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Podcast / MentalCast

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MentalCast is a long-running pop culture news and comedy podcast that began on September 12, 2007. The show is typically hosted by Michael Riley and has featured a long, long list of cast members (at last count, around 60). The show officially ended with the 10-year anniversary show on September 12, 2017, marking ten years to the exact date that the show was around.

Good evening and welcome to the MentalCast's tropes...

  • Absentee Actor: Happened a lot in the old days with former regular Chris McClain. He was only a regular part of the show for a while, then missed a few, and eventually was Put on a Bus in July of 2009. He began Commuting on a Bus in 2011, but only for a bit. Chris eventually retired permanently.
    • When Taylor Scheid and Dane Forgione were regulars, they would miss more than a few. Dane, in fact, was Put on a Bus himself for a few months in 2008. Wyatt Estabrooks would become his Fake Shemp for a while. However, Dane returned late in 2009, and remained on the show until he was permanently put on a bus in 2015.
    • Chelsea Tarkington qualifies as this. She and regular Billy Carter have missed a few episodes during their tenure as regular cast members.
  • Accentuate the Negative: This is pretty much the entire premise of the show - a convenient platform for four to six people a week to complain and whine about pop culture, sometimes to the absolute extreme.
  • Acquired Error at the Printer: 411mania is accused of this a lot, especially when someone other than Mike is hosting, and they receive a news story with a typo in it.
    Mike: Fucking 411.
    • Hilarious in Hindsight because former cast member Wyatt Estabrooks became a writer for 411mania following his departure from the show.
  • Acrofatic: Michael Riley and Billy Carter have both wrestled on the independent circuit, albeit briefly, so they count as this.
  • Adam Westing: Dane Forgione, most notably, as he was often relegated to being the impressionist.
    • To some degree with Jeremy Garcia, who is commonly labeled a film snob due to his choices of film.
  • The Adjectival Man: A lot of Mental News Stories involving people from Florida, and therefore, will inevitably contain the phrase "Florida man." The cast took this and rolled with it as a superhero on occasion.
  • The Alcoholic: Chelsea Tarkington has done episodes of the show while under the influence of alcohol on a couple of occasions. She will usually lampshade this with a comment or a joke.
    Chelsea: (during a Mental News Story, referring to Adam Snyder) Revealed to be Adam 'whats-his-face.'
  • Almost Famous Name: Yes, Michael Riley does share a name with a Canadian actor. And a British soccer referee. And an Australian artist.
    • And, yes, Billy Carter has heard that Billy Beer joke before.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Averted with Chelsea Tarkington. The cast commonly refers to her father as "Robert Goulet," due to his similar appearance to the lounge singer.
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  • Amusing Injuries: Anyone who is hurt (but not seriously injured or killed) in the Mental News Stories.
  • Angrish: Jeremy Garcia at the sheer mention of Juno will quite quickly devolve into this.
  • Anything but That!: The cast's general reaction when forced to play Press Your Luck at the end of the show.
    • Inverted when the cast is forced to play The Joker's Wild, as that particular game is well-liked by all the cast members.
  • Anti-Role Model: Take your pick of any of the people mentioned in the Mental News Stories.
  • Artifact Alias: Iason Skullsaber has said his real name on the show (Jason Braun), but the cast still pretty much insists on referring to him as Iason, since that's what they are familiar with.
  • Ascended Extra: Among the many, many chatroom regulars to be called up to the show...
    • Iason Skullsaber and Chelsea Tarkington, who both started appearing on the show around the same time. Chelsea is currently a regular cast member and, as of October 2015, the fourth-longest tenured cast member of all time.
    • Mark Gledhill, who went in chat by "dreamofthekai." He started appearing during the Best of 2014 compilation show, and has been a big part of the show ever since.
    • Arguably taking the longest time to call up, Adam Bednarczyk. He was a chatroom regular of the show for nearly three years before he finally got put on the show.
    • Ricardo Arredondo, who was a chat regular for about a year, finally got called up in the summer of 2015.
    • Believe it or not, even Billy Carter, who is currently the fifth-longest tenured cast member of all time, began as a chatroom regular.
    • Joseph Gottschlich was this as well. He was brought up during an episode that Mike called "Bring a Chatroom Member on the Show Day."
    • Jeremy Garcia qualifies. He first appeared during the 250th episode.
    • Subverted with Jace D. Ace, due to his hot streak on Jokerdy!. The rest of the cast commonly tells Mike to make him a regular, since no one seems to be able to beat him as champion.
  • Ass Shove: So many news stories about people putting things in their butts.
    • Averted with several (I repeat, several) news stories about females inserting guns into their vaginas.
    Mike: If you're gonna do that, at least put it in with the barrel sticking out.
  • Audience Participation: At the beginning of each episode, the audience is invited to "email [Mike] at" or "contact [the show] on Facebook at MentalCast or Geek Juice." Averted, though, as there's never been any email read on the show.
    • When the show was live, if someone in the chatroom said something funny or noteworthy, Mike would usually read it and give credit.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Iason Skullsaber.
  • Bad Impressionists: Michael Riley, natch. He will often try to do an impression of someone, and then follow it up by saying that it drifted into a different impression altogether.
  • Bad News in a Good Way: The Top However Many There Are News Stories of the Week.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Michael Riley seems to almost take glee in "torturing" his castmates with whatever insanity happens in the news stories. However, he has subverted this from time to time, especially when there's a story just so terrible that even he has to take a step back.
  • Berserk Button: There have been quite a lot of these throughout the show's history, enough for it to have it's own in-universe name, the "Neutral Milk Hotel moment."
    • The defining moment happened during an episode of the MentalCast where Mike, Taylor and Dane were looking at a TenDeep of the Top Ten albums of the 90's. The number one album was the little known (to the cast anyway) Neutral Milk Hotel album "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea". This caused an angry Dane to lash out and start off on a rant, bemoaning the fact that the writer of the list had over 10 years worth of music to choose from, and he choose an album that only the most hardcore of indie rock fans would know. By the end of his rant, Mike and Taylor were left in fits of hysterical laughter, unable to proceed for several minutes while they composed themselves.
    • The mention of the movie "Man on Fire" does this to Alex Jowski, especially when it's high up on a TENDeep list.
    • Dustin Kidd once lost it over Skrillex, calling the music "shitty" and throwing his headphones across the room upon Alex playing a sample of the music.
      • Turned into Malicious Misnaming, as the cast referred to him as "Skillrex" from that point forward.
    • Mike had one, not over a particular movie or musician, but over the fact that, according to the television show Manswers, it is possible to attract lesbians with pregnant women's urine. Mike found the use of urine as an aphrodesiac incredibly digusting.
    • In a rare example, the entire cast had one over the YOLO catchphrase being accepted into the dictionary. Chelsea Tarkington, in particular, yelled about it at the top of their lungs.
    • Jeremy Garcia, who also had one over Juno previously, was interrupted so much that he launched into a completely improvised song, which the cast now refers to as the "Jizz Jizz Cum Cum:" song.
    • Ashley Miller also had one when she heard the Mental News Story about the woman who put Pop Rocks in her vagina.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Any Mental News Story involving bestiality.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Mike knows enough Spanish to be able to properly pronounce Spanish words, phrases and names. He tends to ask Ricardo Arredondo about certain phrases as well, in an effort to better himself in the language.
    • Hell, Mike is actually not that bad at pronouncing most foreign languages. He once correctly pronounced Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons in Germany; the pronounciation was verified by a German fan of the show).
    • Chelsea Tarkington has hinted that she either knows, or used to know, quite a bit of French.
  • Black Comedy: Good God, yes, especially from Billy Carter. He tends to crack jokes about Paul Walker and Kurt Cobain quite a bit (which will usually travel into Dude, Not Funny! territory).
    • Once when Michael Riley was doing a Joan Rivers impression, he said (in character) "I can't feel my face." The impression slipped into that of Steve Irwin, causing Taylor Scheid to remark "He can't feel his face either." Cue corpsing from Mike and Dane.
    • During a news story about Robin Gibb in a coma, Alex Jowski cracked jokes at length about it. This lead to much corpsing when Dane Forgione concocted a story about how Gibb pushed an ice cream cone into Alex's face in the park.
    Dane: (as Robin Gibb) You're gonna fuckin' remember me forever!
  • Body Horror: There was a particularly harrowing Mental News Story invovling a botched surgery that left a woman with her colon attached to her vaginal opening. Everyone on the show immediately went into full-on squick mode.
  • Broadcast Live: From 2011 to 2014, the show was live every single week. Now, the show only goes live for special occasions.
    • The show returned to being broadcasted live starting with the show's nine-year anniversary in 2016.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mike is this, due to the shear number of times he's misspoken a word or phrase and the cast has latched on to it.
    • Adam Snyder is this to the extreme. Billy Carter will even go so far as to do a greatly exaggerated imitation of Adam's voice.
    • Adam Bednarczyk has been this sometimes, usually if the topic is Australia or something Australian.
  • Call-Back: Tons of these:
    • The "Neutral Milk Hotel" moments usually are fondly remembered.
    • The cast quotes Jeremy Garcia's "Jizz Jizz Cum Cum" song all the time.
    • The "#MacCorkle" campaign was called back to in multiple episodes.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: A November 2012 episode opens with Alex Jowski exclaming "I gotta pee," directly before the theme song. This, of course, caused Michael Riley to corpse through the entire theme song. Afterwards, Alex claimed to be peeing in an empty Mountain Dew bottle because he couldn't leave.
    • Michael Riley later rewrote a Billy Ocean song to become a song about Alex's bladder problems. That song ended up being "Gotta Go Pee".
    • As read by Alex Jowski, the someone's answer to "How much does a farrier make in Canada" on Yahoo! Answers: "I gotta poop and I'm proud!"
  • The Cameo:
    • Brad Jones has appeared on numerous occasions, sometimes alongside Radiodrome host Josh Hadley.
    • Lewis Lovhaug has also appeared on numerous occasions.
    • Doug Walker appeared in the summer of 2010.
    • Allison Pregler appeared in the spring in 2012.
    • Hart Fisher made two appearances on the show, one in the summer of 2012, and again in the fall of 2013.
    • Michael Ray Bower from Salute Your Shorts appeared in the summer of 2014.
    • Nerdcore musician MC Frontalot also appeared in early 2014.
    • Averted with Jillian Zurawski and Alex Jowski, both of whom began as guests and ended up regular cast members for a while.
  • Canada, Eh?: Played straight with Mark Gledhill, who loves hockey. Averted, however, with most of the other Canadian cast members (of which there are a few).
  • Canon Illustrations: During a January 2012 episode, cast member Kevin Magpoc came up with an idea to make Snooki (from Jersey Shore) wearing a raccoon suit and call her "Tanooki Snooki." Almost immediately, a member of the chat room came up with an image that ended up being the title card.
  • Casual Kink: Both Chelsea Tarkington and Ashley Miller have heavily hinted that they are into this.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Mike (or whomever is hosting) will usually open the show with "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the MentalCast!" Mike has been known to play this for laughs and extend the "good" for ten to fifteen seconds.
    • For the Mental News Story segment: "You give us 22 minutes, we'll [insert phrase here]." This was started by Dane Forgione, but Billy Carter carries this tradition on to this day.
    • Adam Snyder, during any news story about a guy with his penis exposed near kids, will say "Keep your dick away from the children!"
    • After someone explains something to the rest of the group, it's usually followed up with Rick Terrasi saying "The more you know," or Chelsea Tarkington exclaiming "Mamasheba!"
    • When Andy Samberg is mentioned, Chelsea will sometimes say "Andy Samberg?" in her impression of Obscurus Lupa.
  • Christmas Episode: Subverted, since usually, instead of an actual Christmas episode, the year-end compilation "The Best of [whatever the year is]" will air (once even ON Christmas Day).
  • Clip Show:
    • The second-to-last (or sometimes last) episode of each year since 2012 have featured a clip show counting down the top twenty moments of the past year.
    • The first clip show was dedicated to "The Best of Room 101," a segment based on the BBC series of the same name.
    • Two clip shows have been dedicated to the best of the Mental News Stories.
    • Another clip show in the summer of 2013, replacing a Lost Episode, featured the best of The Joker's Wild, a game played frequently on the show.
  • Collective Groan: Anytime Michael Riley makes a terrible pun (which is often).
  • Corpsing: Any time Alex Jowski reads the names of Bollywood movies and the actors of said movies elicits this from the rest of the cast.
    • Taylor's joke about Steve Irwin not feeling his face from the Black Comedy entry above caused the cast to do this.
    • The entire #MacCorkle bit had everyone in stitches, just due to the sound of the word. Made even worse when Chelsea Tarkington mentioned it would be her new safe word.
    • Any of the "Neutral Milk Hotel" moments from the Berserk Button entry caused this.
    • An early example: Mike was reading a story about sending sperm for concert tickets, when Chris McClain exclaimed "Slipknot, here I come!" The entendre was unintentional, but it caused Mike, Brad Jones (no, not the Cinema Snob) and Taylor to crack up.
    • In December of 2014, Mike went on an unprecidented run of funny Benedict Cumberbatch names that caused the cast to crack up with laughter. Among the funny names were Burgerking Tennismatch, Benedryl Claritin and, Chelsea's favorite, Bulbasaur Candygram. Even Cat Lencione got in on the fun with Benabuddy Cuddlebuns.
    • In the summer of 2010, Mike was reading a news story about Nintendo bringing streaming content to the Wii. He made a mistake and said "steaming content," and Dane Forgione began doing an impression of Mario having sex, followed by Wario saying "I'm a-Wario, I'm-a gonna jump in!" This broke the entire cast.
  • Crippling Castration: Charley McMullen's answer to a Yahoo! Answer question that asked how to get rid of extra labia: "Scissors."
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: During the May 2012 episode, featuring guest star Hart Fisher, Dustin Kidd flushed a napkin down the toilet, which his mic picked up. Cue Hart Fisher accusing Dustin of masturbating live on the air.
    • What actually happened was that Dustin was drinking and spilled a little, wiping it up with a napkin.
  • Dead Air: Averted on pre-recorded episodes, when the show is edited and tightened to avoid this, but during live shows, this would happen from time to time, especially when Mike got called away from the mic to do something and often left his co-hosts with not much to say.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rick Terrasi doesn't say much sometimes, but what he does say is often gold and falls into this category.
    • When he's the host, Michael Riley will usually concentrate on the news being read, but when he's not hosting, he will become this.
  • A Degree in Useless: Subverted with Mark Gledhill, at least when he finally graduates anyway. In fact, he's currently taking time away from the show in order to finish his last year of college and get a decidedly non-useless degree.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the Best of 2012 show, Dustin threatened to "take a pair of boots, set them on fire, launch across the border and dropkick" Alex Jowski for playing "Skillrex" on the show.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Mike, all the time by Chelsea Tarkington. Chelsea has been known to invoke this trope by flashing Mike during recordings.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first few episodes were all under 45 minutes in length and only featured Michael Riley and Chris McClain. In fact, the only thing present in the first episode of the show that still remains today are the Mental News Stories and the new media releases. Everything else, even the core of the show, the news, was added later.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Played with by Michael Riley in reference to Billy Carter. Mike would repeatedly, and falsely, state that Billy's middle name was Aloysius, which he would immediately refute.
    • Maybe justified in that Billy's actual middle name is Ray.
  • Enforced Plug: Usually happens at the end of every show, though the cast has been known to play with this and actively make jokes about Geek Juice and shows on the site.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: In fact, the show was based there (in Austin) for three years, from 2009 to 2012.
  • Fanservice: Jillian Zurawski, natch. Taken to the extreme when her topless scene in The Cinema Snob Movie is mentioned. Michael Riley once stated that he thought that Jillian would have "silver dollar nipples," and was constantly teased by Jillian afterwards, with her even going so far as to tell him to watch the movie to find out.
    • Jillian also mentioned that she once wanted to "wreck Sarah Lewis."
    • Chelsea Tarkington also. Chelsea has been known to flash Mike and others, and even go so far as to get completely topless during a recording session, which will usually cause Mike to stop in his tracks.
  • #HashtagForLaughs: #MacCorkle. The hashtag came about due to a Mental News Story about a guy who jumped naked into a lake just off of "MacCorkle Avenue," which immediately caught the attention of the cast.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Michael Riley has said this more than a couple times in response to something even remotely sexual.
    • Billy Carter has done this before, too.
  • I Am the Band: During an episode hosted by Jillian Zurawski, a news story came up about Green Day's set being cut short. Dustin Kidd's response was to belittle Green Day, calling them crybabies and remarking "I'm Green Day, a-boo-hoo!"
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Believe it or not, despite being male, Matt Vacco qualifies, as he often crossplays female anime characters, complete with rather convincing fake breasts.
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: The Mental News Stories are a really good source of this:
    • During an episode in December of 2011, Mike read to Dane and Fred Fritz a news story about a woman who stripped naked and crawled into a dead horse carcass as a tribute to the horse. This is one of the only times the Mental News Story has been proceeded with a warning by Mike. Dane found and watched the video of the incident (which resulted in exactly what you think), and then the three of them proceeded to turn the next ten minutes of the show into joke after joke about it.
    • The first "gun in the vagina" story counts, but the trope is averted with the second and third times.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Averted with regular host Michael Riley. Michael is usually REALLY good about pronouncing even the most foreign-sounding of names. He consistently pronounces "Chiwetel Ejiofor" correctly whenever the actor's name appears.
    • Played straight with most any other host on the show.
    • Played for laughs with Alex Jowski, especially with The Unpronounceable names of Bollywood film stars. Alex will intentional pronounce those names incorrectly and in a goofy voice just to cause the rest of the cast to corpse.
  • Odd Name Out: Episode #364 starred Mike, Chelsea, Billy, Rick... and Abra.
    • Iason Skullsaber is basically this in every episode he's in.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: On the 450th episode, the Cold Open was a Prank Call from Adam Winkelmann to Dane Forgione. During the exchange, Dane calls Adam something that gets censored by an elephant noise. This, of course, becomes a Running Gag throughout the episode, with each instance being censored in the same manner.
  • That Came Out Wrong: A lot of the show's humor stems from this, especially when it comes to the Mental News Stories.
    • A rather egregious example of this occurred during episode #147, the first time that Lewis Lovhaug appeared. During The Joker's Wild, Michael was looking for the first comic book character to call himself The Flash. Lewis correctly gave the answer of "Jay Garrick," and when Michael attempted to repeat it back, it came out "Gay Jarrick." Lewis and Dane Forgione immediately caught on to this.
    • Another egregious example happens even earlier than that. Mike was reading a news story on the passing of Paul Newman (back on episode #47), and misreads the line "Newman was a racing enthusiast" as "Newman was a racist."
    Wyatt Estabrooks: You're desecrating his memory, you cock!
    • After a news story about a guy masturbating near a pool full of children, Chelsea Tarkington remarked "Pool full of children, yum yum yum." The cast IMMEDIATELY caught on to this.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: During an early 2012 episode, Fred Fritz appeared in the chat room as "SonOfDane," who claimed to be Dane Forgione's son, whom he abandoned to be raised by "four drug lords living in a taco."
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Averted. While an episode did air on February 14, 2012, it was treated as a normal episode of the show.
    • Finally played straight in 2017, when Michelle Light hosted the Valentine's Special on February 14, 2017, featuring an all-female cast.


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