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Podcast / Cloud Five

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"Can you identify the bollocks?"

Cloud Five is an ongoing weekly podcast where five sarcastic British idiots give their two cents on current events and interesting trivia, along with tangents and anecdotes galore. Chaos ensues.

Hosted by self-described "irreverent imbeciles" Jack Mackay, Brandon Hattam, George Farrington, Joe Monk and Luke Potter, the podcast is divided into five main segments:

  • "Headliners", a game where Jack reads out three wacky headlines with key words missing, and the others have to fill in the gaps. This often leads to further discussion about the stories and related personal anecdotes.
  • "This Week in Weird" makes up the main body of the show, acting as a kind of general discussion segment, often based around strange news stories from that week.
  • "Florida Man" is positioned midway through This Week in Weird, where Brandon reveals his favourite stories from that week detailing the (usually criminal) activities of Floridians.
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  • "Science Corner", presented by Luke, where he guides the others and the audience through his choice of scientific discovery/biological fact.
  • "Factoids" closes the show, where Jack reads out three 'facts' - two are true, while one is a lie. The others must "identify the bollocks" before they learn the context behind the facts.

The show is available on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify and YouTube. It also has an Instagram and Twitter account.


This show contains examples of:

  • The Ace: While he's just as silly as the rest, Brandon seems to have surprising luck when it comes to correctly guessing Headliners and Factoids.

  • Angrish: Jack has a tendency to splutter incoherently when confronted with a particularly preposterous answer. Joe is usually the best at inducing this.

  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Nonsensical non-sequiturs are a cornerstone of the show. This is particularly prevalent in Headliners, but also pops up when one of the hosts asks a hypothetical question and receives some... interesting answers.

  • Berserk Button: Jack's button is fairly fragile. When one of the other hosts (usually Joe or Brandon) raises a particularly irrational point or unorthodox line of reasoning, expect a sarcastic and spluttering tirade from Jack in response.

  • CallBack: Many, often linking jokes to topics mentioned earlier in the episode. Sometimes, call-backs to previous episodes crop up in later ones. The Dutch border control confiscating ham sandwiches is a frequent example.

  • Captain Obvious: It seems a goal to avert this as much as possible in the hosts' answers to Headliners, especially by Brandon.

  • Catchphrase: "Identify the bollocks", the tagline for the Factoids segment, has become this for the whole show.
    • This is often shortened to simply "Bollocks!", which is often shouted by George on impulse.
    • "That's getting cut out" is a regular, often unheeded catchphrase whenever someone makes a particularly crude or edgy joke.
    • Jack will often shout "What are you talking about?" repeatedly in response to a more eccentric non-sequitur.
      • Jack also tends to expand on funny scenarios by beginning "I love the idea that..."
    • Joe is a veritable catchphrase machine, and uses his catchphrases even when their applicability is doubtful.
      • "I'm built different"
      • "They like it/He likes it" or some other variation thereof.
      • "You got baited" when someone is shocked, tricked or otherwise duped.
      • His more recent catchphrase "Pics or it didn't happen" has been adopted by the whole cast.

  • Cloudcuckoolander: Each member has their moments, but Brandon and Joe fit the bill most aptly.
    • Brandon has a habit of coming up with long-winded, overly detailed scenarios in response to questions. For example, when asked "How would you get revenge on a spiteful ex-lover?", his answer is a lengthy spiel involving countless contrivances and shifting seasons and locations.
    • Many of Joe's theories are ruthlessly mocked by the others for their outlandishness, such as earthquakes forming cracks through which one can jump to the Earth's core, and "setting fire to the ground" to eradicate invading tardigrades.

  • Collective Groan: Usually the reaction to Joe's puns.

  • Comically Missing the Point: Frequently, to hilarious results.

  • Conspiracy Theorist: Joe, from an outer-space tardigrade invasion to government-controlled birds.

  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: There have been one or two occasions when a member has been surprisingly correct with their sillier guesses. This is most applicable to Brandon, who has a knack for being so outlandish that he's right.
    • For example, Brandon successfully guessed that US border control seized $2.82 million worth of cornflakes.

  • A Day in the Limelight: The boys were delighted when George got to present a section of Florida Man, which is usually Brandon's territory.

  • Deadpan Snarker: All five hosts to an extent (as is the premise of the show) but particularly Jack.

  • The Ditz: Downplayed with Brandon. While he is perfectly capable of insight, his proclivity for tangential silliness is second to none except Joe.

  • Double Entendre: Jack and especially Brandon are the main perpetrators of this trope. Taken Up to Eleven during Science Corner, where Luke's scientific spiels are constantly derailed by the others' lowbrow humour.

  • Dude, Not Funny!: While the group playfully discusses a hypothetical tiny tardigrade civilisation on the moon, Brandon throws in this curveball that prompts reactions of horror from the others:
Brandon: Does that mean there'd be like tardigrade concentration camps and stuff?
Everyone: [horrified groaning]

  • Epic Fail: Crossing over with Writers Cannot Do Math. Jack's confident assertion that 30 metres = 330 metres remains a source of embarrassment. As he miserably declares just moments later: "I am the bollock."
Luke: The species could fly more than 30 metres.
Jack: Woah! That's covering like 330 metres!
[long silence]

  • Everyone Has Standards: Very little is off the table when it comes to the Cloud Fivers' humour, with a notably dark conversation about the most effective way to cook a baby. However, some facts are met with appropriately disgusted responses, such as Emperor Nero's murder of his pregnant wife and replacing her with a castrated slave boy.

  • Fearless Fool: Brandon and Joe are perfectly fine with sounding like idiots for the sake of a joke. Averted with Jack, on the other hand, who was mortified about being considered a "fraud" after his disastrous mathematical fail (see Epic Fail above).

  • Foil: Luke to the rest of the hosts. His quiet, clear-headed demeanour starkly contrasts with the others' foolery.

  • Fun with Homophones: When discussing what led chess to be banned in Soviet Antarctica, Brandon suggests that one man killed his comrade after his pawn was taken. Jack mishears it as... another word. Hilarity Ensues.

  • Genius Ditz: Both Brandon and Joe. Both demonstrate a keen knowledge for geology and Ancient Rome, respectively.

  • Genre Savvy: The boys seem to be becoming this as the weeks go on, especially with Factoids, where they have become more adept at recognising Jack's double bluffs and identifying the bollocks.

  • Government Conspiracy: One of Joe's favourite accusations.

  • Insane Troll Logic: A specialty for this show, especially from Brandon and/or Joe. Jack is usually quick to point this out.

  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Joe, who insists that "real ones" know what the hell he's talking about, despite most of it being the above trope.

  • Lame Pun Reaction: The rest of the cast frequently to Joe's wildly inconsistent puns.

  • Literal-Minded: Frequently Played for Laughs.
    • After learning of the unorthodox horseriding sports of Kyrgyzstan:
Brandon: What are these guys on?
Joe: Horses.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A staple amongst the cast members, although to varying degrees, with Luke being to the lowest while Joe is the highest. Always Played for Laughs, usually as a Non Sequitur answer to a Headliner or hypothetical.

  • Off the Rails: Constantly, although most pronounced with Science Corner, when the boys delight in derailing Luke's erudite presentations with vulgar or surreal humour, locker-room DoubleEntendres and meandering discussions about vaguely related topics.

  • Only Sane Man: Luke.
    • Jack can become this when trying to get the conversations back on track, but is more likely to lapse into laughter and japes with the rest.

  • Overly Long Gag: Thankfully averted with Brandon's 'horny ferrets' gag of Episode 6.

  • Precision F-Strike: Jack's accent has a habit of making his into these.

  • Preemptive "Shut Up": George's aforementioned loathing of "Buttery Biscuit Base" results in this:
[discussing the Mars rover landing]
Luke: The rover touched down on the base, so kind of near the middle -
George: Don't say it, Jack.
Jack: Was it... perhaps...
[Everyone begins shouting]

  • Pungeon Master: Joe, whose puns vary from witty to nonsensical.
    • The whole group (except Luke) in S1 E7, when they partake in an escalating pun war involving variations of El Chapo's name that leaves them in peals of laughter.

  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Jack is prone to these.

  • Rapid-Fire "No!": A usual response from Jack when someone comically misunderstands or misinterprets something.

  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: A common occurrence, usually during Factoids. One such example is when the cast almost unanimously agrees that lemmings jumping off cliffs en masse is a lie based on Jack's inability to remember the idiom associated with the animal, leading them to believe he had invented it.

  • Running Gag: Numerous.
    • Brandon is frequently teased for his passion for geology due to it being either A) boring or B) totally inapplicable to any situation. As such, Brandon is delighted when Luke hands over the reins during the Mars rover Science Corner.
    • The repellent 'egg drink' that George drank in India.
    • As per the page quote and show's Catchphrase, a common joke when someone unwittingly says something untrue or misleading is to proclaim "You are the bollock!"
    • Everything involving Joe and his deadpan, messianic self-confidence.
    • The Dutch confiscating lorry drivers' ham sandwiches is often cited sarcastically as an event of tear-jerking proportions.
    • Averted with Brandon's 'army of ferrets' joke, which persisted for approximately half of the eponymous episode before being forgotten. Jack lampshaded it at the end, to Brandon's dismay.

  • Serial Escalation: Jack points out that this is often averted with many of the jokes made by Joe and Brandon, describing it as 'taking the lift' to the top of 'the stairs of comedy'

  • Smart People Know Latin: Subverted with Joe, who is a Latin student but most commonly plays the role of Cloudcuckoolander on the show.

  • Sophisticated as Hell: A la QI, the show can slide quickly from incisive and interesting factual discussion to loud, crass humour. Most pronounced with Jack and Brandon, who ironically have the poshest voices while making the dirtiest jokes.

  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Jack definitely has the foulest mouth on the show.

  • Squick: The show does not shy away from more nausea-inducing topics, and many of the stories and facts discussed get this reaction in-universe.
    • Much of S1 E2 is this, with discussions ranging from vaginal steaming to the Victorians eating tapeworms to climbing inside a whale carcass.
    • The news story about a UK woman and her family drinking urine to ward off COVID-19 provokes this, as does the ensuing discussion about urophagia as alternative medicine.
      • In the same episode, George's story about the Florida woman crushing her boyfriend's genitals unsurprisingly gets this reaction from every member of the (entirely male) cast.
      • In the same episode but to a lesser extent, Jack's story about leaving a banana in a lunchbox by a radiator for six weeks.

  • That Came Out Wrong: A number of times, usually pointed out by Jack.
[When discussing diversifying the Florida Man segment]
Brandon: One day, I'm gonna find a Florida Baby.
Jack: I feel like you may want to rephrase that statement.

  • Toilet Humour: Not always, but it can happen, and is usually shouted down amidst noises of horror and hilarity. It can be rather unavoidable due to the nature of some topics discussed, such as the aforementioned urophagia as a COVID prevention tactic.

  • Token Evil Teammate: While Joe's chaotic behaviour may indicate he is this, Brandon actually fits the role much better, as demonstrated by his more morbid jokes about grilling babies.

  • Understatement: A lampshaded example:
[After describing a Florida man who was shot for knocking on someone's door while naked]
Brandon: Clearly, he was shook by this naked man so he retaliated probably a bit harshly...
George: "A bit harshly."
Jack: A mild overreaction.

  • Up to Eleven: Done frequently and without hesitation on several occasions. It has become a running gag that the cast tends to leap for the most outlandish or vulgar answers without any sort of build-up.