirty” all on its own. It really brings back the memories!

“Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home”

It’s safe to say that in the South Park show, Eric Cartman has a complicated relationship with his “friends.” They often get mad at him because of his sexism, racism, selfishness and extreme general rudeness. That’s as true in South Park season 19 as it was in season 1… but back in the first few seasons, Cartman had a special catchphrase to indicate his displeasure at his friends: “Screw you guys, I’m going home.” It’s not very funny just written out like that, but when you hear Cartman deliver the lines, it’s a lot funnier! Here, take a jaunt down memory lane:

Bill Clinton

In recent seasons of South Park, Barack Obama has been president some of the time, and some of the time a duck has been president. But South Park hasn’t always been so progressive. In the show’s early seasons, a succession of white guys were president—before Obama, George W. Bush, and in the really early days, Bill Clinton. It was a long time ago, but maybe this will jog your memory—or perhaps you’ll need some schnapps…

Matt and Trey retired the Bill Clinton character long ago—we don’t see Jesus much anymore either—but we can’t wait to see who will be president next in the show. Maybe Mr. Garrison?

Lots Of Shock Humor

South Park is now best known as a satirical show about political culture, like The Colbert Report (R.I.P.) or Real Time With Bill Maher. If you’re a younger type, you may not even know that in its earliest days, the show was all about shock humor—gross-out gags that your parents didn’t like (or didn’t want you to see?). The show has matured, and left gags like this behind… well, mostly:


“Hey Chef!” “Hello there, children!” Does that ring any bells? Back in the 1990s, the South Park kids were close friends with the chef at their school cafeteria, who was coincidentally named “Chef” and played by rapper Isaac Hayes. Isaac Hayes later left South Park in a cloud of controversy, but in the first few seasons he was one of the show’s most iconic characters. Say it again with me: “Hello there children!” Ah, the memories. But we aren’t likely to see him again anytime soon…

Kenny Died In Every Episode

Here’s a really weird one for you: Before South Park season 5, the character Kenny McCormick died in just about every episode of South Park. Continuity error? Hardly. It was actually Matt and Trey’s running gag, making fun of shows that cared too much—or too little—about continuity. Kenny died about a hundred times so far during the show’s run! He eventually even died for good… but he still came back eventually. Since then, Kenny is a more reliable character. He still gets killed every few seasons for old time’s sake, but the old running gag—Kenny dying all the time—it’s long gone. “You bastards,” as they used to say….

Can you remember any other gags from early South Park? Anything you’d like them to bring back in South Park season 20, starting Sep. 14?

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