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Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 03/16/2006

A 'South Park' No Show

By Liz Kelly

This morning, a friend IMed me (thanks Lisa) with the news that Comedy Central execs had made a very bad decision. They welched on their promise to re-air the "South Park" episode that made Isaac Hayes quit earlier this week. (see yesterday's posting).

An e-mail statement from Comedy Central's Executive VP of Corportate Communications Tony Fox offers only this by way of explanation:

"In light of the events of earlier this week, we wanted to give Chef an appropriate tribute by airing two episode [sic] he is most known for."

Well, in light of events earlier this week, Celebritology would like to give Chef, and Isaac Hayes, an appropriate tribute by linking to the episode we're all talking about: Trapped in the Closet via (Note: Registration may be required and, as ever, "South Park" may contain some offensive material.)

Update: Some commenters are reporting that "Trapped in the Closet" did air at some point Wednesday night. I just checked with Comedy Central's Tony Fox again and he maintains it did not air at all.

By Liz Kelly  | March 16, 2006; 11:32 AM ET
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The episode about Scientology WAS on ComCentral last night at 11:30. It aired opposite the Letterman interview with Tray and Matt

Posted by: SouthParkFan | March 16, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

dang! missed that.

Posted by: jayneska8 | March 16, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Curious. According to Comedy Central's own VP of Communications, it did not air. And it definitely didn't air at 10 p.m. ET as scheduled.

Did anyone else see it at 11:30? Isn't that normally the "Colbert Report's" slot?

Posted by: Liz | March 16, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm too lazy to register for YouTube right now to check further, but if you're actually linking to an unofficial posting of the entire episode, I'd call it a pretty questionable copyright move for a mainstream institution like the Post.

Not only that, but the video is extremely likely to be yanked in the very near future, which will make your link obsolete.

Posted by: Nate | March 16, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It was definely on Comedy Central last night. My boyfriend was watching it, ugh...

Posted by: girlfriend | March 16, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't on at 10, 1130 (Colbert was on) or at midnight (waited around after Colbert and it was the same ep as 10). Maybe somebody saw it at 1230? I couldn't say.

Posted by: mharvey816 | March 16, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

It didn't air when listed on the guide. I tuned in specifically to see it and it was a Mr. Hanky/Film festival re-run. Maybe later?

What time "girlfiend"?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

It did not air on the west coast (LA). It was listed in the Direct TV guide on my receiver but it turned out to be another episode.

Weak sauce on all parts...why is Isaac offended after every single ethnic group and religion takes an equal opportunity bludgeoning on the show and why are broadcasters so weak in the knees to a cult like Scientology? Scary, very scary when you consider that these folks on the fringe can affect my viewing pleasure, like the right wing christian wackos have tried to do by regulating cable. Those bastards killed Kenny!

Posted by: west coast south park | March 16, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

One thing that strikes me as odd in this whole thing is that "Trapped in the Closet" is not a new episode. It originally aired a year or two ago. If it was this episode that pushed Isaac Hayes to leave the show, I don't understand why it took him so long to come to that decision.

Here's a theory: it took that long for the administrators of Scientology to digest the episode, put their heads together, and draft up a legal complaint against Isaac Hayes for participating in a show that makes them look bad. Sure wouldn't be anything new for those guys.

Posted by: Reader1000 | March 16, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

So...can I still wear my "Free Katie" shirt? Or has it jumped the shark?

Posted by: jw | March 16, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse


Can't believe you used the term "welched" here. Really insensitive. I moved from Wales 15 years ago and thought someone of your intelligence and savoir-faire wouldn't be so crass. What's next, getting "jewed" out of something?

Posted by: acrossthepond | March 16, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

West's because Scientology has a legion of attorneys that would make any media outlet weak in the knees, let alone a smallish cable outlet like CC.

Posted by: jw | March 16, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia (among other sources), the "Trapped in the Closet" episode aired for the first time on November 16, 2005. I don't think that four months really qualifies as "a year or two ago." Since SP does these "mini-seasons" now, it was part of the last set of new episodes to air.

Frankly, I'm a lot more suspicious of Comedy Central and the SP boys in this instance than I am of the CoS. I don't doubt that Hayes really quit, and y'all can debate his hypocrisy until the cows come home without it making me care much one way or the other. At the same time, I do think that it's EXTREMELY convenient that this "scandal" is coming to light precisely when a new set of original SP episodes is being launched, however.

Posted by: Nate | March 16, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It definitely did not air in the central time zone. It was listed as such, but as another poster pointed out it was the film festival episode instead. There hasn't been a reliable report that it was aired anywhere as 11:30 is the Colbert Report and somebody else's boyfriend supposedly watched it. I'm fairly certain it didn't air anywhere.

Posted by: Ryan | March 16, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Trapped was definitely not on last night. I set my dvr to record the 10 pm SP episode and the rerun at 1 am. Trapped did not show up at either record.

And Liz, the Washington Post used welched b/c Indian-give has been eliminated due to current political correctness rules. Maybe if the US invades wales, exploits the land for its own self benefit, moves the welsh onto reservations/ghetto's, and grants decendent welsh unlimited gaming benefits, welched will eventually be eliminated as well

Posted by: nestee90 | March 16, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It seems like it was a year or two ago. But November sounds right. Either way, it was still a pretty long time for Hayes to get worked up enough about it to quit. Besides, with the Church of Scientology's history of libel lawsuits against anybody who speaks out against them, it's not like they've worked hard to discourage a litigious image. Why shouldn't we assume that Hayes's motivation is largely from, at a minimum, the perception of a threat from that organization?

I'm curious about what you're suggesting about the convenience of these two events. Do you think that Hayes quit and raised a big fuss in order to boost South Park's ratings? I don't really follow ratings, but I have a feeling that South Park doesn't need too much help there right now. It's one of the few shows on tv right now that cuts through the crap and says, in very crude terms, what most sensibile people are thinking. I think the show's longevity speaks to that.

I'll check back on this chat later - my lunch break is over.

Posted by: Reader1000 | March 16, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

ATP - I find your use of 'pond' offensive. The Atlantic Ocean is not a self-contained eco-system.

I'm sure your anti-Semitic comments just to stir up trouble will win over support.

Posted by: DZ | March 16, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

No, I don't think Hayes quit in order to improve SP's ratings, I think he quit because either he or his Scientology overlords were offended by the "Trapped in the Closet" episode. What I'm suggesting is that the TIMING of this "news" story is extremely convenient, given the launch of the new season.

As you point out, the episode aired four months ago, but it has taken this long for Hayes to announce his departure. Did it really take him that long to draft a face-saving press release? It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that he had quit some time ago, but that an agreement had been made to delay the announcement.

There is no such thing as rating that "don't need too much help" ... every network wants more viewers for every show, all the time. Getting South Park included in the "real" news cycle, where hopefully each article will end with broadcast information or a reference to the new season, is one way of doing that.

Posted by: Nate | March 16, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

In Fairfax, VA I tivo it daily. The episode shown last night was Chef AID, where Chef is countersued by Capitalist Records for his claim that he wrote the lyrics to a song called "Stinky Britches" some 10 odd years before. Said song was a repetitive chorus supposedly performed by Alanis Morrissette. First Chef's legal defense team is defeated by the indomitable Johnny Cochran and his renowned Chewbacca defense. After Chef is found guilty of harassing a major record label, he is thrown in jail after his failure to come up with the $2MM fine within 24 hours. Though from this person's POV, Chef's efforts to raise the money were epic. $410K profit in 24 hours from his own proclivities with the ladies. After the noble effort, the boys attempt to get him out of jail by having Chef Aid, with noted performers such as Ozzy, Elton John, Rancid, Meatloaf coming to his aid. Johnny Cochran decides to countersue the record company on behalf of Chef, and the very same Chewbacca defense is utilized ("It Doesn't Make Any Sense!")
Hope they come up with a great new character. IMHO, the Chef character was cool, but overplayed into the storylines. Variety is the best thing.

Posted by: Charles | March 16, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh I see your point. That makes sense.

I agree with you on the aggressive pursuit of ratings. Still think South Park is probably doing well in the ratings, either way.

Posted by: Reader1000 | March 16, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I saw the "Trapped in the Closet" episode this in Sarasota, FL and laughed my ass off. However, I was watching very late at night - maybe 12:30, possibly later.

Perhaps, it only ran once that day at an off hour? Well, that's what I think...

Posted by: Frank | March 16, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

To acrossthepond:

I totally agree. It's about time someone stood up for the rights of the oppressed Welsh. By the way - I love your jelly.

Posted by: Reader1000 | March 16, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Mr Cruise Himself had a hand in cancelling the offending episode yesterday...!-SCIENTOLOGIST-TOM-CRUISE-BLACKMAILS-VIACOM....html

Posted by: Ian | March 16, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The episode "Trapped in Closet" aired on Comedy Central Wednesday night @ 10pm. At least it did on DirectTV.

For those who bailed after the traditional 9:30pm rendition of South Park and didn't bother to see what was next -- shame on you. And Liz, if you are going to write about what happens on Comedy Central, perhaps you should watch Comedy Central. This effort was very 'Jason Blair' or 'Mitch Albom' of you.

Next time, if you want to bash someone or something, maybe you should rely on something a bit more concrete than a friend's IM.

Posted by: Keeper | March 17, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the pointers, Keeper. You might also want to prepare some tips for the Comedy Central execs who told me directly via phone that the episode did not air.

Oh, and also talk to the New York Post, Cinimatical and countless other news outlets who reported the same thing.

Posted by: Liz | March 17, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget Stephen Glass, Keeper! I hear Liz thinks Hayden Christensen is dreamy.

Posted by: jw | March 17, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

This is whole thing is so funny. HAHAHA!

People are actually giving two rats salty balls about Hayes' motivation, Scientology's weirdness, and SP's manipulation of their airing schedule.

This is just too good not to read.

Posted by: Laughing | March 17, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Can't believe you used the term "welched" here. Really insensitive. I moved from Wales 15 years ago and thought someone of your intelligence and savoir-faire wouldn't be so crass. What's next, getting "jewed" out of something?

Posted by: acrossthepond | March 16, 2006 02:42 PM

WTF? Political correctitude on a weblog???
Who the hell knew where "welched" came from anyway? We say "Welsh" on this side of the pond. "Jewed" on the other hand is an inescapably ethnic slur, although when I've heard it used, it usually was by a loser who had been outwitted by a smarter guy.
Speaking of Jews...who's this Lubivatcher Jew with a Japanese sounding name singing reggae? And he expects NOT to have direct contact with women other than relatives? Stay off the road, kid!

Posted by: mikekev58 | March 17, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Rolling Stone had an article on COS last week that was the likely triggering event. Hayes had been interviewed a few times since November and saying that the boys did not get COS correctly, but that it's no big deal, since they tease everyone. For 4 months that story worked for him but now it does not. I suspect it was a reaction by the organization to pressure members. I feel bad, since it was a great gig for him. So long Chef. No hard feelings here.

Posted by: johnl | March 17, 2006 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I never paid close enough attention...until tonight:

Scott Tenorman is a Ginger Kid.

Posted by: Thor | March 18, 2006 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Damn, there was only two brothers on the show in first place. Now the last one standing is Token. Also does Comedy Centeral have a real schedule anyway? it seems like shows come whenever they feel like airing them.

Posted by: John | March 21, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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