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Characters / South Park: Kenny McCormick

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Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick
"All the time! I die all the time! And you assholes NEVER REMEMBER!"

Voiced by: Matt Stone (normal muffled voice, Mysterion, and Iron Man costume), Mike Judge (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut), Eric Stough (unhooded), Lex Lang (adult narrator in "The Scoots")

The one with the orange parka. Lives with a very poor family, and often has to struggle to survive. Used to get killed off Once per Episode, but that's not the case anymore... usually, since Parker and Stone were getting tired of killing him off in every episode and running out of original ways to kill him. Almost always speaks with a muffled voice, with various levels of intelligibility.

His role in Coon and Friends is Mysterion.

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  • All Men Are Perverts: One of the prominent young examples on the show. He's the most sexually knowledgeable of the boys and often fantasizes about the female body.
  • And I Must Scream: Kenny dies again and again, only to wake up in bed absolutely fine. He remembers each and every one of his deaths, no matter how painful, and furthermore, no one remembers when he dies.
  • Anti-Hero: Kenny has the most heroic personality of the four main kids, as evidenced by his heroic sacrifices and general selflessness, though is also cynical to go with it. He has a lot of vices too, but not to the extremes of the others, and he doesn't deny them.
  • Archnemesis Dad: He's the spawn of Cthulhu, whom he called a pussy.
  • Back from the Dead: All the time. It's apparently his super power.
  • Badass Adorable: Mysterion is hardcore, and his entire story arc shows the true nature of Kenny's character. Yet he's only ten years old and wears his underwear over his costume!
  • Being Good Sucks: When it comes down to it, he will do the right thing, but due to how his immortality works, no one remembers his Heroic Sacrifices.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't suggest that immortality would be pretty cool. It fucking hurts.
    • Don't make NASCAR look like it's only for poor and stupid people, Kenny WILL try to kill you if he has to.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Whilst Kenny is normally one of the more kind-hearted of the Boys, that changes when you press one of his buttons.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Kenny, who is normally both The Quiet One and The Unintelligible, certainly qualifies as of the "Mysterion" story arc. He says the most he ever does during these few episodes, and his Berserk Button is revealed; do NOT mess with his little sister.
  • Big Brother Instinct: You don't want to mess with Karen McCormick. Mysterion will come and kick your ass, even if you are a girl. In The City Part of Town, when his father screams at Karen to get a job if she wants stuff and she runs off in fear, he death stares his dad as he walks off to comfort her. At the end of the episode, Kenny gets her a new doll just to make her happy.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Does this a couple of times, most notably in the Cthulhu trilogy and at the end of The Movie. As of "The Poor Kid", he is this to his little sister.
  • Big Good: As Mysterion, he's the unofficial leader of Coon And Friends, despite Cartman thinking that he's the leader.
  • Blessed with Suck: Either that or Cursed with Awesome. His super power is being unable to die, and people don't remember that he died. He does, however, and when Kyle remarks that being immortal would be cool, Kenny snaps that it's not cool, because he remembers every single one of his deaths and he remembers how much it fucking hurts.
    Human Kite: What's the big deal? I mean, I think it'd be pretty cool not to be able to die.
    Mysterion: PRETTY COOL?! Do you know what it feels like to be stabbed?! To be shot?! Decapitated?! Torn apart?! Burned?! Run over?!
    Toolshed: Kenny, Kenny, calm down.
    Mysterion: It's not "pretty cool", Kyle! It fuckin' HURTS! And it won't go away, and nobody will believe me! Remember this time! Try and fuckin' remember! (pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the head)
  • Born Unlucky: His repeated, traumatic deaths are almost always Played for Laughs.
  • Break the Cutie: Played straight in The Movie at first, where Kenny's fatal death sends him into the fiery pits of hell in which he suffers perpetual abuse at the hands of Satan. Thankfully, his fate ends when he realizes that Satan is a actually a misunderstood nice guy who's suffering an abusive relationship with his boyfriend Saddam, which thereafter sends Kenny into Heaven like he initially desired.
  • Broken Masquerade: He's the only one (besides his parents) who knows/can remember that he keeps dying, and is aware of (and remembers) some of the Eldritch Abominations that the cast encounters. He also hates it when other people don't remember him dying.
  • Butt-Monkey: He used to be the show's resident Chew Toy / Butt-Monkey. In much earlier seasons, he dies at the end of nearly every episode. It's lampshaded in the Thanksgiving short with Jay Leno making a guest appearance. Not only was Kenny dying every episode, but he and his family were constantly mocked by the other characters because they were so poor. It was mostly Cartman who joked about it, but the others would always laugh along.
  • Camp Straight: Downplayed. Kenny has definitely shown attraction to girls and does regular boy activities, yet he willingly dresses up as a princess during the Black Friday Trilogy.
  • Catchphrase: "Woo-hoo!", usually said when excited about something; it being sometimes sexual.
  • Character Development: He starts off as the most bland one of the four and merely a prop. Nowadays he has a fully fleshed out character and even has a superhero alter-ego.
  • Characterization Marches On: In early seasons, Kenny was nothing but a little pervert, a chew-toy of fate and a Yes-Man for many of Cartman's schemes. While bits of this is still present, since he's started dying less often he's become slightly more intelligible for regular viewers and with him disagreeing often to Cartman's more unpleasant schemes, it has since moved on to Butters. Once we learned that his superpower is real and not just a continuity reset, he's become slightly more virtuous, more assertive, and more respected by the boys themselves. He still doesn't like dying, though.
  • Character Tics: Pulling on the drawstrings of his hood when he's scared.
  • The Chew Toy: He has been injured, beheaded, burned, shot, run over, etc. hundreds of times.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: As Mysterion, he wears his underwear on his costume.
  • Cool Big Bro: This guy puts on his superhero alter-ego just to cheer his little sis up, and in "City Park of Town" used the money he's earned to buy Karen a new doll. Yeah, hard to get much cooler than that.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The universe really hates him. Taken to extremes in "The List": Wendy and Bebe are fighting over a gun, then it accidentally discharges. Everyone in the vicinity checks themselves, and none have been shot. Cut to Kenny in his house miles away, where the bullet suddenly comes through the window and strikes him in the head. It may be due to the universe not liking having the spawn of Cthulhu in it.
  • Creepy Child: As Mysterion. Also is this if you consider his usual obscured face and quietness a bit on the creepy side.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Underneath his hedonistic exterior, Kenny is hardcore as Mysterion.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: As Mysterion. He wears black and talks in a (bad) Nolan Batman-like gravelly voice, but is a legitimate superhero — unlike the Coon. Notably, the Mysterion persona downplays Kenny's hedonistic and perverted qualities and rather shows another side of Kenny's character... His character's true nature.
  • Demoted to Extra: After a few years of resurgence (especially with the Mysterion arc), he eventually ended up as background decoration by Season 20, in which he had one line; even Annie and Red, living props in their own right, have more lines than him. In fact, Kenny had more prominence in Season 6 (you know, the time when he stayed dead for a whole season) than he did in Season 20. He retains his spot in the opening credits over the much more prominent Butters and Randy, however. This trend was reversed again during Seasons 21 and 22, when he had as much screen time as the other three boys, multiple lines in many episodes, A Day in the Limelight episode in "The Scoots", and his first deaths since Season 16.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Pretty much literally. "Come on, Cthulhu! Kill me, you big pussy!"
  • Die Laughing: In "Scott Tenorman Must Die" and “Chickenpox”.
  • Dirty Coward: Happens often. When he, along with the rest of his friends, does something wrong (or even think that they did), he usually tries to frame it on Butters. He can also be rather cowardly in life-threatening situations, even though he can't actually die.
  • Dirty Kid: While the other kids suffer from Ping-Pong Naïveté, Kenny is dirty through and through!
  • Doom Magnet: In addition to inadvertently dooming others along with his friends, he also attracts doom to himself, of course.
  • Double Standard: Violence, Child on Adult: Completely Played for Laughs, he chases his mother around the house with a plunger in "Cartman Joins the NAMBLA" to begin an abortion procedure on her.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: In the Big Damn Movie, he drops his hood to his friends and says goodbye before setting the world back to the way it was and reviving all the dead.
  • Dysfunctional Family: While most South Park families have their fair share of problems, his is one of the more stand out examples. His parents; while they have their moments, are alcoholic, drug addicts. They also tend to beat each other a lot, are in poverty, and generally neglectful. This forces Kenny to be the 'adult' of his family sometimes, as he tries to make things more bearable for his siblings, especially his little sister. His older brother is implied to be a drunkard as well.
  • Expy: Becomes one for Batman in the Coon episodes (with a question mark theme ala the Riddler).
  • Enfante Terrible: Becomes this in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" when he tries every method he can think of to stop his younger sibling from being born.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: As "anime" Princess Kenny, he can apparently make men fall in love with his cuteness just by being there, though it's debatable whether the Sony Princess Box turns him into an actual girl.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Was made a Japanese princess during the Console Wars. Also see Wholesome Crossdresser.
  • Extreme Omnivore: There's a few times where he'd ingest things he shouldn't. The episode "Fat Camp" had him do this for money.

  • The Faceless: Except for The Movie, "Good Times with Weapons", "The Losing Edge", "Meet the Jeffersons", and "Major Boobage". Also in "The Coon" and the "Coon and Friends" trilogy. His princess outfit in South Park: The Stick of Truth would apparently have been another example, but was scrapped for the current design that puts the costume over his parka (most likely because the linked design would have made him unrecognizable and, due to the art style, too much like an actual female).
    • Amusingly, the times he's appeared without his hood on the show (following The Reveal from the movie) have all happened without any attention being drawn to it, to the point that it takes many viewers a little while to realize that the messy-haired blond kid is actually Kenny.
  • Flanderization: Think about how poor he is or how he's ignored. His perverted nature has also been exaggerated, though granted this has arguably broadened his character as well.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "The Most Offensive Song Ever", good lord. In the opening credits for the first five seasons, Kenny's muffled dialogue is "I like girls with big fat titties, I like girls with deep vaginas". This remains intact in all reruns, because you can't really hear it.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He may be ready to pull out all the stops to get high or get laid, but he's an honestly Nice Guy who cares about his friends, and when it comes to other people, he will do the right thing including being willing to die for people, and has executed a Heroic Sacrifice on more than one occasion. But if he gets the chance to take revenge on some bastard who pissed him off or did the wrong thing (mostly Cartman), he will take it, and he will fuck up anyone who threatens his little sister.
  • Guttural Growler: His usual, unmuffled voice is the highest pitch-sounding of the boys. As Mysterion, he masks it with a deep, raspy voice to hide his identity and sound intimidating.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Subverted; see Good Is Not Soft above. As Princess Kenny he even parodies this trope by using a blonde wig for the outfit, with golden-haired princesses being the most significant examples.
  • The Hedonist: Kenny's far too interested in sex for his own good and will do anything to get high.
  • Hero Antagonist: In "Poor and Stupid". The episode focuses on Cartman trying to become a NASCAR driver and, in the process, starting to ruin the business's reputation. Kenny goes as far as to risk his own life to end this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He has died this way a few times, including at the end of The Movie.
  • Honorary Princess: In "A Song of Ass and Fire", the Japanese make Kenny a princess.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The source of his immortality has something to do with the Cult of Cthulhu and R'lyeh.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Dark blue eyes, actually. In "Starvin' Marvin", a turkey clan attacks him and rips one of his eyes out, with a close-up revealing a dark blue iris.
  • In the Hood: A defining example. Not counting his time as Mysterion, he's dropped his hood on less than 10 occasions, and when asked by a nurse while he was dying this one time why he insisted on wearing it, he only shrugged. His hood has also been suggested to attract bad luck to him, and although he has died without it, you really have to wonder why he's insistent on keeping it on. Also, for those who are new to the show and may be wondering, he has blond Shonen Hair underneath it.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: His dialogue in early seasons is made up of muffled grunts, but the other characters respond as if they understand.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Zigzagged. Despite often being as cynical and profane as the other boys, his heroism has not gone unnoticed — by the audience at least. The characters are another story, which may well explains his "less-than-heroic" traits.
  • Killed Off for Real: Subverted. In the episode "Kenny Dies" he is hospitalized, and nearly the entire episode is taken seriously (at least as seriously as South Park can be taken). He dies at the end of the episode and remains dead throughout the entire next season, showing up only as a ghost or in flashbacks.
  • Kill the Cutie: The universe loves to break or kill him. And then bring him back again.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Don't mess with his little sister Karen, or you WILL face the consequences.
  • Kawaiiko: Again as anime Princess Kenny. Apparently he's so cute that his cuteness is his superpower.
  • Living Prop: One of the reasons for his eventual replacement. He came back, though.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: He's obsessed with the female body, reads porn magazines, and is sexually knowledgeable despite his age. One episode even medically 'diagnosed' him as a "Sex Addict". He's well received among the fandom on the "Lovable" part through his general selflessness, his sacrifices, his bond with his little sister, and his heroic alter-ego as Mysterion.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Played so straight that Kenny, aka Mysterion, may as well be the first "Lovecraftian superhero".
  • Mauve Shirt: Nowadays he tends to only get killed off once a season or so.
  • Meaningful Name: Kenny means "born of fire". What do young Mr. McCormick and the mythological phoenix have in common?
  • Morality Pet: Kenny seems to be a student Mr. Garrison has a soft spot for, as he spoke a heartfelt eulogy for him in "Kenny Dies" and tried to feed him when he was off life-support in "Best Friends Forever".
  • Mundane Utility: If Kenny ever feels tired, he can just kill himself and wake up after a night of sleep.

  • Never Bareheaded: Until the movie, his head was never seen without being covered by his parka.
  • Nice Guy: Very much so. Kenny's usually the most light-hearted of the four boys and will go to almost any lengths to do the right thing, especially as Mysterion.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Since he knows he will come back. However, it still really fucking hurts.
  • Only Sane Man: In his family. He is also this in "The Coon Trilogy".
  • Out of Focus: He gets the least amount of individual spotlight out of all of the four boys (and even some other regulars), especially after his Running Gag deaths were omitted. He tends to get A Day in the Limelight at least Once a Season to moderate it, however, and generally does a lot more from the "Coon and Friends" trilogy onwards.
  • Put On The Bus: His death in "Kenny Dies" had a permanent effect for the remainder of Season 5 and Season 6. He was "revived" and resumed his role in "Red Sleigh Down" onwards.
  • The Quiet One: He doesn't speak in several later episodes.
  • Running Gag: His deaths. Originally Once per Episode, but have been downplayed more and more post Season 7. Many later episodes also tend to make elaborate gags about his voice. Another more subtle gag is that due to his economic status; he'll usually have a "poorer" version of whatever the other kids have, barring a few exceptions where he actually gets something rather expensive.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Possessed Cartman's body after his ashes were consumed towards the end of the sixth season.
  • Shonen Hair: Under the hood.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: One of the most obscene kids. Just about a majority of his sentences include some form of swearing. It's barely audible due to his muffled voice, so this is a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar. Interestingly enough, due to the fact that the word's use of hard consonants means it's more intelligible than most in Kenny's muffled voice and that he says it so much long-time viewers are used to hearing it, "fuck" is one of his most intelligible words.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": At one point, his surname was spelled with a "K".
  • Staying Alive: No matter how many times he dies, he always comes back from his deaths.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kenny is a master of this when he's dressed as Mysterion.
  • The Stoner: He doesn't have the "surfer accent", but Kenny has had an entire episode dedicated to him getting high on cat piss, and Cartman once mentioned that he enjoys getting high by paint-sniffing.
  • Super-Powered Alter Ego: His superhero identity as Mysterion definitely counts, as he's also shown to be Super-Strong Child at times, as mentioned below.
  • Super-Strong Child: He's been shown to be pretty strong on quite a few occasions, especially as Mysterion. According to him in "The Fractured But Whole", he apparently works out.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: It's mentioned in one episode that he's only friends with Cartman out of pity.
  • Take That, Audience!: You know how South Park fangirls often draw the characters in "kawaii" anime styles? Well, in the "Black Friday" trilogy, Kenny actually becomes a character of that type. And he's a super-prissy Magical Girl too.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Trope Namer. He dies in nearly every episode during the first five seasons. Thereafter, he's only killed sporadically.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • Usually Kenny's speech is muffled by his parka, allowing his dialogue to be far more profane than the other characters' at times. However, there have been a few occasions where he has taken off the hood and been able to speak intelligibly, such as the end of the movie, "The Jeffersons", and whenever he appears as Mysterion. Later episodes tend to get rather creative in using Kenny's voice unmuffled while still maintaining his ambiguity.
    • A couple of episodes have people who've known Kenny for a while, such as Kyle, translating Kenny's mumblings for people who've just met him. People who've known Kenny for a long time can often learn to understand what he's saying, even including longtime viewers.
    • Oddly enough, even though Kenny still wears his hood as "anime" Princess Kenny (complete with female wig), he can speak intelligible (but purposely mangled) Gratuitous Japanese. "PURINSESU KENNI ASSISUTO!" Additionally, when Kenny dressed up as Iron Man for Halloween, the mask simply added a metallic reverb to his voice rather than muffling it completely (the voice was provided by Matt Stone himself).
    • If you watch certain episodes on DVD however, turning on English subtitles can provide translations to most of his dialogue.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As Mysterion, he went from one of fiction's most (in)famous Butt Monkeys to the show's equivalent of Batman. While his fight with Professor Chaos (Butters) was a slap fight, he may have been holding back to not hurt him, as he protected his sister from a bully later on.
  • True Companions: With Butters in "Going Native".
  • Tuckerization: Kenny is named after a childhood friend of Trey Parker's, who was the poorest kid in the neighborhood, always wore an orange hoodie that muffled his speech, and would sometimes disappear for days at a time, leading the other kids to speculate that he'd died.
  • Underwear of Power: Parodied with Mysterion, as he wears a pair of plain white underwear over his superhero costume.
  • Undying Loyalty: To his friends and his sister.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In early seasons, Kenny's deaths were treated as a normal occurrence to the point that the other characters are aware or weren't phased by them at times. Certain episodes like "Cartman's Mom Is Still A Dirty Slut" and "Cartmanland" even make light of it. However, from Season 7 onward and as of the Mysterion arc, the only ones that can remember his deaths anymore are Kenny himself and his parents since they now cause a mind wipe whenever he resurrects.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Decides to be a princess in the Game of Thrones episode trilogy and the game "The Stick of Truth". Not so wholesome in the latter though, considering he betrays the group and ends up being the Final Boss.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Kenny (as Mysterion) explains how horrible it is to die over and over again in disturbing detail.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Despite his hedonism and general lack of self-preservation instincts, Kenny is one of the most level headed characters in South Park when it comes to serious situations and is usually the one that the characters can trust with their life decisions. He is also the only member of the boys to understand the responsibilities of being an adult even when he is just a 10 year old boy.
  • With Friends Like These...: While Cartman has always mocked Kenny for how poor he is, in earlier seasons, Kyle and Stan were just as guilty of this. All three were also very dismissive of his well-being at times. This changed in the later seasons.
  • Would Hit a Girl: If you mess with Karen McCormick, Kenny will invoke this one. He's also seen beating up two girls in "Faith Hilling" from a rival group.


Example of: