Bill Hader inspired the creation of South Park's PC Principal by telling an anecdote about a party guest.
SNL alumnus Bill Hader is credited as having created one of the best new South Park characters to grace the screen, PC Principal. The character, who first appeared in the adult animated Comedy Central show’s 19th season back in 2015, has become a mainstay among the residents of South Park Colorado, and has become one of the most quotable and fan favorite characters of the show’s run. The Barry actor explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter how his true story of an overbearing partygoer evolved into the creation of PC Principal, stating “I was telling a story [in the writers room] about how I got yelled at [during a party] for saying something that wasn’t PC, and then Trey just started doing PC Principal — he just started doing it in the room. That’s when the best stuff happens — it springs out of Trey. It made me laugh so hard I fell out of my seat.”
Bill Hader is best known for his iconic 8-year stretch on Saturday Night Live, as well as his appearances in films such as Trainwreck, Inside Out, and It: Chapter Two. In recent years, he’s made waves creating and starring in the hit HBO series Barry, which blends Hader’s absurdist comedy roots with his surprisingly moving dramatic performance. Before Bill Hader became a household name for creating one of the best dramas on premium television, he was a producer and writer for South Park, also providing guest voice work for a litany of side characters throughout the show’s later seasons.
During Bill Hader’s time in the South Park writers room, he helped to create a ton of the newly arriving characters fans have come to adore in the later seasons, including the Trey Parker-voiced PC Principal. During an extensive profile for The Hollywood Reporter, Hader sat alongside a long list of South Park writers, contributors, and Comedy Central executives, to provide an oral history of the show’s historic 20-year run. During the interview, Hader revealed that PC Principal was loosely based on a true story of an obnoxious partygoer he had recently encountered. Apparently, as Hader explained his humorous anecdote to the writing staff, South Park co-creator Trey Parker, who lends his voice to dozens of characters throughout the show, began riffing the character of PC Principal.
It wasn’t long before Bill Hader and the South Park writers staff realized this needed to be a character in the show, and they got to penning the season 19 premiere episode, Stunning and Brave, in which the former long-standing principal of South Park Elementary is fired, and replaced with the politically correct frat bro known as PC Principal. The original plan was to have the polo-clad principal appear as a guest character for just one episode before being written off or killed, but Parker enjoyed riffing lines in the obnoxious voice so much that he decided to make PC Principal a mainstay amongst the show. Despite being relegated mostly to background gags and one-liners in the show’s current state now over 7 years later, the character still frequently appears throughout the series.
Bill Hader went on to depart the South Park writers room shortly thereafter, moving on to leading roles in film as well as getting the chance to flex his excellent directing skills on Barry. For now, it seems the upcoming fourth season of Barry may be the last, with Bill Hader set to direct the entire season. Perhaps we’ll see a return to wacky comedy once the show ends, and Hader needs some silliness to offset the deep dark depths of the HBO drama.