Actor Allusion: See Celebrity Paradox below. Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith, host of San Andreas' classic rock station K-DST, complains about the plaid-wearing grunge rockers featured on the modern rock station Radio X, which his own voice actor — Guns N' Roses vocalist Axl Rose — was famous for wearing himself in real life.
Earlier in Lazlow's and Couzin Ed's real life radio careers, Lazlow was the sidekick of Couzin Ed, whom he would almost always tease on-air.
Adam Westing: Lazlow is written and voiced by real-life radio host Lazlow Jones, who delights in making his character as reprehensible as possible.
Lazlow's collegue and friend, Couzin Ed, has a cameo in Vice City as the previous host of V-Rock who crank calls his replacement, Lazlow.
The Ahnold: Many of the Jack Howitzer films are Schwarzenegger movie parodies, such as Commando (Evacuator Part II; both are soldiers with their families kidnapped), Terminator (Annihilator, possibly in name only) and Kindergarten Cop (Special Needs Cop).
All Natural Snake Oil: Waylon Mason, who appears on the Pacemaker segment of IV's liberal talk radio station Public Liberty Radio (PLR), promotes his "home remedies" and attacks the other two guests — Sheila Stafford and Wilson Taylor, Sr. — as agents of big pharmaceutical and insurance companies, respectively. The show ends with him giving both of them involuntary trepanations in order to remove the "demons that are controlling them."
Alternate Continuity: Averted. Even as IV jettisoned the established canon and started from scratch, GTA Radio's continuity went on, with Lazlow making a return and several gags and characters from previous games (Love Fist, the Epsilon Program, Marvin Trill) being referenced. The radio is arguably the only point of continuity between the III canon and the IV canon.
As Himself: Lazlow and Couzin Ed, although the two are much friendlier in real life. Bas Rutten, though, is not much of an exaggeration.
"I heard what you've been saying about me. You think steroids shrunk my genitals!"
Bestiality Is Depraved: Referenced and Played for Laughs. In Vice City's K-Chat, one of Amy's guests is Pat "Mr. Zoo" Flannerdy, an Australian biologist with an unusual love for animals. In San Andreas the Country Music station K-ROSE makes reference to it on some station IDs.
"K-ROSE — for when you spend more time with farm animals than your wife, you'll get a lonely heart and a nasty infection!" (Sound of goat bleeting)
Brick Joke: Due to the nature of the medium, which part is the setup and which is the punchline varies. On III's' Chatterbox FM, a man calls in to talk about eating wildlife, especially pigeons. Some of them little notes attached "like fortune cookies". Later, a woman from anti-technology pressure group Citizens Raging Against Phones (CRAP) calls in, mentioning the difficulty of organizing meetings without phones, resorting instead to using carrier pigeons that mysteriously disappear for some reason.
Max Cavalera: "Fuck you, Jimmy [Gestapo], you left puke all over the studio last night!"
Casting Gag: Mike Whitely, one of the more notable radio announcers of IV's Weazel News, is voiced by an actual radio veteran, John Montone of CBS' New York City-based 1010 WINS AM.
Celebrity Paradox: Axl Rose voices Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith in San Andreas's classic rock station K-DST, yet Guns N' Roses clearly exists in the game's continuity, since the song "Welcome to the Jungle" plays on modern rock station Radio X. Adding to the humor, Sage, the station's host whom Tommy publicly dislikes, claims to have slept with the entire band before Appetite for Destruction was released.
Played with on The Beat 102.7 in IV. The station features real-life Hot 97 DJs Funkmaster Flex, who claims Liberty as his hometown. Flex also implies that the universe's version of Nas is from Dukes.
Cluster F-Bomb: Jimmy Gestapo, DJ of IV's LCHC (Liberty City Hardcore). Luke (voiced by the man of the same name from 2 Live Crew) on Vice City Stories' Fresh 105 FM is this as well, as is Iggy Pop of IV's Liberty Rock Radio.
Deadly Game: Liberty City Survivor, advertised in III. The ad, complemented with fan footage from IV, can be listened to here. Arguably the basis for Manhunt.
Deadpan Snarker: The female station announcer of San Andreas's WCTR seems to be this, particularly in WCTR News intros.
(WCTR News #01): "Next up on WCTR — the news. We tried to make it interesting and not depressing."
(WCTR News #03): "Next up, we've got the news. This time, some of it's true! Who are we kidding?"
(WCTR News #04): "Next up, it's sensationalist propaganda. I mean, the news."
(WCTR News #06): "Is the world ending? We hope so — we need the ratings. The news is next!"
Defictionalization: Lazlow Jones, radio scriptwriter for most GTA games from III onwards, has an actual XM radio show, in large part because of his resurgent popularity stemming from his involvement with the series, including, but not limited to, hosting a radio show in each game. He directly references it in IV, when he uses lines about remembering a time "when 16-year-olds could drink, smoke at bars, listen to heavy metal, and get into high-speed accidents" which was lifted directly from the opening to his show.
The Ditz: Amy Sheckenhausen from Vice City's K-Chat fits this trope perfectly, flirting with her famous or attractive guests and, until the end of an interview, being completely oblivious to the fact that one of her guests was promoting bestiality.
Fake Band: A staple in early GTA games, it was mostly dropped by the time III came around with all but two music stations (Head Radio and Lips 106) playing licensed music. In Vice City, Hair Metal parody band Love Fist had two original songs — "Dangerous Bastard" and "Fist Fury" — on V-Rock (the game's rock station), and Unaesta and Alpha Banditos had three on the Espantoso station, (Yo te mire by "Tres Apenas como eso" and "La vida es la un lenteja" by Unaesta and "The Bull Is Wrong" by Alpha Banditos). Liberty City Stories was the last game in the series to have original music.
Fictional Video Game: Vice City has commercials on its radio stations for the Degenetron game system, which features such titles as Defender of the Faith ("Destroy the blue dots with your powerful red square!"). In San Andreas, they appear on retro arcade machines. You can't play them, but you can play the "emulator" on the defictionalisedDegenatron "fansite."
III also has ads for Pogo the Monkey, which is later referenced by a Pogo the Monkey arcade in the cab firm from Vice City.
Frivolous Lawsuit: In San Andreas, there is a news story of a man suing the Renaissance Fair because a replica catapult he purchased didn't have a label warning him not to fire it at his insurance agent's house, accidentally setting the entire neighborhood on fire.
"I don't wanna work very hard so I've hired a lawyer. I'm gonna be rich!"
Hanging Judge: Judge Grady, host of court show parody "Just or Unjust" segment of IV's right-wing talk station We Know the Truth (WKTT). The show's introduction has him fining a man a million dollars for "wasting the court's time," and he uses duels and gladiatorial combat between plaintiff and defendant as a means of settling disputes.
"Our new satellite in China is something all Americans can be proud of."
I Am Not Spock: Vice City's Claude Maginot, a classically-trained actor who is incredibly dismayed about how he is best known as the star of the sitcom "Just the Five of Us", which he calls "commercial dross". In an interview on K-Chat, he tries to steer the subject toward his interpretive dance show, "In the Future, There Will be Robots", and breaks down into a rant when Amy keeps trying to push the subject toward his show.
I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In San Andreas, Jack Howitzer accidentally shoots interviewer Billy Dexter, first host of WCTR's Entertaining America segment (he was replaced by Lazlow after a long hiatus). It's implied that he was sentenced to death after doing this. The Ballad of Gay Tony reveals that he was eventually paroled.
In Game TV: Starting with IV. In past games, there were also ads for various TV shows, although you couldn't watch them.
Kent Brockman News: All over the place, particularly San Andreas' WCTR News and IV's Weazel News.
Large Ham: Among others, most notable are Lazlow and radio news anchors Richard Burns (San Andreas) and Mike Whitely (IV).
Mood Whiplash: All stations in San Andreas have a completely different set of scripts and reactions that play during the riots. Most of them are deadpan serious though. K-DST's Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith even shows genuine concern for the citizens and urges them to try to stay out of harm's way. The scripts return to normal once it ends, and due to the open ended nature of the game, cannot be accessed again unless you start a new game and go through the whole story all over again.
Naked People Are Funny: One of the guests on Vice City's "Pressing Issues" is Barry Stark, a nudist whom Maurice keeps behind a screen (the other guests on the episode are The Fundamentalist Pastor Richards and soccer mom Jen Brown). When Barry insists on coming out from behind the screen, Richards shoots him in the genitals and Jen faints.
New Media Are Evil: Parodied by Jen Brown, a guest from the Pressing Issues segment of Vice City Public Radio of Vice City, where she expresses concern about how her son runs around looking for gold coins to steal.
Also, according to San Andreas' WCTR News, CDs are turning children into killers.
From Vice City's K-Chat, Pat "Mr. Zoo" Flannerdy is a transparent Steve Irwin parody with an unconventional "love" for animals. He is later removed from the studio by his doctor who reveals to Amy that he is just a mentally sick man and is dragged to a mental clinic. The game was released before Irwin's death.
Similarly, Crow's single name, activism and love of tantric sex means he is likely a parody of rock star Sting. He used to be the lead singer of "Ambulance" and describes his music as a "power pop reggae afro-beat".
Odd Couple: I Say/You Say, a political debate show hosted by husband-and-wife team of Peyton and Mary Phillips. Peyton is a borderline communist while Mary plays the greedy capitalist. For example, when dealing with a caller who has recently buried corpses of illegal immigrants in his backyard, Mary advises him to use them to evade taxes while Peyton mentions recycling and organ donation. Their irreconcilable polarity inspired WCTR's station announcer to quip in the outro to their first segment...
Only Sane Man: Lazlow and his southern counterpart, Maurice. Over time, Lazlow became less of a Straight Man and was unmasked as something of an attention whore, whose current job on Chatterbox is richly deserved.
Our Founder: The "Salvation Statue Organization", which promises salvation (in the form of a radiation-proof giant living space/effigy of Richards) to all those who pay him large donations. He later reveals that he was actually planning on using the money to build himself a mansion in Hawaii.
Ow, My Body Part!: Pastor Richards snaps, and, disgusted by Barry Stark's nudism, pulls a gun on Stark and shoots him. Barry survives and "is in need of a proctologist".
Sequel Escalation: GTA 1's tiny handful of radio stations had around three songs each. By the time the IV saga rolls out, it had expanded to several hours' worth of licensed music, dedicated chat shows, celebrity DJs, advertisements, websites and TV channels.
Jimmy Gestapo, DJ of IV's punk station Liberty City Hardcore, rants at length about the extremely hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyle that he feels punk should be. Also, Iggy Pop, DJ of IV's classic rock station Liberty Rock Radio, talks about how a lot of the best music was made on drugs, and bemoans the fact that fewer rockers nowadays use them.
Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith of San Andreas' classic rock station K-DST is fond of this trope as well. Hell, the station's identifications are all narcotic plays on its nickname of "The Dust".
Station ID: "If the police can't stop you... (*police siren and gunshots*) you must be on... The Dust."
Station ID: "When all your drinking friends have gone to rehab, we encourage you to stay on... The Dust."
Sage of modern rock station Radio X very much counts as well.
Sage: "I smoke! I smoke cigarettes, I smoke cloves, I smoke anything that can go up in flames! I'm crazy! That was Danzig. Slept with the whole band."
Shout Out: The Republican Space Rangers' suits are a pretty blatant Halo reference.
Show Within a Show: One of the most elaborate ever made, stretching across every game in the series.
Small Name, Big Ego: Sage and Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith on their respective radio stations in San Andreas.
Peyton (liberal) and Mary (conservative) Phillips, husband-and-wife hosts of the "I Say/You Say" segment of San Andreas' WCTR, are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of James Carville and Mary Matalin, political consultants of opposing beliefs who started dating (and eventually married) while working on behalf of Bill Clinton and George HW Bush, respectively, during the 1992 Presidential elections.
Vice City brings us Pastor Richards and Alex Shrub. The former is a corrupt televangelist with an outsized ego who rails against moral degeneracy while keeping multiple mistresses and embezzling money from his church to build himself a mansion in Hawaii, according to a Freudian Slip. The latter is a Sleazy Politician who uses blatant spin to cover up Vice City's decline under his term, supports stripping away regulations and legalizing everything however dangerous it is, and calls for a ban on pornography while simultaneously engaging in cross-dressing and an affair with famous porn star Candy Suxxx.
IV gives us Richard Bastion, a jingoistic, mean-spirited conservative talk radio host who believes in establishing an American Police State and a psychopathic foreign policy (any similarities to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are purely coincidental), and Brandon Roberts, a left-wing actor whose progressive activism is strongly implied to be more about improving his public image than anything else (any similarities to George Clooney and Sean Penn are also purely coincidental). There's also John Hunter and Michael Graves, two gubernatorial candidates who spend more time attacking each other than explaining their policies, to the point where it's tough to tell who represents which end of the political spectrum (other than their political allegiances — Hunter a Democratic, Graves a Republican — which are more like Informed Attributes)... which makes them Not So Different, reinforced by the fact that both sides accuse the other of supporting a retreat from The War on Terror and are fiscal conservatives.
In Episodes from Liberty City there's "John Smith", a parody of Alex Jones and right-wing conspiracy theorists in general. He entertains (and often voices) every single crazy conspiracy theory and bit of general paranoia and racism that his listeners phone in with, and only hangs up on an obvious neo-Nazi because he doesn't want to receive another fine. He also interviews Abigail Grayson, a Crazy Survivalist soccer mom with extra emphasis on the "Crazy".
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Vice City's Amy Sheckenhausen, host of K-Chat, is a ditzy teen who gushes over her celebrity guests; they usually prove to be perverted or deranged or both. Her avatar in Liberty City Stories is Melissa Chowder of LCFR's Breathing World, a hyperactive Granola Girl. Weirdly, both girls end up interviewing Australians: Pat "Mr. Zoo" Flannerdy and Crow, respectively.
Take That, Audience!: Independence FM, a station exclusive to IV's PC version that plays songs off from the player's computer, has station IDs that hint at the songs being stolen.
Jack: Oh, there's only one thing to do — I gotta defend freedom! No time to cry, only time to die! <three gunshots> WELCOME TO THE LAND OF FREEDOM, BITCHES!!!YAAAAAAHHHHH!!! <starts firing his gun into the air; the station then goes static>
Announcer: "Bait and Switch — Vice City's only radio show devoted to water sports, power boats, water skiing, free flounder fishing and dialecticalmaterialism. Ugh, wrong script. Who wrote this shit?!"
Announcer: "Yeah, that's more like it. And tits!"
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: In order to explain why Lazlow appears in nearly every game since III, the host has been fired from no less than six shows — in three separate states.