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Bill Hader Explains The Inspiration Behind South Park's Infamous 'Fishsticks' Episode

From 2005 to 2013, Bill Hader was a regular "Saturday Night Live" cast member, becoming legendary for his impressions and the character of ultimate NYC clubber Stefan (via IMDb). Yet, he remained busy with other projects as well. He was even a creative consultant and producer on the controversial cartoon "South Park" for several years.

Hader first started working on "South Park" after befriending co-creator Matt Stone in LA during the filming of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (via Vulture). After leaving "SNL" in 2013, he joined the staff full-time, though the writing process is very unconventional. "I don't actually physically write any episodes. You sit in a writers' room with Trey [Parker] and Matt, hashing out an idea, and then Trey goes and writes," Hader explained to Vulture. This is part of the show's famous turnaround, where episodes can be finished in only a week (via Cartoon Brew).

One famous "South Park" joke that can be partly credited to Hader is the famous Kanye West "fishsticks" bit. Here's what happened.

Bill Hader heard fishsticks wrong, and it stuck

During a New Yorker Festival interview in 2014, Hader said the first episode he worked on was the Season 13 installment, "Fishsticks." The actor and writer explained that part of writing for the series involves "South Park retreats," where "you get to stay in a nice hotel, and then you wake up in the morning and you go to a suite, and you just talk about 'South Park' ideas."

The "fishsticks" joke was inspired by the writing group going to a fish ladder. The writers started riffing on the salmon, and in the process, Hader became confused by the pronunciation of "fishsticks" versus "fish d**ks." Inspired, Trey Parker checked to make sure no one had made this joke before. The writers then intended to use the gag to make fun of someone with no sense of humor — which they decided would be Kanye West.

The real-life West's response to the episode was mixed at best. The rapper at first praised the episode and acknowledged his own ego (via Pitchfork), but later included digs at the show's writers within his song lyrics (via Genius). Seems like the "South Park" writers picked the right target after all.