Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

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MG2012
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Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby MG2012 » Wed Oct 05, 2022 1:08 pm

I have a VHS from 1995 labeled on the box as Comedy Central and on the tape, South Park Spirit of Christmas. I’ve searched extensively for information and know the stories related to the shorts Trey and Matt produced in 1992 and 1995 but I cannot find any information on Comedy Central releasing an authorized VHS and not just people making copies of the 1995 “Christmas Card” of Jesus vs Santa. If there’s any information at all that anyone could provide, it’d be extremely helpful. Thanks!
MG2012
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Re: Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby MG2012 » Wed Oct 05, 2022 3:39 pm

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inuyasha_demon
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Re: Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby inuyasha_demon » Wed Oct 05, 2022 8:27 pm

There had been bootlegs of it going around years ago, and wonder if this is one of them. Either that, or perhaps the different version of Spirit of Christmas which had a more established setting.

Either way, keep that VHS in good shape!
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Re: Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby Big-Will » Wed Oct 05, 2022 9:26 pm

There isn't much to say.

Comedy Central doesn't have much info on them because Matt and Trey were either in college (1992) or looking for someone to take their shorts and make something of them (1995). This is why copies of them are all over the Internet, and why there's no authorized release of them.
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MG2012
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Re: Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby MG2012 » Sat Oct 08, 2022 1:53 pm

Thank you both! I know this definitely not from 1992, so it’s not Frosty vs Santa. It’s definitely from1995, which makes it Jesus vs Santa. Apparently Comedy Central actually made this and sent around, not for commercial release, in 1995, 2 years before the official debut.

Will definitely keep safely tucked away. Thanks again!
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Re: Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby Big-Will » Sun Oct 09, 2022 4:33 pm

MG2012 wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2022 1:53 pm
Thank you both! I know this definitely not from 1992, so it’s not Frosty vs Santa. It’s definitely from1995, which makes it Jesus vs Santa. Apparently Comedy Central actually made this and sent around, not for commercial release, in 1995, 2 years before the official debut.

Will definitely keep safely tucked away. Thanks again!
Uh, ...No.
1. It's "Jesus vs Frosty," not "Frosty vs. Santa."
2. Comedy Central didn't make "Jesus vs. Santa." Brian Graden, the boys' agent at the time, asked them to. Brian is the one who sent copies of the video out for Christmas 1995. Matt and Trey had no idea he was going to do this, so they didn't put their names on the Christmas card. They had no idea the video was leaked until someone told there a few months later about this awesome video going around and showed them the video. They recognized it as the Christmas card they had made.
3. You'll notice "Jesus vs. Santa" doesn't have any end credits attached to it, and the names in the opening credits are all fake.

Fun facts:
1. Comedy Central did commission the unaired pilot in 1997, when Matt and Trey were filming BASEketball, After the film wrapped up, Matt and Trey went to their new studio and spent Spring and Summer working on it. The pilot was four minutes too long, so Matt and Trey took out a few clips and put them in other episodes. What remained became "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe."
2. Contrary to popular belief, Comedy Central did air the unaired pilot... once, a few weeks before the show premiered.
3. There was an idea for "Jesus vs. Satan" which Matt and Trey would have made if the show had flopped in season 1. Instead, that became "Damien."
4. There could have been a fourth "Jesus vs." short or episode: "Jesus vs. God." As we know, that didn't happen. Instead, we got "Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus."

And that VHS tape? That's not proof enough that Comedy Central made it. It shows that someone knows how to grab an image and a blank label and print the image on the label. Comedy Central was never so cheap as to have someone write out the label out after it's printed. I hope you didn't pay too much money to have that copy; otherwise, you were ripped off. People used to do that 25 years ago when the show first started, and copies of the shorts and the unaired pilot were hard to find and in crappy quality.
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playab0yyy
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Re: Comedy Central Labeled “Spirit of Christmas”

Postby playab0yyy » Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:13 pm

I just found this link...

https://www.cablecenter.org/index.php?o ... cle&id=252

After reading this, I think I may have pin-pointed the closest possibility for this tape. You have to read most of the following excerpts from the link to see where I'm going with this. Nelson is the interviewer (he's not important), and Fox is Tony Fox, the Vice President/Director at Comedy Central in 1995. You'll also see Doug Herzog who was the President of Comedy Central in 1995.

FOX: It was. It was scary but it was also like you had to be fearless to handle that show or you just wouldn't be able to do the job. What happened was there's a guy named Brian Graden who's now the top programmer at MTV Networks, a very, very creative guy and a very successful guy. He had met Matt and Trey when they had moved from Denver to Los Angeles. They both had gone to film school at the University of Colorado and they were interested in pursuing a career in Hollywood like everyone else who goes to film school or thinks they're an actor or actress or whatever. They were poor, living in Los Angeles on their friends couches, and somehow they met Brian Graden. Brian had seen one of their college films that they had done, and it wasn't "The Spirit of Christmas" but it was something similar. It was called "Santa vs. Frosty" and it was this very crude cartoon about Christmas and it was the precursor to South Park. It was very, very funny and Brian said to these guys, "Here's a thousand bucks. Go make me a video Christmas card, something like this thing but here's a little more money so you can do a little bit better quality job on it, and I want to use this as a video Christmas card to send out to the people I work with and friends and things like that." Matt and Trey ended up creating "The Spirit of Christmas", that five minute, unbelievably profane short involving the South Park characters and Jesus and Santa fighting over the true spirit of Christmas.

NELSON: For a thousand bucks?

FOX: For a thousand bucks, and Matt and Trey did it for half that, pocketed the rest of the money so they could buy Christmas presents for their families.

NELSON: Got to make a profit on the job, right?

FOX: And Brian Graden popped the thing into his machine, watched it, and he was freaked out but it was hysterical, freaked out but realized not only is it brilliant but I have to cut my Christmas list. The people I intended to send this to, about a quarter of the people I planned to send it to will actually get it because it's just too out there.

NELSON: Too much.

FOX: Too much, too edgy. It was actually one of the very first Internet viral videos. We were bicycling tapes around; we got a copy of it, one of our West Coast development people got a copy of it and she said, "You have to see this," to Doug Herzog. Doug just became the president of the channel, and I remember being in a senior staff meeting where we had this tape, we plugged it into the VCR and watched it, and all of us were screaming, crying, hysterical. We could not believe what we were watching. The tape ends and the room is silent for a minute, and we're all looking around, and Doug was the first one to say it, he says, "We have to make this into a television show." And Larry Divney, the head of sales, goes, "There is no way in hell any advertiser on the planet will go near this thing. I think you're out of your mind." And so we were so excited, we said we've got to do this. We had already, as I said, sort of been experimenting with pushing the envelope and poking the status quo a little bit, so this seemed somewhat consistent with that.

NELSON: But that's tough because you're in the position, you're not an HBO, right? You're an ad-supported network.

FOX: Right, we're not a pay service, we have ad support. It came at enormous risk to us.

NELSON: The more you push the more you're risking just cutting the cord of whether anybody's going to give you any money.

FOX: That's right, and the interesting thing is that at the time the television rating system had just been developed, and I was one of the very earliest advocates of taking the TVMA rating and giving it to South Park for two reasons. Number one, I felt that it was an honest reflection of the content of the show, but more importantly it would protect the show when our critics came knocking, and we knew that was going to happen. We actually came up with a very smart plan to generate cultural support for "The Spirit of Christmas". We had this tape, it was circling around Hollywood, we heard George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and guys like that were huge fans of this videotape. So we started to send it out to tastemakers and important opinion makers throughout the entertainment community because we figured if and when, pardon the expression, the sh*t hit the fan we had people who would come out and defend us, and that's exactly what happened. We ended up going forward with the series and it was originally almost like claymation. It was cut and past animation of construction paper. The entire first pilot, the half-hour pilot "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" took them six months to make. The show is now done on these powerful computers where they can do it in four days.


That last excerpt is key. The timeframe must be 1995 because he previously mentioned Herzog just became president of Comedy Central (that happened in 1995). In that last except, Fox says they (Comedy Central) began sending out copies... "So we started to send it out to tastemakers and important opinion makers throughout the entertainment community".

I wonder if, at this point when they (Comedy Central) began sending out copies, they made their own tapes to send out with Comedy Central logos on it. If so, this could be one of those. A VERY big if, but if it is one of those, that would make it one very cool piece!

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