This prank was an early tease to the amazingly unique comedy styles of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
The first season of South Park ended with a cliffhanger over the identity of Cartman’s father. South Park had been heavily promoting that on the April 1st season 2 premiere, the identity of Cartman’s father would be revealed, thus resolving the cliffhanger it had left viewers with the season before.
The April 1st premiere started with a brief summary to catch everyone up and then…
*You only need to watch the first 25 seconds of this clip to see the prank*
Nothing was revealed and a Terrance and Phillip episode aired instead. Comedy Central apparently received over 1,500 angry emails from irate fans (keep in mind email was just getting started back in 1998) and spokesman admitted that the fans “got the joke… they just didn’t like it.”
Well time heals all wounds and now with the power of hindsight we can all appreciate the hilarity of the joke and the comic genius of South Park.