Although born in Texas, Matt Stone was raised in Littleton, CO and he attended the University of Colorado at Boulder as a math major. As an undergraduate, he met filmmaker Trey Parker (who reportedly fed him slabs of roast beef) and eventually acted in Parker's first feature "Cannibal! The Musical/Alferd Packer! The Musical!" (1993), a fanciful retelling of the true story of an 19th Century prospector who ate several colleagues. When the film failed to find a berth at Sundance, it was shown at a midnight screening (and reportedly gave birth to the alternative Slamdance Festival). Troma picked up the rights and released the film. After Stone graduated in 1994, he and Parker headed to L.A. and attempted to find work. Commissioned to create a holiday video greeting card by TV executive Brian Graden, the pair fashioned a crudely animated short using construction paper cut-outs. "The Spirit of Christmas" centered on four foul-mouthed kids who witnessed a confrontation between Santa Clause and Jesus Christ over the true meaning of Christmas. The video became an industry hit with celebrities from Tom Cruise to Steven Spielberg obtaining copies. Parker and Stone began to field offers to direct features but finally accepted cable channel Comedy Central's deal to create an animated series. Almost from its debut in August 1997, "South Park" courted controversy. Not only was the animation subversively substandard but the writing was humorous and took on every sacred cow, skewering topics ranging from religion to euthanasia to the cult of celebrity. No one and nothing was immune. The show also pushed the boundaries of language as the four main characters, Kyle (patterned on Stone), Cartman, Stan and Kenny (who invariably gets "killed" in each episode) utter four-letter words, spew vomit and fart. The amazing success of the show spawned the requisite tee-shirts, videos and other products, lent catchphrases like, "Oh my God! They killed Kenny! You bastards!" to popular culture and led to the network's offer of some $15 million to Parker and Stone to guarantee production of new episodes through the year 2000.