While the main cast of goofy characters has largely stayed the same through the show's over 300 episodes, the side characters and one-offs have given fans exposure to countless celebrity parodies and satirical personalities.
Updated April 6, 2022, by John Charron: Considered by many to be one of the finest examples of satire, South Park is still a resounding success even after decades of laughs. As many die-hard fans will tell you, the characters are the ones who make the show special. Sometimes, it isn’t even the main or recurring characters that make the episode memorable, but rather the one-off goofball that rakes in the chuckles. It’s easy to see that series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone love using these atypical characters to bring home the jokes. A few one-off characters have become regulars over the years, but the ones that remain in their solitary episode are still just as special.
The boys of South Park are no strangers to making enemies, but the one that seems to scare them the most is Trent Boyett. After a preschool prank went wrong, the boys blamed it on Trent Boyett, and he was taken away and thrown into juvie.
All goes well until he is released from his confinement and immediately begins hunting down the four boys who wronged him. The whole episode is crazy, but Trent’s tough prison mindset is a funny contrast to the other school kids.
Keyshawn the pimp is the star of another classic South Park episode from the show's thirteenth season. After Butters inadvertently becomes a pimp, he finds that he needs some advice on how to properly do his new job.
Butters meets up with a real pimp named Keyshawn who teaches the young and naive Butters how to make some real money. Even better is when Keyshawn falls in love with an undercover cop and marries him. Keyshawn could easily have been in more than one episode, though does make an appearance in South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
With a name like that it has to be South Park. In the pinewood derby episode, Randy steals a superconductor magnet to use for Stan’s Boy Scouts pinewood derby race, accidentally sending the car into warp speed and ultimately outer space.
Enter Baby Fark McGeezax, an alien bank robber carrying stolen loot. Baby Fark is hysterical, as a composite of old 1930s gangsters, he talks like a silly movie villain, but he is obviously an alien. In reality, Baby Fark is just testing the Earthlings to see if they are deserving to join the intergalactic community, which, of course, Randy ruins.
An 80s stereotype in the flesh, Tad is the jerk-wad skier who can’t seem to help but fall into the cliché role of an 80s bully. The whole Aspen episode is a satire of the cheesy 80s movies in which the newbie skier has to take on the king of the mountain to get the girl and save the day.
Awful stuff, but Tad is goofy nonetheless. As, in accordance with film trope rules, he loses the big race, but he’s still a great one-episode character and is responsible for some of the episode's very best moments.
An obvious parody of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood, The Goo Man is a freaky, but funny “goo salesman.” The Goo Man has but one purpose in his one episode, to sell edible goo. A satirical spin on processed food and meat substitutes, The Goo Man is easily the selling point of the episode.
Every time The Goo Man is on-screen, he gives the other characters the heebie-jeebies. His stern voice, yet silly mission, make him one of the more memorable one-off South Park characters in recent memory.
Charles Manson isn't particularly well known for his Christmas spirit, but he is familiar with his dedication to family. South Park uses Manson's terrifying image as a cult leader in parallel with the cute holiday fun of a Christmas special in the classic season two episode, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson."
After Cartman's uncle breaks out of prison with Manson, the boys find themselves spending the holiday season with the maniac, but, through a little Christmas magic, it becomes clear that even the most deranged psychopaths can find friendship and redemption.
South Park has always done a great job at staying relevant with the times. When the boys try to make "internet money" by creating a popular video trend in the essential one-off episode, "Canada on Strike," they find themselves among other early internet meme legends also looking for a payout.
From the Chocolate Rain singer to the Star Wars Lightsaber Kid, the internet's first memes come together in a tiny room for their hard-earned cash. Naturally, things get violent when their internet fame becomes a matter of competition, but, for fans of the show, the inclusion of these meme characters is unforgettable.
In the brilliant season ten episode, "Tsst," Cartman's bad behavior is put to the test through a series of intense television nannies, all of whom end up losing their minds.
The only match for Cartman's wickedness is Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, who immediately starts treating the lovable brat like a dog in this unexpected cameo. Somehow, this technique works, and the rest of Millan's tactics are downright hilarious as Cartman undergoes an emotional change from bad to good.
A hilarious Cartman alter-ego, A.W.E.S.O.M. - O 4000 is the poorly designed robot costume that Cartman wears on a trip to L.A. with Butters in an effort to retrieve an embarrassing video of himself.
The distance Cartman is willing to go pretending to be a robot character is extremely funny as is Butters' inability to recognize the blatant disguise. Things get hairy for Cartman when his robot antics cross paths with Hollywood and the military as they attempt to use A.W.E.S.O.M. - O for their own purposes.
Celebrities and famous figures are not strangers to the South Park universe, yet some cameos are much odder than others. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, finally made it onto the show in season 21 in the episode, "Franchise Prequel."
Portrayed as a bizarre villain who helps Butter's alter ego, Professor Chaos, spread fake news about the "Coon and Friends" superhero group, Zuckerberg is badly dubbed, uses imaginary mind powers, and continuously talks about blocking people. A perfect one-episode character to have in this superhero movie parody.
"Super Fun Time" is one of the most laugh-out-loud episodes in the show's history, placing the boys and their class in a field trip turned hostage situation, taking place entirely in an old pioneer reenactment town. When a high-tech team of robbers fresh off a heist (of Burger King meals) takes refuge in the pioneer town, the students must work with the reenactors to save all of their lives.
The only problem is that the reenactors refuse to break character and will go to extreme measures to ensure that everyone thinks it is 1864. Pioneer Paul leads this dedicated act, even going so far as to shoot another reenactor who was about to break character.
One of the funniest random one-off character teams on the show is the team of ghost hunters who investigate the paranormal occurrences that transpire in the episode, "Dead Celebrities." After Kyle's little brother, Ike, starts seeing the ghosts of recently deceased celebrities, the Ghost Hunters team steps in with state-of-the-art technology and paranormal equipment to try and capture some footage.
Although, all the cameras get is them freaking out over mundane normal household items and peeing themselves in fear.
In one of the more surreal episodes of the show, "Lice Capades," the South Park writers decide to go microscopic and look at the lives of lice living in Clyde's hair. As the students of South Park try and find out who brought lice into the class, the actual lice themselves are portrayed as characters stuck in a corny disaster film.
The lice subplot follows Travis Mayfield, a family man trying to save his civilization from doom after discovering the human presence far above them. The seriousness of Travis's quest for survival is a funny and thought-provoking juxtaposition to the South Park students' attempts to figure out who has the lice.
Another one-off character from the classic episode, "Canada on Strike," Stephen Abootman is one of the most iconic Canadian characters on the show (distinguished by their animated egg-shaped head).
As head of the World Canadian Bureau, Stephen is the very reason the country goes on strike; their main demand, "more money..." Stephen is an iconic anti-hero character, driven so fervently by his Canadian pride that he ends up almost destroying the country. His famous lines ("I'm not your friend, buddy!" etc) are still synonymous with the show even more than a decade after it first aired.
A parody of the classic crime-solving brothers, The Hardy Boys, the Hardly Boys are a pair of dim-witted detectives hired to discover who defecated in a school urinal in the hilarious episode, "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce."
A shameless exercise in nonsensical humor, the Hardly Boys seem more interested in following their "raging clues" than in solving the mystery at hand. Through dirty innuendos and implications, the Hardly Boys continue to crack up viewers with their idiotic smiles and disorganized wandering.