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Podcast / The Bugle

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The Bugle is a weekly (formerly on hiatus, formerly monthly, formerly weekly) satirical news podcast, hosted by John Oliver (until 2016, now with rotating guest hosts) and Andy Zaltzman, and distributed by Times Online until January 2012; it continues as an independent podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. New episodes of The Bugle are released on Fridays, related material continues to appear. It first appeared in October 2007.

The Bugle has featured the following, in no particular order:

  • Hotties From History (briefly replaced by a Death Threats Section when they cancelled it because of Andy's growing feelings for Florence Nightingale)
  • Wol, The Marginal Sports Correspondent
  • Ask An American (played by Rory Albanese, who writes for The Daily Show)
  • A Special Guest Celebrity In A Soundproof Safe
  • Bullshit Storytime with Andy Zaltzman
  • The Greatest Email Ever Sent
  • Occasional Interjections from Tom, the sexy yet weary-sounding Producer, now gone to Australia
  • The Audio Cryptic Crossword, a suitable replacement for which has never been found
  • The excellent serialisation of "The Congressman's Penis"
  • Fuckeulogies [the dark side of a eulogy], whenever someone especially vile and famous dies. More commonly, these days, is an argument over whether or not to give a particular person a fuckeulogy.
  • Andy has also taken to indulge his predilection for a Hurricane of Puns on a certain topic.
  • Cricket statistics. So, so many cricket statistics.

The Bugle provides examples of:

  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In Episode 121, Andy plays a Fox News sportscaster commentating while Obama plays golf. It is not exactly flattering to the Fox network. Also, there's an older episode where Andy mentions an article in The Sun and says "The Sun is, of course, a cousin of The Bugle—not that we all get on with all our relatives".
    • Half of Episode 160 is devoted to this, in the wake of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
  • British Brevity: Averted. It's been running for over two hundred episodes and a new one appears most weeks.
  • Brown Note: New producer Chris claims he knows how to insert bass notes low enough to duplicate the effect.
  • Calvinball: Some of the "marginal sports" covered by Wol such as "The World Doubt Harbouring Championships"
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The American (always), Andy (sometimes, though more frequent if the cricket is on)
  • Eagleland: The American of Ask an American fame seems to be sending up British ideas about the average American: he is jingoistic, well armed and enjoys indulging in capitalist abandon, particularly if it involves buying a jet ski or a large television.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Story about a cricket match? "SPORTS NOW!" Story about Egypt? "EGYPT NEWS NOW!" Well, okay, the "news" part is largely Blatant Lies, but still.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Frequently. Particularly in Episode 131, when Andy, Chris and a returning Tom come to the recording straight from the pub.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Andy loves puns and sometimes we get to hear a five minute audio consummation of this love. Examples include "North Korea World Record Attempt" and "Mexico".
  • Indian Laws: Anuvab Pal, one of the most commonly recurring of the new hosts, likes to explain how a sector of Indian law tend to be more of a suggestion, due to the country's widespread if usually polite bureaucratic corruption. For example, in episodes discussing Boris Johnson where Anuvab appears, he will often note how most Indians wouldn't think of Johnson's government as unusually corrupt.
  • Informed Judaism: It's a running joke that Andy is a very bad Jew (in the sense that he doesn't go to temple, observe a kosher diet, etc.)
  • Joisey: The American's accent.
  • Metaphorgotten: John - "I recently had the opportunity to interview Herman Cain, which I jumped at like a kangaroo—more specifically, like a kangaroo that had just been offered the opportunity to interview Herman Cain"
  • Mr. Fanservice: JOHN. Possibly helped by the fact that he's done the Bugle "stark bollock naked" in bed at least twice.
  • Mood Whiplash: John's sincere monologue talking about his war veteran wife and condemning the Iraq War in episode 176... followed immediately by utter ridiculousness. As he put it, 'Sincerity followed by the relief of childishness.'
  • New Job Episode: Chris, the replacement for Tom the Producer, appears for the first time in Episode 108. He seemed quite perky, but soon became a bit of a joke Scrappy.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: For Nish Kumar, one of the most commonly recurring hosts since the episode 4000 relaunch, who is happy to poke fun at how he cannot seem to keep a job in British comedy, including a Quibi series.
  • Noodle Incident: Andy and John often make cryptic references to past gigs that seem to have gone over near-apocalyptically, but the true details are never revealed.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Their Twitter feed mostly features the same type of satire as the podcast, with the label "FACT ALERT" for the bits that aren't.
  • Phrase Catcher: Alice Fraser, one of the new hosts, is fond of getting just a touch blue, only for Andy to mock-admonish her with "Family show, Alice."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From episode 258, courtesy of, Queen. Shaped. Dildo.
  • Pungeon Master: Andy, Andy, Andy.
    • Now with Pun Bell, Pun Horn and John's utter despair.
    • Alice Fraser, one of the more popular of the cohosts in the 4000-series, has no small amount of this herself, sometimes causing Andy to cheer her on,
  • Running Gag: Hotties From History, The Audio-Cryptic Crossword and Nick Griffin being a bit of a country loving maniac.
    • "I think we all know what that bleep is by now."
    • After the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a Running Gag developed involving John's love for a certain part of Pippa Middleton's anatomy. "Oh, Pippa..."
    • "FUCK YOU, CHRIS."
    • Every time German is spoken (or rather, yelled), John says "Beautiful language, Andy" or something similar.
  • Sarcasm Mode: John frequently falls into this, usually while ranting about something.
  • Self-Deprecation
  • Shout-Out: John Oliver frequently relates backstage gossip relating to The Daily Show.
  • Special Guest: Ex-producer Tom, Rory Bremner, and — due to the decreasing frequency of his appearances — the American. John featured as the guest host for an episode in 2021, and of course, technically all the hosts save Andy post episode 4000 are special guests to a degree, though some turn up often enough they feel more like regulars.
  • Take That!: The "Fuckeulogies" for Osama bin Laden and a few others.
  • Those Two Guys: Whenever Andy and recurring guest host Felicity Ward get on about cricket (this may be why they took their double act about the sport to an entire podcast of its own, Urnbelievable Ashes).
  • Ultimate Job Security: John seems to enjoy this because he has literally phoned in several performances, but we love him and Andy so we hope this is never averted. Andy and John also frequently insult Rupert Murdoch and News International who own The Times (and therefore the Bugle).
    • This one was eventually averted when The Times pulled the plug on The Bugle. Everyone involved claims that this was because the show wasn't bringing in revenue but it is worth noting that the dismissal came after other media outlets started to run articles about the "biting the hand that feeds you" humour in the show.
    • It was finally averted for John for real—because his job hosting his own show takes up too much of his time, most weeks.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When it comes to any story involving penises, Andy is the KING of this.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Andy frequently mocks John for having participated in films such as The Love Guru and The Smurfs, while John shows no mercy when describing the quality of Andy's pun runs.
    • "It must be strange for the Buglers to hear a moment of genuine sincerity between us..."
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: John and Andy sometimes derive humour from mocking pointless jobs such as university researchers researching patently obvious claims such as "Aggressive people more likely to get in fights".
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Andy likes to exploit this during his pun runs — if you think he's finally done, he probably isn't.