Watching 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park this weekend, I was surprised to see a familiar face in the South Park writers’ room: Bill Hader! What was the Saturday Night Live star and the man who brought us Stefon doing there? It turns out that he was named a creative consultant for season 12 of the show, and was later invited to write for season 15.
Last March Bill explained that his work with the show began when his friends, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, invited him along to one of their South Park retreats a few years ago. Bill said it was like a dream: “You go to an awesome place [past retreats have been in Seattle and Boston] and stay in an awesome hotel and just for a couple of hours a day you swim around in South Park ideas.”
In 6 Days to Air, Bill sits in on the writers’ room in Los Angeles as the group hashes out the plot for season 15′s excellent “Crack Baby Athletic Association” episode before our eyes. I almost felt bad pointing out that, in this footage at least, Bill doesn’t seem to do much more than spin in his chair and laugh at the brainstorming, except that he admitted as much in the interview:
But it really is those guys. It’s like they are working out their idea and you are saying, “Oh, that is funny.” Or maybe it’s this or that, you know what I mean? You kind of throw out ideas, they run with it, and make it insanely funny.
And that’s exactly how it happened in the doc: Someone throws out the idea of crack babies as the equivalent of an NCAA team, then Trey whips out Cartman’s voice to ad lib his business plan, and an episode just comes together.
The documentary charts the six days in which the team conceives of, writes, animates, and produces an episode, so the writing part is over fairly quickly and we don’t get to see Bill again. But it’s still fun to know that a comedian we respect is pitching in to a show that had a lull but has enjoyed a pretty strong comeback.
The doc gave us a hint to another passion project of Bill’s: He was wearing a T-shirt for production company Oscilloscope Laboratories. In 2010, Oscilloscope picked up Saturday Night, James Franco‘s documentary following a week in the life of SNL during its John Malkovich episode in 2008. Hopefully the film will be released before the end of 2011.