According To ‘South Park’s Rules, 9/11 Is Supposed To Be Funny Now
Everyone knows that tragedy plus time equals comedy — and according to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, time’s up on a national tragedy.
The question of, “How soon is too soon?” when it comes to comedy is an important one that, historically, South Park has habitually ignored. Parker and Stone have never shied away from ruthless topicality, but when it comes to the absolute touchiest of subjects, they have a simple rule established in the 2002 episode “Jared Has Aides” — it takes exactly 22.3 years for something horrifically tragic to become funny (AIDS). The town of South Park, Colorado is so completely in agreement on this statute of limitations that they even erected a monument to the occasion. How are Parker and Stone so sure that this oddly specific waiting period is universally appropriate? Well, for starters, they’re not just sure — they’re HIV positive.
As many online South Park fans are rushing to point out, this weekend marks the 22.3-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, meaning that, according to the laws of South Park, it’s now acceptable to laugh about the massive loss of life. Because Parker and Stone totally weren’t making 9/11 jokes before now.
Obviously, anyone familiar with the show (or the greater works of its creators) knows that there hasn’t exactly been 22.3 years of solemnity about the simultaneous attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In Team America: World Police, the running joke about every imminent threat was that the newest danger would be some multiplication of 9/11, starting with 91,100.
Additionally, in 2006, South Park devoted an entire episode to 9/11 jokes with “Mystery of the Urinal Deuce,” in which Cartman attempts to pin the terrorist attack on Kyle. Somehow, Cartman manages to convince most of the school that Kyle is the true perpetrator, though it’s later revealed that, just as so many of us expected, George W. Bush was behind the attacks all along — though the validity of that conspiracy theory turns out to be another conspiracy.
Because Parker and Stone haven’t been following their own rule when it comes to joking about 9/11, this anniversary doesn’t actually mean anything for the show’s choice of topics. However, we haven’t heard anything from the South Park universe’s Jared Fogle since the airing of “Jared Has Aides.” Maybe Parker and Stone are still waiting to joke about what was on his computer.