South Park has always been on the cutting edge and far past the envelope where humor is concerned. So when Trey Parker, one of the purveyors of the long-running hit show, suggested that the upcoming season will avoid Donald Trump jokes, he may have been signaling a seismic shift in popular culture. It could be that bashing the president as a ratings booster may be over.

Mocking the president

Donald Trump has an out sized personality that practically begs for parody and mockery. Alec Baldwin has created a new career for himself by playing a caricature of the president during episodes of “Saturday Night Live.” Stephen Colbert, who had been in the ratings basement ever since he replaced David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show,” has enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to his relentless mocking of Trump.

Every other late night comic has their share of Trump jokes at the ready.

Even “South Park” was not immune to the Donald Trump temptation. During the last season, it ran a story arc in which a long-running character named Mr. Garrison has morphed into a Trump clone in a run for president. Parker and his partner Matt Stone has to scramble to change an episode on the fly when, quite unexpectedly, Trump won the election, beating Hillary Clinton.

A push back against anti-Trump humor

Jay Leno, the semi-retired former host of “The Tonight Show,” has decried the reliance of Trump mockery on the part of late night hosts. Leno had been an equal opportunity offender when it came to puncturing politicians when he was ruling late night.

Now he regards Trump jokes as the sign of a lazy comedian, taking an obvious object of ridicule and running with it.

Trey Parker has come to view Trump jokes as “boring” and has promised that “South Park” will avoid them in the upcoming season. Instead, he promises, the show will return to the character-driven zaniness that made it so beloved by a generation of viewers.

As an example of the sort of thing that is in store was an episode in which Cartman dressed as a robot to make trouble for Butters.

South Park” has enjoyed considerable success by noting trends in humor and them pushing them far past where one might have thought the breaking point is. It is often vulgar, outrageous, and sometimes appalling. But “South Park” has always been popular. So if Parker says that mocking Donald Trump is so 2016, then other people who make their living causing others to laugh might do well to listen.