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Podcast / Chapo Trap House

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All I wanna be is El Chapo... All I wanna be is El Chapo...

Chapo Trap House is an American political comedy podcast that debuted in 2016, hosted by Will Menaker, Felix Biederman, Matt Christman and Amber A'Lee Frost. Former co-host Virgil Texas departed the show in mid-2021. Chris Wade (formerly Brendan James), serves as producer. The hosts are known by their respective Twitter handles @willmenaker, @ByYourLogic, @cushbomb. The hosts (and many of their guests) are prominent personalities within "Weird Left" Twitter, a loose cabal of Twitter users who share a broadly leftist political outlook and absurdist senses of humor.

The podcast started in the midst of one of the most bizarre election cycles in American history and quickly built a cult following, with the hosts providing hilariously vulgar, irreverent commentary on the political and cultural issues of the day, often riffing on obscure Twitter in-jokes and such esoteric interests as mixed martial arts and Turkish nationalism. Despite its niche appeal, the pod has featured a number of high profile guests, ranging from fellow internet personalities such as Natalie Wynn and Hasan Piker, to prominent figures in media and academia, such as Adam Curtis, China Miéville, Tim Heidecker, David Cross, James Adomian, Professor Richard Wolff, Alan Moore, Slavoj Žižek, Ben McKenzie, and Oliver Stone to 2020 presidential candidates Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Joe Sestak, and Bernie Sanders.

New episodes are posted twice weekly, with one being for free and the other being for $5-a-month Patreon subscribers only.

This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In his first appearance, Trump White House official Sebastian Gorka calls up who he believes to be a person named "Chapo Traphouse" and addresses the hosts collectively as "Mr. Chapo".
    • In a later appearance, as he descends into the studio from a helicopter, he looks at the individual hosts and says "Chapo, Chapo, Chapo, and Chapo... I see you're all here."
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • The Election Night 2016 live show is in part a parody of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove in which Will acts the part of the titular character (replete with wheelchair, German accent and a gloved Evil Hand), Felix playing a General Ripper-type character, a Pablo Ferro-esque credit sequence in the film version, and a sing-along of Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" at the end of the night. (The show was even supposed to end with Felix's character being Driven to Suicide by Hillary Clinton's win, but this had to be cut due to Donald Trump unexpectedly winning the election.)
    • The Upset Governor is one both of Fawlty Towers in particular and British radio plays in general.
    • Episode 52 with guest Jeremy Scahill begins and ends with a British voice (producer Brendan James feigning an accent) calmly narrating in the style of documentarian Adam Curtis, who was later a guest on episode 65.
    • Episode 102's cold open is a parody of the courtroom climax of Mrs. Doubtfire, only with Brendan as fellow family-court victim Alex Jones defending his on-air persona.
    "What about what's in my frickin' heart, you ROBOTIC WORM DEMON?!"
    • Episode 104 is another live show parodying another Kubrick film, The Shining; the venue represents the Overlook Hotel, Brendan is the hotel manager, Matt is the unhinged alcoholic writer and father, Will is his young son who channels Marc Maron, Virgil is a ghostly bartender who is obsessed with trains and elevators, and Felix once again dresses in an army uniform because he thought they were parodying Full Metal Jacket (though it's also implied his proposed Scatman Crothers costume involved blackface).
    • The intro to episode 138 is a parody of certain episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959), specifically The Eye of the Beholder and Time Enough at Last. Matt's infamous audio quality issue is finally resolved after he moves to New York, but as it turns out, everyone else now has terrible audio - Will is at his family's estate, Felix has joined Hezbollah, Virgil is in the hospital after being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, and Brendan somehow teleported to a dimension made of pure audio. Matt screams "IT'S NOT FAIR, IT'S NOT FAIR" as the show's famous theme opens the podcast.
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates: Their complaint with the portrayal of Saul Alinsky in Hillary's America — because D'Souza is pushing hard the metaphor that the Democratic Party is a grift or scam of some kind, he misses the chance to show Alinsky as a nefarious political organizer and focuses instead on how he ripped off hamburgers and coffee from punch-ticket automats.
    Felix: "How is it stealin' if they have th' noive to charge a quarter for a sandwich? Such bad food, and so little of it!"
  • All Men Are Perverts: Felix’s pundit character Carl Diggler not-so-secretly lusts after women’s feet and camgirls and engages in sexual tourism; more generally, the hosts often assert that male right-wingers are largely motivated by sexual pathology.
  • Alter-Ego Acting:
    • A Type 1 example: while Felix usually acknowledges Carl Diggler as a fictional character he and Virgil write, he has also "played" the character on episodes of Chapo (most notably episode 44, a sort of semi-crossover with DigCast) and sometimes remarks that a real pundit has said or done something Carl Diggler would. note 
    • Felix is usually in his 'dumbest guy at the gym corners you at the squat rack to talk to you about his thoughts on the Middle East' comic persona, but on occasion the other hosts have remarked on something as seeming like it was written by 'a Felix character'.
    • Lately Felix has begun appearing as Lou Perltzman, a camp, bitchy art collector and fashion critic.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Often invoked. In a joke carried over from Diggler's columns, Felix often maintains that both John Kasich and Al Giordano are secretly half-bright, train-hopping hobo grifters looking to scam Republicans and Democrats, respectively, just to get free meals and lodging. (This assertion was helped by Kasich's love of restaurant photo-ops during his campaign and Al's often disheveled or unwell appearance.)
  • Ambiguously Brown: Virgil, whose ethnicity Felix describes as "...Asian?" In the iconic "What will become of the Dirtbag Left?" article in The New Yorker, Virgil claimed he doesn't self-ID as Asian-American but 'wouldn't be offended' if called that.)
  • Ambulance Chaser: Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney and "fixer", who they compare to Lionel Hutz due to his hilarious levels of incompetence. Felix and Matt speculate that Cohen only entered Trump's orbit because of his loyalty and willingness to work for free.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Call of Cthulhu episodes take place in the early-mid 1920s, but the jokes and references made are more generally old-timey than historically accurate; Rule of Funny and the MST3K Mantra both apply here.
    • Enoch Musk is said to have invented a penny-farthing bicycle that had two big wheels in the 1910s; in real life, these bikes fell out of fashion around the turn of the century.
    • At the 1925 World's Fair, Felix references Nikola Tesla's death; in fact, Tesla wouldn't die for another eighteen years.
    • Wax cylinder recordings are references several times, and while they were still around at this time, they became obsolete around 1915 once disc recordings were introduced.
    • Matt (as Dr. Pennyfarthing) mentions liking the radio show Amos 'n' Andy in 1925, though it wouldn't debut for another three years.
  • Anti-Climax: Both episodes with Patton Oswalt discuss the infamous Szechuan sauce incident, and the second culminates in them trying a packet of the stuff that Matt had acquired. They describe it as no different than the sweet-and-sour dipping sauce available at any random Chinese restaurant, and are even more baffled at the fact that this inspired mass hysteria from nerds.
  • Armchair Military: Talked about in Episode 175, where they discuss an article in Foreign Policy magazine entitled "It's Time to Bomb North Korea". The author dismisses any prospects of reconciliation between the two Koreas on their own terms, advocates preemptive, unprovoked airstrikes against North Korean targets, and casually brushes off the prospect of millions of people in Seoul being killed by North Korean retaliation with a blitheness that Will describes as "Strangeloveian". The cold blooded, condescending, and completely out of touch attitude of the article legitimately disgusts the hosts, and they're clearly quite angry while reading.
    • Revisited in Episode 325. During the Trump Administration's drumbeat for war with Iran in 2019, the Chapos discuss how little the warhawks in the White House are working to sell the war to the public (thinking a damaged oil tanker and a destroyed drone would be enough of a casus belli to carry America to war). This brings them to the Millenium Challenge wargame of 2002, when the U.S. military simulated an invasion of an unnamed Middle Eastern country that totally wasn't Iran at all. note  The boys were not impressed or confident that the American military had learned its lessons, or that Trump could implement a better invasion strategy...
  • Armies Are Evil: Their view of the US military and national security apparatus, which they perceive as an instrument of imperialism responsible for most of the suffering worldwide. They also believe that most "troops," are simply sociopaths who signed up for the military to have the opportunity to kill with impunity.
  • Armored Closet Gay:
    • Deconstructed in Episode 105 with regards to conservative Christian blogger Rod Dreher, known for his frequent homophobic and transphobic screeds. While they note that it's cliché to accuse vocal bigots of being closet cases, they insist that his obsession with the subject must mean he's repressing something (even if he himself doesn't know exactly what). They theorize that his painful upbringing (a father that viewed him as a weakling and a disgrace, a family that coldly rejected him) has made him envious of LGBTQ youth who break free of the stigmas imposed by their families and become at peace with their identities, while he himself was forced to gain acceptance elsewhere by attaching himself to conservative, patriarchal religions.
    • They also theorize this in regards to Ben Shapiro, after reading his numerous oddly fetishistic descriptions of tall, muscular men in True Allegiance. They particularly note how often Ben uses the phrase "bear of a man".
  • Ascended Extra: Brendan, Virgil, and Amber were initially just guests before becoming the show's producer and co-hosts, respectively.
  • Author Appeal: Several instances.
    • Felix has a bit of an obsession with referencing games like Halo and Metal Gear Solid as well as the rapper Eminem, which while funny, are often incredibly tangential and have, in more recent episodes, received explicit chastises from Brendan especially, who tells Felix that he'll get 15-30 seconds before he cuts his mic. He also has an Eric Andre-like predilection for joking about famous sex offenders and war criminals, notably Jared Fogle and William Calley. More recently, he's picked up a big Game of Thrones and Neon Genesis Evangelion obsession.
    • Matt is a movie buff, and several episodes have been dedicated to reviewing films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad (2016) and Ghostbusters (2016). He even hosts the spinoff movie podcast Frost/Christman with Amber A’Lee Frost. Recently, he's also been making a lot of references to The Dark Tower.
    • The hosts have an esoteric fascination with Turkish politics, and several segments have been dedicated to it; people who donate to the show on Patreon are called Grey Wolves after the Turkish ultranationalist movement of the same name.
    • Both Felix and Matt have recorded solo bonus episodes in which they talk about things they find interesting; Felix gives an analysis of Les Misérables (2012) and talks about an article he wrote about Saudi Arabian youth living under totalitarianism, and Matt talks about a 19th century German communist who moved to America and became a Union Army general in the American Civil War.
    • If the hosts have all recently watched a film or TV show, chances are they'll end up referencing it on that week's episode. A reading of the Liberty University scandal draws an extensive and detailed comparison with The Righteous Gemstones, which had recently premiered, and Felix spends the start of one episode comparing the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to Eva pilots because he'd finished watching it on Netflix.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Felix has repeatedly joked about Pete Buttigieg dealing with his publicly suppressed rage by shooting dogs.
  • Berserk Button: The crushingly banal writing style of libertarian blogger Megan McArdle (in addition to her "thundering idiocy") is this for Matt, who's usually reduced to a sputtering, screaming wreck by the end of any Reading Series featuring her writing.
    • In episode 118, Will reads from an article by McArdle in which she attempts to rationalize the cost-cutting that led to a deadly apartment fire in London; the horrific thesis and clunky prose makes Matt so angry that his screaming leads the security staff of the building he's in to show up at his door.
    Will (reading from the article): "All the political will in the world cannot conjure up enough sprinkler systems, and sprinkler-system installers, to instantly transform a nation’s housing stock—"
    • Felix becomes incandescent in the premium episode 449 at the prospect of the Democrats sitting out the 2020 presidential debates, characterizing it as the party depriving Americans of one single fun thing that could happen that year.
  • Book Dumb: Felix opts to sit out the interview with China Miéville because he "doesn't read books and thought they were interviewing the author of Moby-Dick".
  • Boomerang Bigot: Felix, who is Jewish, constantly self-describes as an anti-Semite. His comic monologues in which he pushes hard on Jewish stereotypes can often make Will audibly uncomfortable, and in one case (a scenario where he likened something to a wealthy Jewish grandfather whose contemptuous sons are both sucking up to him in the hope of getting the larger piece of the inheritance) incorporate anti-Semitic stereotypes the other hosts didn't even know existed.
  • Born In The Wrong Decade: Felix theorizes that if conservative Christian blogger Rod Dreher had been born more recently, he would have grown up to be an asexual Tumblr kid instead of a vocally homophobic and transphobic bigot.
  • Brain Uploading: After riffing on the idea of self-piloting vehicles being used as a potential terrorist weapon, the hosts concoct a fake action movie trailer in which Osama bin Laden downloaded his personality onto a thumb drive before he died and is plugged into a self-piloting airplane to carry out another 9/11.
  • Brain with a Manual Control: Republican presidential candidate and famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson (voiced by Felix) claims in the intro to episode 26 that he knows how to directly stimulate a person's brain stem so that their legs "march" while they lie down on the operating table.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Will's Call of Cthulhu character has Single-Target Sexuality for his deceased sister.
  • Broken Pedestal: They think most believers in the right-wing "QAnon" conspiracy theory are people who put all of their faith in Donald Trump to make good on his campaign promises and have fallen into this after he failed to deliver on them despite controlling all three branches of government. They theorize most of them latched onto the theory's story of an insidious splinter faction within the government conspiring to stop Trump as a way to avoid confronting this.
  • Buffy Speak: Felix calls this "soy dialogue" and loathes it, but is also able to imitate its cadence perfectly in order to make the other hosts squirm.
  • The Bus Came Back: After resigning as Producer/Co-Host in November 2017, Brendan returned for The News Queen, where the hosts review The Post.
  • Butt-Monkey: Quite a few:
    • Conservative Catholic columnist Ross Douthat is the most frequent target of the show's mockery of pundits, with several instances of the Chapo Reading Series dedicated to him.
    • Conservative Christian columnist Rod Dreher from The American Conservative is a staple of the Reading Series as well, usually concerning articles that are extremely homophobic and transphobic.
    • Ben Shapiro's nasal voice and highly arrogant demeanor have been repeatedly parodied, and his hyper-patriotic thriller novel True Allegiance has been the subject of several Reading Series.
    • Dan McLaughlin, a conservative pundit who self-styles as The Baseball Crank has been repeatedly mocked (owing largely to his ridiculous avatar image) and has been parodied as "The Billiards Fool" on DigCast and as "The Baseball Rube" in the Call of Cthulhu episodes; in nearly every instance, he is portrayed as having a Mickey Mouse-esque warbling falsetto voice (provided by either Felix or Virgil). (On one occasion, he was played with a growly, Lip Lock-affected voice that made him sound a beefy villain from a poorly-dubbed shounen anime, mocking a Twitter spat with pundit Joy Ann Reid which reads like a stilted translation from Japanese.)
    • Among the actual hosts, Virgil is often the subject of jokes about his gastrointestinal difficulties and love of Overwatch. The other hosts will also tell listeners to send all their hate mail to Virgil when they say particularly controversial things.
    • The hosts of the podcast Pod Save America get a good roasting often for their willingness to squash their political allies in order to appease their political enemies, using bureaucratic tactics to combat disinformation, or for being jet-setting types who can't stand sharing power with newcomers.
    Virgil: (Reading an excerpt from the Pod Save America book Yes We (Still) Can!) "If Democrats do not close the [blog posting] gap soon, we will once again have our message drowned out..."
    Will: Mister President, we cannot allow a posting gap!
  • Capitalism Is Bad: All five of the hosts and the vast majority of their guests are unabashed socialists, and much of the show's criticism of mainstream American politics revolves around the idea that both the Democratic and Republican parties advance the exact same varieties of destructive neoliberal economics that are responsible for most of the country's problems.
  • Catchphrase:
    • In the early days, Will would often cue the theme music by saying "Chapo, let's go!"
      • More recently, he's taken to saying "Greetings, friends... it's your Chapo for this week" or in the case of premium episodes, "It's your midweek Chapo".
    • Most shows end with Will asking "Till next time, guys?" and everyone responding with "Bye!"
    • Felix tends to respond to particularly baffling or stupid things by saying "Holy shit".
    • Matt tends to say "Hell world" when making cynical predictions about the future, and also tends to describe Trump voters as "hooting swine".
    • After the Midwest tour, where someone had made a sign saying "WE LOVE IT" that Matt found impossible to not use as a cue card, the boys started saying "we love it" constantly.
    • Whenever one of them impersonates Barack Obama, they'll always begin by saying "Um, let me be clear..."
  • Caustic Critic: They have multiple episodes devoted to reviewing films or books that they find particularly odious, usually in an MST style. Notable targets of the show have included Dinesh D'Souza's documentary film Hillary's America, Ben Shapiro's novel True Allegiance, John Travolta's mafia film Gotti, and DCCU movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad (2016), and Justice League (2017). They also devoted two particularly scathing episodes to The West Wing and The Newsroom, which they view as epitomizing the sort of smug, elitist liberalism that they fervently despise. One movie they tried to watch was Range 15, which they found so depressingly awful that it even broke their ability to properly make fun of it. While holed up in quarantine during the Coronavirus pandemic, Felix also began This Is Sus, a series of bonus episodes reviewing primetime Glurge-fests like This Is Us and A Million Little Things.
  • Characterization Marches On: James Adomian's Sebastian Gorka impression started off vaguely menacing and befuddled before evolving into more of a Diabolical Mastermind with every appearance.
  • Children Are Innocent: Downplayed. While the guys do make fun of kids from time to time, it's usually only in relation to their parents, such as Jeff Jacoby's sheltered son, Caleb, writing his family "poison pencil notes" calling them bad parents, or young John Podhoretz having to be physically restrained from watching TV all day. (Will even mentions that they found some amateur trance music of Caleb's on Soundcloud, but didn't want to embarrass him by playing it, saying that everyone does dumb stuff as a teenager; he goes on to clarify in a later Reading Series that their sympathies always lie with Caleb, given that Jeff's weird psychosexual hangups and smothering, ultra-Orthodox parenting style essentially screwed the poor boy up from the beginning.)
    • In a similar vein, they initially try not to make too much fun of the Baseball Crank's late father for being a NYC beat cop, but later go all in when they learn he was still racist enough to take the time to write a concerned letter to President Reagan about the dissolution of white rule in Zimbabwe.
    • Joe Biden's son Hunter gets this to an extent. While he's fair game for jokes about his corrupt corporate dealings, they sympathize with his addiction struggles. They make it clear that Hunter isn't the villain because he fought against a cocaine addiction, since these are problems millions of people have. They instead focus their ire on his father for escalating the War on Drugs, which Felix calls "one of his most underrated crimes".
  • Clip Show: Parodied in the one-year anniversary, where, until the very end, all the clips are either fake (re-enacting the Gore Vidal / Bill Buckley confrontation about Matt's dildo cannon tweet) or completely counter-factual (lustily chanting "TRUMP!" after the election and declaring that "the white race is coming back").
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • The show portrays Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson (voiced by Felix) as a slow-talking lunatic who's obsessed with Biblical minutiae.
    • They see conservative intellectuals like Rod Dreher or Ross Douthat this way, as they're willing to publicly document their bizarre thought processes in contrast to the carefully crafted messages of centrist commentators.
  • Cold Open: Quite a few episodes start this way; sometimes it's a pre-prepared sketch, sometimes it starts In Medias Res of an extended riff on something. Occasionally there won't even be any theme music or a proper intro at all.
  • Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch: The hosts continually berate BoJack Horseman as a terrible show, apart from Virgil, who likes it a lot. Part of what makes this so amusing is that the other hosts all admit they have never watched the show and refuse to do so, with Felix even admitting that it's "probably an OK show" but that it's more fun to pretend it's terrible.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The show's presentation of Jesse Ventura and Lyndon LaRouche, both of whom had 'interviews'note  containing Word Salad conspiracy rantings.
  • Conversational Troping: Felix constantly references Looney Tunes physics, Marx Brothers routines and old-timey comedy, and will frequently reel off lists of Depression-era comedy tropes as a joke template ("me and my boys are gonna drink from a jug with three Xs on the front and start to get a little rowdy..."), especially to parody the paranoia of their political adversaries.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are very much this in their eyes.
  • Crapsack World: Invoked. Their personal word for this is "hellworld", and they apply it to real life quite frequently. Cynical predictions from the hosts are often termed "hellworld predictions". Matt is particularly predisposed to this.
  • Crossover: Episode 44 is a live episode where Felix and his writing partner Virgil Texas appear in character as Carl Diggler and his millennial intern from DigCast; the same performance was used in that week's DigCast episode.
  • Cultural Cringe: They're largely disdainful of American culture, or at the very least middle class suburban culture. Matt opines that white America largely has no unique culture, characterizing it as tacky, corporate trash like, to quote him, "Minions t-shirts, and 'ISIS Hunter' bumper stickers, and fucking Cheesecake Factory".
  • The Cynic: All of them, but Matt most of all. Some of his trademark "Cush rants" can border on Despair Speech.
    • Virgil is an occasional subversion; as many fans of the show note, he seems to be the only one of the co-hosts who has any faith in the American electoral system, and will sometimes disagree with the other hosts' dour predictions about upcoming events/elections. On a few occasions he's even been proven right, such as when he correctly predicted Doug Jones defeating Roy Moore in Alabama.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of the hosts to one degree or another, but particularly Felix. He easily has the most sarcastic sense of humor, is quick to adopt a ludicrous point of view for comedic purposes, and does not suffer fools.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Used for Self-Deprecation. Their Call of Cthulhu characters are the hosts of a 1920's radio show called Capone's Speakeasy, which is dedicated to "race science, repealing women's suffrage, and insisting that Fighting Bob La Follette would have won the 1924 Presidential Election". Matt's character is Dr. Matthew Pennyfarthing, a disgraced 60 year old ex-surgeon who is addicted to ether, collects women's shoes, and wears adult diapers due to his incontinence issues; Will is Dr. William Hackenbush, an opium addicted doctor of phrenology who worships Ra and has an incestuous relationship with his sister; and Felix is Felix Cumtree, who is obsessed with stealing World War I valor and ends up becoming the great-grandfather of Eminem after a blow to the head causes him to invent "white jazz spoken word" and change his name to Marshall Mathers.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: An unusual example where the dissonance is brought to the present day; the hosts often semi-jokingly opine that modern-day right-wingers still subscribe to outdated racial science like phrenology to justify their prejudices, and occasionally refer to outdated forms of racism like anti-Irish sentiment.
    • Episodes 74 and 76, based around a Call of Cthulhu game that takes place in the Roaring Twenties, give the Dry Boys a chance take this trope up to eleven; their characters not only practice phrenology and hate the Irish but are also anti-Italian, anti-Catholic, obsessed with various pseudosciences, and addicted to opiates.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Virgil files a story after a tour of Berlin, detailing how a 12 person climate protest prompts the destruction of the state of Germany and a collapse of Europe's largest economies.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Despite his military background and not having a snowball's chance of winning the 2020 Democratic nomination, the Chapos found Admiral Joe Sestak to be a really nice guy when they interviewed him in Iowa. He even brought a bottle of primo barbecue sauce to their roast of him (apparently not understanding the context of "roast" for the interview) and took the time to listen and engage with the crew.
  • Drop-In Character: James Adomian's version of real-life Trump administration official Sebastian Gorka, who quite literally drops into the studio from a helicopter in one episode; unlike most examples, the hosts actually enjoy his intrusions, and treat his fascist rambling with a mix of bemusement and deference.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first two episodes are (understandably) little more than freeform discussions between the hosts with little or no post-production and low audio quality; it wasn't until episode 3's guest Brendan James offered to edit and produce the show and that it began to find its voice.
    • The early episodes end on a feature called "Chapo Duck Hunt" (originally "Chapo Death Threats", but hastily Bowdlerised to something less illegal), in which the hosts pick a target and roast them with deliberately over-the-top and unwieldy threats while thumping trap music plays. This was excised as the podcast started to gain wider popularity as an 'important' politics show.
    • Early episodes do use the r-slur and jokes about having aggressive sex with female roast targets. These were never intended with any serious malice but are gone from later episodes. Also, the addition of Virgil sees the running joke about train guys become more of an affectionate, intracommunity stereotype of autistic people.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Felix's Call of Cthulhu character is a drug addict, anti-Semite, and Phony Veteran, but finds Will's character's incestuous relationship with his sister to be "sus".
  • Everything Is Racist: While the hosts are quick to decry bigotry in all its forms and rarely shy away from accusing others of prejudice, the flippant and irreverent way in which they discuss these issues has led to accusations of racism, sexism, and fascism. This is often sarcastically Lampshaded by Felix by pretending that racism and saying racial slurs is a recreational pursuit for him and that his family owned a "racism factory".
  • False Dichotomy: The hosts tend to view most of the American political discourse as this; from their left-wing perspective, centrists and moderate liberals are only superficially preferable to right-wing Republicans, who are at least more honest about their own awful opinions and beliefs.
  • Fan Community Nickname: Those who donate to the show on Patreon are known as "Grey Wolves", an ironic joking reference to a Turkish ultra-nationalist movement of the same name.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: They view Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro as this. Being too stupid and ineffective to be taken seriously, probably even moreso than Trump.
  • Fat Bastard: They tend to portray John Podhoretz (whom they dub "The Treat Ogre") as a demanding Manchild only eats at burger restaurants and spends every meal terrorizing the waitstaff. This stems from the fact that, not only do most of the personal accounts related to him that they can find (including from his own social media presence) depict him as being kind of a caustic asshole in general, but they notice a suspiciously high number of these stories center around him being an Unsatisfiable Customer at restaurants, such as causing huge scenes over minor inconveniences like the food getting to the table a few minutes later than he'd like.
    • After Podhoretz's complaints extend even to cinema concession stands, the hosts call for action, demanding that all New York City eateries tell him to fuck off, with Matt even offering to match him order-for-order to make up for lost business (a proposal he admits may end up killing him).
  • Faux Affably Evil: This tends to be how the hosts view liberal/centrist politicians and pundits who pretend to be morally superior to and nicer than bigoted, classist right-wingers while enacting and defending many of the same destructive, reactionary policies.
  • Flanderization:
    • The hosts' impression of Hillary Clinton is based entirely off of an instance of her referencing Pokémon GO at a campaign rally.
    • Felix's impression of French people hinges on the idea that they're all unhinged lummoxes obsessed with crass, Islamophobic Charlie Hebdo-style humor.
  • Flowery Insults: Matt can come up with some outright Lovecraftian sounding insults (e.g. describing Florida as "the suppurating anus of America").
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Will has one for Turkish culture, while Felix is deeply interested in Middle Eastern history and politics.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • Felix announces that the show is changing format in the cold open to episode 18, and debuts his radio play The Upset Governor, starring a wealthy British politician and his bumbling Portuguese manservant.
    • Episode 67 is designated as the "Swordfish Episode" because nobody cared enough to turn off the film Swordfish playing in the background, just adjusting the volume very low instead; as such, they will occasionally break to discuss Travolta facts.
    • Episode 74, "Capone's Speakeasy", goes back somewhat to the radio play format, as the guys play 1920's versions of themselves investigating a suspicious D.C. pizzeria in a Call of Cthulhu campaign.
  • For Want of a Nail: Will discovers in the 2018 Christmas Special that if Chapo Trap House had never existed, Hillary would have won the 2016 election, all of his cohosts would have rich and fulfilling lives, and humanity would be colonizing the Solar System under Hillary Clinton and Elon Musk's space program. However, his cat Marty is homeless in this universe, leading Will to immediately go back.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Matt is the Superego. He's prone to doing long rants and serious, scholarly historical analysis, and concerned with what should be done instead of the stupidity he has to talk about on the show.
    • Felix is the Id. He is mostly interested in everyday life, like drama between YouTube MMA fighters, watching TV and playing Dark Souls, as well as a number of revolving hyperfixations which he compares everything to for about two months. He admits he forms his opinions by just making things up based on guesswork with absolutely no knowledge of the subjects, but his high level of instinctual insight means he's usually right, which he used to his advantage when beating Five Thirty Eight's accuracy record with his parody pundit's predictions on who would win each political race.
    • Will is the Ego - the main leader of the show, with an analysis that is less technical than Matt's, less instinctive than Felix's, but incorporating both.
  • The Fundamentalist: Felix often pretends that he subscribes to radical Islam, declaring various things "haram" (forbidden in Islam) and praising ISIS and Hezbollah.
  • Funny Foreigner:
    • Felix’s character DeCrecio, the bumbling Portuguese manservant to an angry British governor.
    • Another one of Felix's characters is Karl Digglère, Carl Diggler's French counterpart.
  • Gambit Roulette: Parodied with their joke interpretation of Sebastian Gorka as a genius-tier plotting master who puts David Xanatos and Master Xehanort to shame.
  • Ghost City / Wretched Hive: A large portion of the 2017 Inauguration episode is just the hosts venting their anger at what a desolate, hateful, esoterically designed place Washington D.C. is, and how only wonks who fetishize byzantine rules could love it. After being forced to walk hours in the middle of the night to get beer at a Chinese fusion restaurant (the only place for miles that sold alcohol), Virgil yelled, "What the hell is wrong with this city?!"; a lanyard then actually stepped out of the shadows and smugly replied, "Uh, NOTHING is wrong" (which led to Virgil screaming at him in public). They even theorize that the Pizzagate rumors may've started because all of D.C.'s eateries are so alien and sinister to outside visitors.
    • They also describe nearby National Harbor, Maryland this way after traveling there for CPAC 2019. They describe the town's establishments as having oddly generic names, and Will compared it to a fake American city constructed by the Chinese government in the middle of the desert.
  • Godwin's Law: Averted; the hosts rarely shy away from describing right-wingers as fascists and comparing people to Hitler (though it's sometimes Played for Laughs). Matt even came away from the 2016 Republican National Convention convinced that Donald Trump is a fascist based on the style of his rhetoric.
  • G-Rated Drug: Felix doesn't drink, but is a big fan of kratoum.
  • Hidden Depths: Felix, in addition to his deep knowledge of video game lore, is extremely well versed in Rap music.
  • History Repeats: Matt makes a convincing case in the Suicide Squad (2016) review that Warner Brothers' mismanagement of the DC Extended Universe bears many parallels to The Vietnam War.
  • The Horseshoe Effect: Averted; the hosts are situated pretty left-of-center and tend to disdain moderate liberals and centrists almost as much as conservatives and radical right-wingers. They have decried the concept of the Horseshoe Effect by name at least once.
  • Hot-Blooded: Matt, who is the most likely to start Suddenly Shouting and going on impassioned rants of all the hosts.
  • Humanoid Abomination: A Running Gag is that Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is a Nyarlathotep-esque being that wants to destroy all life. This principally comes from his vocal support for fracking, to the point of drinking fracking fluid to prove that it's harmless, which they contend could only come from a desire to accelerate climate change and end the world.
  • Humiliating Wager: In late 2017, Matt and Virgil bet on who would win a special senate election in Alabama; Virgil predicted that Democrat Doug Jones would win, while the pessimistic Matt believed that Republican Roy Moore—despite his history of pursuing sexual relationships with teenage girls—would win by four points. They agreed that the loser of the bet would have to not only literally "touch a poop", but also touch "intellectual poop" by reading a book by either archconservative pundit Erick Erickson or alt-right darling Jordan Peterson. Virgil won, and Matt touched a piece of one of Amber's cat's poop on livestream.
    • A similar wager was made following the publication of the Mueller Report, where Matt predicted Trump's approval ratings would reach 50% within two months, while Virgil believed it would go under. The loser would have to watch a month's worth of The Daily Show (Virgil) or The View (Matt) and livetweet about it. Virgil won again.
    • During the 2018 midterms live show on Twitch, Matt proposed a similar wager over who would become Governor of Florida: the Republican Ron DeSantis (Matt), or the Democrat Andrew Gillum (Virgil). The loser would have to drink a beverage they hated on the stream, with Matt drinking coldbrew coffee and Virgil drinking tap water, explicitly so Matt could get revenge on Virgil for 2017. Matt won.
    • Another "touch a poop" wager was made in the lead up to the 2020 Presidential election. The Chapos unanimously predicted a Biden win, bordering on an electoral sweep. If Trump managed to win, the Chapos all agreed to touch a poop- with one caveat. None of them would have to touch poop if the Trump victory came through electoral theft or a court case.
  • Idiot Hero: One of the reasons they liked Aquaman so much is that Jason Momoa's Aquaman comes across as an endearingly goofy meathead in contrast to the unbearably grimdark heroes of previous DCEU films as well as the overly self-aware snarky heroes seen in MCU films. Felix referred to it as ''Black Panther for dumb guys".
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Matt's reaction to the increasing certainty of Donald Trump's victory during the 2016 election live show was to shout "Fuck it!" and start knocking back cans of PBR.
  • Inherently Funny Words: The boys note their review of Venom (2018) hinges a lot on how funny you find the word "goop".
  • Inkblot Test: In a live episode, Carl Diggler takes an inkblot test; an inkblot resembling Bernie Sanders reminds him of “harassment of women”, a perfectly circular one makes him think of his son (“he is as round as the day is long!”), and one resembling a woman’s feet makes him think of “beauty, eroticism and togetherness”.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • This is a hallmark of Felix's humor and persona. In the episode where they review Suicide Squad (2016), he theorizes tongue-in-cheek for several minutes that the movie is actually an extended metaphor for how the family court system oppresses divorced middle-aged men.
    • In the live Election Night 2016 show, Felix's General Ripper-type character asserts that Iranian soldiers' refusal to masturbate provides them with a lower center of gravity, and thus better aim, due to the higher accumulation of semen in their testicles.
    • Virgil and Felix attempt to debate having children. Virgil clarifies that 'it is wrong to have children', but not because of climate change, but because the resources spent on child-rearing could be spent on utopian automation technology, and also because 'if I made a robot, programmed it to feel pain, told it I would switch it off in 70 minutes, and set it on fire, it would be funny and we would all be laughing... but it would still be a wrong thing'. Felix's rebuttal is that you should have children, because you can name them after your fandom ("Lannister... Deep Space 9...") and use them to win arguments about interminable left-wing drama by insisting you're just trying to create a future for your kids. Will eventually concludes that, wherever you come down on this issue, the one thing everyone should agree on is that their listeners' major life decisions should be based on whatever the Chapo hosts tell them to do.
    • In their interview with "traditional Catholic" writer Matthew Walther, Walther compares anal sex with punching a baby in the face, reasoning that just because both acts are anatomically possible, that doesn't make either of them okay. This instantly makes the hosts laugh uproariously.
    • A trademark of the Megan McArdle writing pieces about (mostly) recent tragedies they feature on the show and one of the reasons all of them seem to hold her in contempt. Many of her columns about preventable tragedies and other sorts of corruption are essentially playing Devil's Advocate to the point that it veers directly into this, often justifying the actions that led directly to the tragedy with unprovable Butterfly Effect-style assumptions. For instance, her piece most infamously featured on the show was her piece defending the owners of Grenfell Tower in London for not keeping the building up to fire code by arguing that some of the people who died in the fire might have died in a traffic accident if they lived somewhere else. They've even theorized that she's actually paid to intentionally write such asinine things about tragedies as a way of drawing attention away from the people actually responsible for them.
  • In-Series Nickname: Over time, the hosts have come up with several appelations for various groups (including themselves) that may not be self-evident for those outside Weird Left Twitter, which can lead to Continuity Lockout for the unfamiliar:
    • "Brain worms" are what people have if they have a certain kind of conspiratorial, disarranged, fixated mindset that indicates a broken relationship with reality, such as a pundit convinced that everyone retweeting a joke tweet making fun of them must be an army of democracy-subverting bots from the Kremlin, or a guy who donates hundreds of dollars a month to a ranting YouTuber who makes four hour videos about how tofu consumption is a (((conspiracy))) to turn men gay.
    • "CHUDs" or "MAGA CHUDs" are the basic, stereotypical Trump supporters - the ignorant old white dudes in Make America Great Again hats who think Obama was born in Kenya, the Gen-Xers who run boat dealerships and post Minion memes, the scarlet-faced, sweaty young asshole in a polo shirt who hasn't been out of air conditioning for more than 15 minutes in the last ten years who yells "are you triggered? are you triggered?" at suspected libs. It comes from the 1980s horror movie C.H.U.D., where it stands for "cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers".
    • "Dirtbag Left" is a term coined by Amber to refer to their own general political tendency; disaffected younger leftists who refuse to abide by the mainstream liberal standards of decorum and respectability, exemplified by their brash sense of humour and irreverent rhetorical style.
    • The three original hosts occasionally refer to themselves "Dry Boys", a term they jokingly came up with after "dry-dick randos" became a Twitter meme phrase beginning in 2014.
    • "Failsons" (or "faildaughters") are the useless offspring of privileged people, who are incompetent but their societal position prevents them from the worst consequences of their worthlessness; it can refer both to high ranking failsons who get floated into positions of power and influence by their family despite having no observable skills (Donald Trump Jr., Meghan McArdle, and Vasily Stalin have all been described as failsons and daughters), as well as to low-status failsons who stay in their parents' basement "gaming and masturbating" all their lives but at least get a life of relative comfort and no fear of starvation.
    • "Hillarymen" are obsessive male Hillary Clinton loyalists—usually reasonably well-off—who have no actual political philosophy beyond their love of Hillary as an icon, and congratulate themselves on being feminists because of it. Peter Daou, Hillary campaign manager and CEO of Verrit, is the template.
    • "Hot couch guys" are a hyperspecific, but somehow universal, genre of dirtbag, most common in the American Midwest, who own dry-wipe faux-leather couches which are mysteriously hot in all weathers and temperatures. They are known for their great levels of hospitality to anyone who wants to come up with them, unhygienic and dysfunctional quality of living, and getting mad at you if you turn off the TV even if it's only been looping a DVD menu for the last eight hours. Other defining aspects of hot couch guys include: owning either exotic pets, such as snakes or iguanas, or extremely ill behaved dogs; an interest in sports that never translates to actual athletic ability; constantly making plans to go camping but never following through; always having the thermostat set way too high (thus making the couch hot); smoking cigarettes inside; drinking alcohol out of plastic cups; aspirations to a career in either special forces or MMA fighting; hyperspecific house rules for things like the types of salsa you're allowed to eat; having posters for movies like The Godfather or Pulp Fiction on the wall; and hanging out with 15 year olds well into their late 20s or early 30s.
    • A "lanyard dick" (or just "lanyard") is a member of the political pundit/wonk class who has no real views concerning any side, beyond employer loyalty, and tends to focus on how their understanding of the legal and interpersonal minutia of politics makes them extremely clever; it refers to their typical office attire.
    • "Large adult sons" (or just "large sons") are big, rowdy Manchildren who tend to be innocent yet terrible, and get into surreal and upsetting mischief. The Chapo company is "Large Sons Productions LLC" and Diggler's "round son" Colby is derived from this archetype.
    • "Pepes" are antisocial alt-right edgelords who live on the Internet, referring to Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character who bizarrely became an alt-right mascot. "Anime Nazis" is another name for them, referring to their tendency to have anime profile pictures.
    • "Successdaughters" are the significantly rarer opposites of the failson.
    • The podcast will occasionally say "triple parentheses" after particularly high-volume dogwhistles to indicate the alt-right code of using (((triple parentheses))) around an innocuous comment to indicate that they mean it in an anti-Semitic way.
    • "Troop" is used as a noun to mean a soldier, singular (mocking the old "respect the troops" catchphrase) - e.g. "he's an op-ed writer but he's convinced on some level that he's a troop".
  • Insistent Appellation: In the unedited interview/debate with "traditional Catholic" writer Matthew Walther (which was uploaded to YouTube rather than included in an episode in full), Walther consistently refers to host Matt Christman as "Cushman", combining his real surname and his Twitter handle @cushbomb. Given the contemptuous attitude Walther has towards the hosts throughout the interview it's possible this is an example of Malicious Misnaming.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Chapo" refers to notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, and "trap house" is hip-hop slang for a crack house. Will came up with the name as a joke during the first episode and it stuck; the hosts and producer have occasionally expressed that it's not an ideal title but it's too late to change it.
  • Irish Explosives Expert: Danced around very gently by Matt in the Dublin Live Show. The crew made a bit about presenting an American take on Irish political parties. Most got to present on boring center-right, center-left, or hard-right parties. Matt announced he got ''Sinn Fein'', to the raucous cheers of the crowd.
    Matt: I discovered three things about them. Sinn Fein was founded by heroes. They have done nothing wrong. And I have a family!
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: During their trip to CPAC 2019, the Chapos share a story where a group of alt-right types recognized them and started heckling them. Most of what was said was the sort of insults you'd typically expect from an alt-right crowd, which the hosts brushed off. The one thing that stuck with them was when they were accused of liking brutalist architecture of all things. This left the hosts confused and wondering if this was a stereotype of leftists even they weren't aware of.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The 2018 Christmas Special is this trope applied to the Chapo mythos, complete with Will spending almost the entire episode talking in a goofy Jimmy Stewart impression (which is apparently his normal speaking voice).
  • Just a Stupid Accent:
    • Aside from "Democrat Voice", most of their impressions invoke this for Rule of Funny; their Peter Thiel sounds like a bloodthirsty Prussian nobleman (with Matt commenting after the RNC that he was disappointed to learn the real Thiel barely has an accent), while Felix loves to play Jared Kushner, Seymour Hirsch, Chaim Saban, and basically any other uber-rich Jewish guy as over-the-top anti-Semitic stereotypes.
  • Kill the Poor: Episode 2 is dedicated to an article by conservative columnist Kevin D. Williamson essentially arguing that poor people themselves are responsible for their lot in life and that those living in poor rural towns should be forcibly relocated to cities to find work.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Will owns multiple cats and frequently posts about them on Twitter and Instagram. Amber also owned a cat named Ernest who became a minor Running Gag for being a high caliber Gasshole.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Matt definitely comes across as a real life example. While he is by far the most irritable and pessimistic of the hosts, it comes from a place of genuine passion and wounded idealism, as he repeatedly insists that a better world is possible.
  • Large Ham: Matt is prone to going off on impassioned rants in which he shouts, screams, and uses a ton of Purple Prose.
  • Larynx Dissonance: In episode 42, the hosts are amazed at Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ unusually deep voice, which seems to be a deliberate affectation; they compare it to a child pretending to be their father on the telephone and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Laughably Evil: How they view Donald Trump and most of the alt-right. They're by no means harmless, but they're so stupid and absurd that the hosts can't help but laugh at them.
  • Laughing Mad: In later episodes, when a topic comes up that's so absurdly horrible that no-one can make jokes about it, Felix starts breaking down into pained, hysterical laughter while monologuing about how horrible it is. He first had this reaction upon learning about the historical, senseless mass-murder of penguins by sailors on Macquarie Island in the 1800s, giggling and ranting about "birds that play jokes on each other and have a little society... those sweet, little birds..."
  • Leitmotif: During the Democratic primaries, mentions of Pete Buttegieg would result in Matt singing the hook of "High Hopes" by Panic! At The Disco in an increasingly unintelligible falsetto.
  • Likes Older Women: Discussed; as Will notes, one of Ross Douthat's many quirks is that — unlike his older pundit colleagues who tend to creep on or harass young women, especially in Twitter DMs — all of his barely sublimated, inappropriate fantasies tend to either involve female politicians many years his senior ("What if Hillary had had Le Pen's smoker's voice instead of her own?") or long-dead Hollywood starlets.
  • Logical Fallacies: A concept constantly mocked by the hosts (and referenced in Felix’s Twitter handle @ByYourLogic); they tend to think that pointing out fallacies in people’s reasoning when arguing with them is a mostly pointless tactic and displays a lack of understanding of human emotion and psychology.
  • Lovable Rogue: Hunter Biden is portrayed as a sleazy but endearing fuckup who can't help but get into surreal criminal mishaps wherever he goes.
  • Malicious Misnaming:
    • Alt-right gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos is consistently referred to as "Milo Yabbadabbadoo-opoulos". (As Felix says, "Greece is not a real place.")
    • More generally, Will sometimes consciously refuses to learn how to pronounce a certain figure's name if he doesn't particularly care for them.
    • They also insist on calling Joss Whedon "Josh," and refer to Christian blogger Rod Dreher as "Rob," saying that their chosen names are "made up."
    • Ross Douthat's surnamenote  is vocalized as either (correctly) "DOW-thit" or "DOO-t'at", with total apathy keeping everyone from correcting each other.
    • They refer to the main character of The Newsroom as "Jeff Newsroom" to signal their contempt and apathy for the character.
    • Matt refers to 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg as "Pete Buttchug".
    • Notorious alt-right troll Jack Posobiec is usually referred to as Jack Prilosec.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: They more or less view Donald Trump as being one of these, as they think he's too stupid to actually hold a coherent ideology in his head. He just happened to give energy and momentum to the worst aspects of the American right wing through his presidential campaign, which they believe he started principally as an ego move without the intention of actually winning. Felix sums him up in one episode as "a fat, orange baby rolling downhill in a barrel" and says he might be the least evil person in his administration simply due to his lower mental capacity.
  • Minnesota Nice: Averted, at least in regards to on-air behavior; Matt, a native Wisconsinite, is Hot-Blooded and generally the host easiest to anger.
  • MST: While the format of the show could be seen as a long-form MST of the American political media, a few specific examples stand out:
    • The recurring segment "Chapo Reading Series" has one host (usually Will) reading aloud a particularly odious piece of writing by some kind of political pundit (most often Ross Douthat or Rod Dreher) while everyone relentlessly riffs on it.
    • One segment of the Election Night 2016 live show was advertised specifically as an "MST3K-style" riffing session on TV campaign ads from the past year.
    • Outside of the show itself, Felix and Virgil are both contributors to News Genius, a platform on which they provide snarky annotations to existing online news articles.
    • Episode 73's guest is Mystery Science Theater 3000's own Bill Corbett, with whom they riff on a documentary by Dinesh D'Souza. At the end of the episode, Will mentions how the hosts are longtime Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans and hadn't realized till then how much the format of Chapo Trap House is influenced by the show.
    • Bill came back in Episode 159 to riff on In Search Of Liberty, a movie in which Benjamin Franklin comes back as a Guardian Angel to teach a man and his family about the U.S. Constitution ; they later released the recording of them riffing on the movie as they watched it as a bonus episode.
  • The Multiverse: In the Election Night 2016 live episode, Will reads election night updates from several alternate universes, including a Lovecraftian universe and a universe in which Al Gore won the 2000 election.
  • Mushroom Samba: Matt and Will were high on LSD for the entirety of their stay at the neoliberal convention Ozyfest, which they both admit was a terrible idea in hindsight. Matt also dropped acid for CPAC 2019, resulting in him very nearly being driven mad by sensory overload.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: A concept central to the show; the hosts completely eschew any kind of traditional sense of patriotism or nationalism and tend to view My Country, Right or Wrong types of all political stripes as being under a kind of chauvinistic delusion. Often overlaps with Cultural Cringe.
  • N-Word Privileges:
    • RL Stevens' use of his makes Will immediately nervous that a hater of the podcast is going to misattribute that language as coming from one of the white hosts.
    • Felix is often allowed to do skits, caricatures and (deliberately terrible) accents that would be revoltingly anti-Semitic coming from anyone other than a Jewish man, and put Will on edge often enough as it is.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Political centrists are a recurring target of mockery on the show, mostly for their perceived sense of intellectual superiority at only supporting the status quo.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Completely averted. As part of their disdain for political decorum, they aren't afraid to mock and criticize recently deceased political figures whom they hate such as Andrew Breitbart and John McCain, and state that they'd be insulted if conservatives pretended to be sad for recently deceased leftist politicians.
    Matt: Every time you remember that Andrew Breitbart is dead is a little gift you give to yourself.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Their Call of Cthulhu campaign features thinly veiled parodies of various modern cultural figures, including the Trump family, John McCain, Hideo Kojima, Elon Musk, Grimes, Marina Abramovic, and Jordan Peterson. It also has actual historical figures standing in for modern ones, such as Frederick Drumpf for his grandson Donald Trump and Josef Stalin for Vladimir Putin.
  • Officer O'Hara: Officer O'Sullivan in Ben Shapiro's book True Alleigance, the hapless beat cop who ends up fatally shooting a black kid brandishing a toy gun. Felix dubs him "Officer Potato O'Famine" and jokes about how he accidentally decapitated the kid with his broadsword.
  • One-Steve Limit: In at least one episode where the guest was also named Matt, host Matt Christman asked to be referred to as "Cush" (a reference to his Twitter handle @cushbomb) to avoid confusion.
  • Overly-Long Gag: "Gorka" perpetually rephrasing his request that the boys "pop on down to the White House."
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: A reason for the host's consistent interest in the Proud Boys, a niche pro-Trump militia/fraternity who ban masturbation within their ranks. Will has theorised that the Proud Boys' social awkwardness and inability to get dates has developed into an attempt to make terror of sex into a positive identity. In episode 143, Amber tells a story about a protest she attended where all of the facets of the modern right were willing to talk to her except for the Proud Boys, some of whom she describes as outright running away from her.
  • Phony Veteran: Felix is obsessed with stolen valor videos and frequently portrays himself as a valor thief. His General Ripper character is said to have "stolen valor in over seven countries", and YPG soldier Rashid, who appears as a special guest, is introduced in a skit where Felix hounds him by repeatedly asking him "sir, who is your commander?".
  • Platonic Writing, Romantic Reading: invoked Discussed Trope. In their review of Hunter Biden's autobiography Beautiful Things, the hosts note that the way the relationship between Hunter and his brother Beau is described in the book makes it appear upsettingly homoerotic — with gushing descriptions of the beautiful blue pools of Beau's eyes, the two brothers crawling naked into bed together, Hunter falling for a woman because her blue eyes reminded him of his brother's, a heartbreaking scene of Hunter waiting at Beau's deathbed which is described as if it is the death of a spouse, and lots of eager, passionate kissing between the brothers. (As guest Jacob Bacharach puts it, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sometimes you want to fuck your dead brother.") The boys note this is probably just because Hunter is a bad, derivative writer, but suggest it may also have something to do with the complexes Hunter has probably developed after a lifetime as The Unfavorite.
  • Poe's Law: They think Trump-era liberal comedy tends to fail for this reason. They rely on the style of comedy made popular by The Colbert Report, which worked during the Bush years on stuffy, right-wing talking heads like Bill O'Reilly, but they think modern right-wing personalities like Trump himself and Alex Jones are already too naturally outlandish for mocking them through caricature to really be effective.
  • Pompous Political Pundit:
    • Felix and Virgil's character Carl Diggler, a pompous and smug yet ignorant and foolish pundit who is obsessed with a "balanced discourse" but is actually quite reactionary; he was conceived as a parody of the hacky "horse race" punditry exemplified by journalists like Ron Fournier.
    • More generally, the show practically runs on the hosts’ disdain for the American pundit class, most members of which the hosts tend to view as willfully ignorant, snobbish, cowardly and dishonest no matter where on the political spectrum they claim to be.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: In Episode 68's reading of Ben Shapiro's novel True Allegiance, during a scene in which a young black boy wearing a Simpsons T-shirt is shot to death by a police officer, Will comes across the sentence: "the blood seeped from Homer Simpson's face" — despite the fact that just about anyone in the Anglosphere with a passing knowledge of popular culture should know that it's Bart Simpson who would be on a kid's T-shirt.note 
    • In a similar vein, the way Ben describes the kid's clothing (including Converse high-tops) is firmly stuck in 1991 or '92. Matt concludes that he wrote the chapter after falling asleep watching New Jack City.
  • Porn Stash: Bizarrely subverted. While reading aloud an Jeff Jacoby article that mentions finding "a document" open on his 12-year-old son's computer, Matt and Felix prematurely wince — until Will reveals that it was a list of instructions Caleb made for himself on how to sneak candy in the house without being caught. Both start laughing hysterically.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: During the Call of Cthulhu Campaign, the Chapos discover that Enoch Musk's test rocket is piloted by a small Slavic child. The same rocket that crashed and burned...
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The hosts often lapse into “Democrat voice”, an impression of Hillary Clinton making a belabored, stilted pop-culture based analogy in a clumsy effort to appeal to young voters. The standard format goes something like “I... may not be... [reference], but... I am... [pun on the original reference]!”
    • This is based on a specific instance of Clinton referencing Pokémon Go at a campaign rally.
    • The hosts (and some guests) also occasionally reference the tendency of some Twitter users to insert a “handclap” emoji between every word of a sentence in order to achieve this effect.
  • Puppet King: How they perceive the office of the Presidency in general and Donald Trump in particular.
    Matt: People can't handle the reality that we have such broken institutions that an idiot boy-king that is dumber than every one of the most deformed Hapsburgs can rule without challenge because he serves the interests of a political party that has control of every institution that is supposed to check his power... None of it matters. It's a machine that carries forth of its own momentum with no actual civic will behind it. The spirit has totally deserted it. You people thought these institutions work because they have inherent legitimacy and were good institutions, tried and true. No. They work because they serve people in power. And if the dumbest man in the history of the world can just get into the cockpit and start moving the gears around, and the plane keeps going in the same direction, maybe they're not actually hooked up to anything.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Matt and Amber were consistently absent from Episodes 178-181, resulting in a string of episodes hosted by Will, Felix, and Virgil, who poked fun as to where exactly the two are.
    • Between March and June 2020, Virgil has been absent, seemingly disappearing from both the podcast and social media.
  • Rail Enthusiast: Virgil is obsessed with both trains and elevators.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: A few planned bits in the live 2016 election night episode had to be quickly abandoned or changed due to Donald Trump unexpectedly winning the election.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie:
    • Episode 42 features a fake trailer for Killer App, an action movie in which Osama bin Laden's digitized personality is downloaded into a self-piloting program for an airplane in order to carry out "9/11 2.0".
    • Episode 52, an interview with Jeremy Scahill, also features the hosts teasing Dirty Wars 2: Rise of McRaven.
    • The intro to Episode 108 is a trailer for a Kurt Sutter-produced FXX series called The Fresh Connection in which Jared Fogle note  replaces James Comey as director of the FBI.
  • Reality Warper: The show has a habit of making absurd predictions and assumptions that end up coming true, especially regarding Trump supporters, which they compare to The Lathe of Heaven. Will even starts off a reading series about Trump supporters falling for a scam involving the Iraqi dinar warning the listener about it.
    Will: What have we been telling you? Everything we say on this show is true, and it keeps being confirmed over and over again. When are you people gonna learn that you should be listening to us, and everything we say is truth, and we can make it happen?
    Matt: We can predict you into the cornfields, so don't fuck with us.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Matt and Felix are red and blue respectively. Matt is Hot-Blooded and prone to going on lengthy rants, while Felix is a laid back Deadpan Snarker. Will serves The Straight Man.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Invoked in their review of 300. The boys found themselves rooting for the Persians, seeing them as an egalitarian, technologically advanced society fighting against a nation of proto-fascist, slaveholding pedophiles.
  • Rule-Abiding Rebel: A recurring theme is that most forms of modern right-wing "protest" (outside of out-and-out bigotry and violence) tend to be incredibly tame or unimpressive because they're mostly just trying to paint the old norms they were already raised with as being subversive, such as Steven Crowder publishing an article bragging obnoxiously about the fact that he didn't have sex until his wedding night. Of particular note is the "Intellectual Dark Web", a loose assortment of internet personalities that the media consistently portrays as shocking and subversive even though it consists mostly of armchair philosophers telling ignorant teenagers what they want to hear or calling for society to go back to traditional norms.
  • Running Gag: Oh so many.
    • Facebook is entirely used by male family members complaining about how they're tired of false friends and don't like fake people.
    • Mentions of John Podesta, the DNC, or pizza usually prompt Matt to reference Pizzagate.
    • Virgil is known for being finicky about food and drink (he insists on eating fried chicken from a certain restaurant and refuses to drink tap water), and his constant need to defecate due to irritable bowel syndrome is often referenced.
    • There are frequent references to being "spectrum" (i.e., on the autism spectrum) and corresponding obsessions with trains and elevators.
    • Any reference to Barack Obama will usually prompt the boys to reference conservative rumors that Obama is a crack addict and/or gay prostitute who blew a man in the back of a limo while president.
    • The other hosts telling listeners to e-mail or DM Virgil with questions or complaints.
    • Felix getting beaten by small children in Fortnite.
    • John McCain crashing every plane he gets into.
    • There can only be a live show in the Southern States once they perform everywhere else in the world first.
  • Scary Black Man: Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro's novel True Allegiance, a staple of the Chapo Reading Series, is rife with these, which the hosts interpret as evidence of Shapiro's deep-seated racism. Of particular note is a scene in which a white Irish cop is tricked into shooting a young black boy to death and is instantly surrounded by an Angry Mob of (presumably) black citizens, which leads Will to compare the book to the white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries.
    Will (reading from the book): "When he looked up, he saw them coming; dozens of them. The citizens of Detroit coming out of the darkness, congregating..."
    Felix: Holy shit...
    Will: "He could feel their eyes—"
    Matt (mockingly): "...holding spears, with bones through their noses, shouting 'ooga booga booga!'"
  • Serious Business: Mostly averted with regards to how the hosts view their own show and Twitter hijinks in terms of political action. As Will says towards the end of episode 70, they view the podcast mainly as entertainment and note that neither their show nor "anything that happens online" can or should be used as a substitute for real activism.
    • More specifically, they take pride in influencing people to take action, but that the show itself isn't action, and that if they viewed it that way, they'd be just the same as "performative liberals" who believe that symbolic acts make up for true societal failure.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Not specific to the podcast itself, but "Virgil Texas" is a pseudonym; it's a reference to the movie True Stories, which takes place in the fictional Texan town of Virgil.
    • After Mayor Pete declared victory in the 2020 Iowa Caucuses with 0% of the votes reported, Will says he has a message for the Mayor- and launches into a modified version of Willem Dafoe's famouse curse speech from The Lighthouse.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: A running topic is people whose only political belief is to be against the unfair persecution of pit bulls, which are the sweetest dogs.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
    • Felix will frequently go on tangents regarding his burning hatred for Rockabillies.
    • Every time the hosts visit the Alamo Drafthouse they moan about the atmosphere being uptight, but admit they always go there because the staff bring them alcohol and tolerate them sneaking in weed.
    • They have a one-sided relationship like this with Pod Save America: The Chapo hosts despise them in a funny way and make fun of their political intent and haircuts, while the Jons smear them publicly as a vile harassment organisation and call for their imprisonment.
  • Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility: A Type IV example pops up in episode 68's reading of Ben Shapiro's True Allegiance, in which the main character General Brett Hawthorne discovers that Saddam Hussein really had possessed WMDs prior to the Iraq War and smuggled them into Syria and then Iran, with the apparent lack of weapons having actually been a CIA coverup. It's quite apparent to the hosts and guest that not only is Shapiro trying to invent a narrative in which the Iraq War was justified, but he seems to think it's plausible that Iran would agree to hide Iraq's weapons despite their history as bitter enemies.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very, very far on the cynical end, though they emphasize the dangers of falling victim to nihilism and apathy and maintain that the situation in America is not completely hopeless.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The hosts tend to think of most media personalities as this; they assert that most pundits and intellectuals, regardless of political stripe, tend to overestimate their own expertise and influence and thus alienate the vast majority of ordinary people they claim to represent.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Amber is the only female host, which she lampshades quite often.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: The hosts (especially Felix) feel this way about a lot of "troops", particularly the kind of troop culture that funded and enjoyed the nihilistic, epic-bacon troop murder fantasy Range 15. They all agree the troops who made the movie basically joined to become serial killers, and hate everyone including themselves.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The show mixes serious, in-depth political commentary with vulgar, irreverent humor. Virgil is particularly notable, as his cultural references tend to be significantly more in-depth and highbrow than the others, making jokes about obscure 20th Century history points and modern artworks, but also being obsessed with the Garfield Wikipedia page.
    • After Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion launched their hit single "WAP", favorite Chapo punching bag Ben Shapiro did a sophisticated-as-hell reading of the lyrics to emphasize the decline in morals among women and that the song was the ultimate culmination of feminism; his sister, a conservative opera-style singer, posted video reviews on YouTube that found Tarantino's movies to be underwhelming vulgar trash. The Chapos point out aside from Ben having had two children with his wife and not understanding women's anatomy, his reading of rap and his sister's failure to enjoy Tarantino movies comes from being forced by their parents to be sophisticated as hell conservative musicians right out of the cradle rather than enjoying pop culture as kids.
  • Spin-Off: The show technically started by accident; while Will, Felix, and Matt had all guested before and sometimes interacted on various episodes of Street Fight Radio, they realized after appearing together on the hugely popular 13 Hours episode that the three of them had great natural chemistry when they got going. As such, the guys always cite Street Fight as both a huge formative influence and their origin, and have shown their gratitude by inviting both Brett and Bryan as guests on the Trap.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Their reading series on "The Villages", a massive suburban community of old white Donald Trump voters down in Florida. Intended to evoke The Good Old Days of the country, it consists mostly of identical suburban condominiums and golf courses, and enforces a number of extremely strict rules for its residents, including no children except for visitors, enforced conformity for homes, as well as a complete ban on the airing of NFL games after Trump's public feud with the league.
    Felix: There's no way these people aren't doing child sacrifices to Jimmy Buffett songs.
    Matt: This is the culture they're willing to kill the world for! They're willing to see a million corpses stacked on the Mexican border to protect what is essentially a giant, open-air TGI Friday's that's gonna be underwater in 50 years anyway!
  • The Stoner: Pretty much all of them except Virgil have at the very least smoked marijuana, with both Matt and Will admitting to consuming psychedelics on multiple occasions and Felix expressing a fondness for kratoum. Even Virgil once accidentally ate a marijuana cookie after a fan gifted a batch of them to the hosts at a live show, thinking it was just a normal cookie at the time. (In later episodes, there is a running joke about Virgil's enthusiasm for ketamine.)
  • Stopped Caring: How Will viewed the drumbeat toward war with Iran in June of 2019. Compared to the lengthy public relations campaign that the Bush Administration engaged in leading up to the invasion of Iraq, Will and the others find it laughable how little effort the Hawks in the administration are expending to create a war with Iran.
    Will: "The Iran hawks are not sending their best!"
    Matt: "It makes you think that maybe they know that you don't need to bother anymore."
  • Straight Man: Will often takes on this role relative to the other hosts.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Discussed in the Range 15 episode, where the hosts consider that it's a cliche for people making fun of bad movies to talk about how watching them is 'painful', but this movie was so incompetent and depraved that it made them all feel physically ill. (Amber: "I feel like I've eaten too much ham or something.") Accordingly, the hosts are far more subdued than usual over the course of the episode.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Matt (and, to a lesser extent, Felix) has a habit of raising his voice without warning when he gets upset or frustrated. This reaches its apotheosis in Episode 118, when, as Will is reading an inane Megan Mc Ardle piece on the Grenfell Tower fire, Matt yells so loudly that his neighbors come over to complain about the noise.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of the show's running jokes is describing cruel or sadistic opinions and takes as "normal" (such as a "completely normal article"), or announcing "Normal guy here!" when discussing the writers who present them as if nobody could ever disagree with such logic; this goes double for when the writer accidentally plays their hand and reveals far too much about their own hang-ups or sexual pathology, such as Rod Dreher's intense transphobia.
  • Take That!: Far too many to count; the show’s format is essentially an hour-long Take That! toward whomever is dominating the news cycle. A few examples:
    • Will sometimes breaks out an impression of conservative radio host and former Breitbart reporter Ben Shapiro; he talks in a high-pitched voice while holding his nose and turns his condescension level up to eleven.
    • Felix's character Carl Diggler (a collaboration between him and writer Virgil Texas who started out as a fake columnist for and hosts his own podcast, the DigCast) is a giant Take That! to smug centrist pundits who ingratiate themselves to anybody in a position of power and vastly overestimate their own expertise and intelligence.
    • Episode 44 ends with the hosts listening to a long string of answering machine messages from the various people they’ve taken potshots at (all voiced by the hosts), including William F. Buckley, Ben Shapiro, the Baseball Crank, paranoid Marxist-Leninists, alt-right Internet trolls, and Peter Daou (a Hillaryman whose normal speaking voice is the “Democrat voice”).
    • They’ve made fun of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones simply by playing clips from his radio show during cold opens.
    • Several segments on the show have been dedicated to mocking conservative columnists Ross Douthat and Rod Dreher, to the point where they're almost like recurring characters.
    • Episode 63 has Felix saying that Malcolm Gladwell writes books with titles like Dipshit: Why Stupid People Are Smart and Squish: Why Some Blueberries Are Wet Instead of Dry.
    • Episode 265 contains a brutal take down of Trump supporters who fell for the Iraqi Dinar revaluation scam and their insistence that only President Trump can revalue the worthless currency and make them all millionaires.
  • Take That, Audience!: The 2018 Christmas Special portrays their fans as literal hogs constantly squealing for more content, while the fans of Capone's Speakeasy in the Call of Cthulhu episodes are largely shown to be either actual historical fascists or stereotypical "soy boys" who obsess over the tiniest details about the show. Funnily enough, Part V of the Call of Cthulhu series features a group of fans who are dedicated to editing the "public book" about the show, almost certainly a reference to this very trope page.
  • Team Mom: Will, whom the other hosts describe as the only one organized enough to keep the podcast running. Felix refers to himself and the other hosts as Will's "spoiled little chocolate babies".
  • Testosterone Poisoning:
    • The hosts (especially Felix) make constant joking references to hypermasculine attitudes and media personalities, the favorites being bodybuilding vlogger Rich Piana and the self-help book The Gorilla Mindset by alt-right men's rights activist Mike Cernovich.
    • It's also a Running Gag (in earlier episodes anyway) that the podcast's audience swings heavily male, with Matt announcing to the live audience in episode 44 that he wishes to thank "all the girlfriends that allowed themselves to be dragged here tonight".
    • One of Felix's most frequent comic personas is a mocking amalgamation of that certain kind of macho Facebook acquaintance who's obsessed with MMA, doing steroid stacks, supporting troops, and staying positive.
    • An extremely literal interpretation of the trope appears in Episode 288 when Brace Belden describes how, when in Syria, he was repeatedly injected in the buttocks by a "horse doctor" who said they were steroids. Felix suggests that "going on the recumbent bike for 45 minutes while listening to Serial" actually lowers your testosterone, and so if you can get steroids off your doctor they'll say you "should only take half the amount of Anavar that your favourite YouTube bodybuilders take. When in fact, you should take double."
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Virgil and Amber rarely appear on episodes together, and tend to have little much interaction when they do.
  • The Pig-Pen: The hosts' poor hygiene is a common theme. One massive skit from Felix is undercut by Amber asking if that's barbecue sauce on his sock. Special guest David Cross begins his episode by noticing that their apartment smells, and is 'not pleasant', describing the odor as a combination of 'cat' and 'nerd'. Shuja Haider, who ends up living with Virgil due to his own house burning down, discusses how Virgil's place is full of toys, bottles of 'biological fluids' which turned out to be cartridges for his vape pen, and half-drunk bottles of electrolyte-infused water due to Virgil always wanting to have water with him, but not liking water once it gets near room temperature. The Clip Show explains Felix has dumped a bag in the room and immediately scattered all of his things all over the floor, which are mostly gym clothing and kratoum.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The hosts recorded a live episode the night of the 2016 presidential election, with Virgil giving updates on state-level results as the night went on. Once it became clear that Donald Trump was winning, a sense of dread began to seep in.
    Will: (Sheepishly, after learning that Trump swept the electoral college) ...Okay. Your closing thoughts, gentlemen?
    Matt: Fuck it. (Chugs his PBR)
  • Toilet Humor: The Chapos drop into this realm from time-to-time when discussing... certain individuals.
    Will: I'm okay with [a failed impeachment] so long as one of the articles is "The President wears a diaper." Just so we can see the campaign ads. "I'm Donald Trump. I approved this message. I don't wear diapers!"
  • Totally Radical: They frequently mocked Hillary Clinton for this during the election, as her campaign seemed to rely more on making awkward pop culture references to appeal to millennials than any substantive statements of policy. They also make fun of Elon Musk for similar reasons.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Virgil's obsession with drinking only specific kinds of water eventually leads to the hosts doing a single-blind test on him to see if he could tell the difference between Fiji Water and New York City tap water, which Virgil refuses to drink. Virgil said the tap water was "definitely the Fiji water" but he couldn't identify the other samples.
  • Tranquil Fury: In contrast to the other two main hosts, Will mostly maintains a fairly even tone of voice when he gets seriously angry.
  • Uncanny Village: New Hampshire is described as somewhere between this and Lovecraft Country. On the one hand, it's the creepiest part of the country where they worship the Great Old Ones (according to Matt and NH native Kath Barbadoro); on the other, it's full of easily amused simpletons where nothing gets done and basic essentials like hot water are unavailable (according to Felix and Virgil). John Kasich's rally at the 2016 primary embodies both, with Kasich going on a rambling Lynchian anecdote about "The Voice" note  telling him to run for office, while the audience listen with awe and hysterical laughter.
  • Unfortunate Names: Upon learning about the Donna Brazile associates "Stephanie Rollingsblake" and "Representative Marsha Fudge", Felix asks what is wrong with "Democrat names" and makes a joke about someone called "Felicia Gargoyleplatz", and Will (audibly trying not to corpse) responds by telling him that another of Donna's associates is called "Minyon Moore". The Trap falls into hysterics about this, before ruminating on the idea of a DNC official with overalls and a tendency to appear on Facebook images.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Virgil's reaction to being proven right about Doug Jones's victory in Alabama was to loudly rub it in the rest of the group's faces, particularly Matt's. ("Never question a gamer. Never question a D.Va main.")
    • The Chapos were occasionally a target of members of the American pundit class after the Iowa and New Hampshire Primaries in 2020. After Bernie won those races, they were unabashed in their mockery of and gloating over the other Democratic candidates and their followers.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Felix notes that the word "cuck" only makes sense as an insult to the Alt-Right, because deep down inside they know they could never satisfy a woman themselves. Similarly, he asserts that they are only complaining about supposed white demographic decline because nobody would willingly bear their children.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Felix has a pretty nerdy sounding voice, completely at odds with the fact that he's a 6-foot-plus MMA practitioner.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: A Running Gag is that upper-class white people tend to have absurd, seemingly made-up names like "Amon Orangegrove" or "Hunter Tuggle", which Felix compares to fake names that James Bond checks into hotels under, with an item of food thrown in. One name, "Stephanie Rollingsblake", actually belongs to a black Democratic politician.
  • Watch It Stoned: Matt and Will attend "neoliberal Coachella" OZY Fest on acid, which ultimately just makes it even more boring. Matt later attends CPAC on acid (Will chickens out), which turns into an existential nightmare.
    Matt: I was peaking when we were accosted by the moon men, I was in the dark night of the soul, all the faces looked monstrous, I thought they were gonna start biting me... I had what Hunter S. Thompson called "the fear", I felt like I was in a Ralph Steadman painting... The die is cast. The system is inviolate, it cannot be defeated. It will go until it runs out of resources and then it will collapse and we will be the people who will suffer for it and in the meantime we’re just going to entertain ourselves with this theatre known as politics and we’re all gonna have a fun time and the reason I felt so gross is that I just felt, in a broad sense I was a part of the same sterile media ecosystem of these arsholes all yukking it up.
    Felix: This happens every time Matt does drugs.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 58, We Live In The Zone Now. This was their first post-2016 election episode, and it deals with them processing their shock over Donald Trump winning the election, analyzing what the results of the election mean/why it turned out the way it did, and them contemplating where the show will be going forwardnote .
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Invoked in their review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where they come up with various tongue-in-cheek interpretations of the film, including that it's a psychosexual metaphor for the eternal war between incels and volcels, as well as an allegory for Turkey under President Erdogan.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Matt and Amber, both avowed Marxists, semi-frequently express nostalgic longing for the USSR. For example, in episode 63, Matt describes the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia's transition to capitalism as "the largest standard of living and life expectancy drop in modern history".
  • Windmill Crusader: How they view various right wing conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and QAnon. In their view, they're rooted in genuine working class anger and frustration with the political establishment in America, but are aimed at completely nonsensical targets.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Before he dedicated himself to Chapo full-time, Will was an assistant editor at the publishing house Liveright Books, and his father Daniel Menaker was an editor at Random House and The New Yorker; as such, he has a critical eye for the written word, which lends him some credibility in critiquing particularly odious writing during Chapo Reading Series segments (in particular, he's referred to the prose of libertarian writer Megan McArdle as "drivel" several times).
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": Played for laughs in the Berlin Live Show where the hosts go out of their way to refer to the Holocaust as "The H-Word." Possibly also for legal reasons...
  • You Keep Using That Word: In episode 212, one columnist's repeated assertion that Israel "has a right to protect its borders" in response to the IDF's massacre of protestors in Gaza was enough to drive Matt to Suddenly Shouting.