CHICAGO (CBS) — It features peppy numbers about giving God the finger, and it’s turned into a mainstream hit. Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon” is set to open in Chicago next week for an extended run.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole sat down with the creators turning nasty into something nice.
“The Book of Mormon,” a blasphemous and irreverent religious satire from “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker has become a huge Broadway success, much to their surprise.
“This was the side project that was just this kind of fun little side thing to do, to be quirky, you know? And it just exploded in our faces,” Parker said.
Some critics hail the spoof about two innocent Mormon missionaries confronting poverty, AIDS, and African warlords as the musical of the century. In spite of downright filthy lyrics and innuendos, audiences are relating to something sweet at the core of the story.
“We really came from a place of ‘Let’s make something that’s really fun, and happy, and feels good,’ and then we’re just offensive people, and the other stuff just came out naturally,” Parker said.
The nastiness is nothing less than audiences would expect from the duo who’ve given us the wickedly funny and equally irreverent and profane “South Park.”
But don’t look to Parker and Stone for answers about why people put up with their nasty brand of humor.
“We don’t know,” they said.
And despite never shying away from controversial topics, Parker and Stone said they rarely say to themselves that they went too far with a joke.
“The phrase we would be more ‘we didn’t earn that,’” Parker said.
They said they always try to make a point with their humor, rather than just trying to be as raunchy as possible.
“You come up with something that’s sort of offensive, and then you start saying, ‘How can we earn that?’” Stone said. “Like, that’s a funny idea, but to do that in the middle of nothing is just offensive and gratuitous. Gratuitous is the word we use more than anything.”
“Trust me, if we just wanted to do the most offensive thing we could, we could do something way more offensive than this,” Parker said.
Parker and Stone said part of the reason their edgy humor has been winning over all types of audiences is the heart people are finding in the show, which also emphasizes a love of family and faith.
“The Book of Mormon” opens in Chicago on Tuesday at the Bank of America Theatre. It has been set to run through June 2, and has already sold out for its first three months.