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Radio / Rush Limbaugh

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"Not since Jesus Christ has the world seen someone
With such widely syndicated views
Hundreds of years from now they'll celebrate Rush-mas
And Rush Hashana for the Jews."
The Greatest Man in America, Moxy Früvous

Best known for his self-titled radio Talk Show, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (January 12, 1951 – February 17, 2021) was a well-known American conservative pundit who was not shy about his viewpoints. He has been credited with reviving AM radio and pretty much laying down the standard for the modern day political talk radio program. From 1992-1996, a television version of his show was broadcast through syndication. He also briefly served as an ESPN football commentator in 2003, though he resigned several weeks into the season after making controversial remarks about the press coverage of quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Like any other political pundit, Limbaugh's stock in trade was controversy. As such, he made a number of extremely provocative statements, and was alleged to have made others which strain the limits allowable to controversy. At least some of his opponents either quoted him out of context or even completely fabricated statements, though others claimed that Limbaugh fabricated similar statements himself.


Among the features that listeners to his show were quickly able to recognize were the numerous phrases he made up to use to describe certain things he talked about (such as "Drive-By Media"), his backchat with call screener Bo Snerdly, and the parody spots he played from Paul Shanklin.

After a battle with Stage IV lung cancer, Rush Limbaugh passed away on February 17, 2021 at age 70.

Not to be confused, were such a thing possible, with Rush.

Opinions of Rush Limbaugh and his views are sharply divided and often extreme, so please use Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment when adding Tropes. Note that a similar page for Alex Jones (often considered to be Rush's heir apparent) was deleted for this exact reason, due to it becoming overly editorialized and negative.


Tropes Utilized:

  • Adam Westing: See, Self-Deprecation, below.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Probably most blatantly invoked when he blamed Robin Williams' suicide on his "leftist" worldview a day after his death.
  • Ban on Politics: Naturally enough, averted if not outright defied on his show itself, but elsewhere it can be a good idea to avoid mentioning him at all if you don't want to get embroiled in a political Flame War.
  • Big Bad: Democratic pundits, politicians and strategists often joked that he was the boss of the Republican party, and the source of their problems. He found this hilarious. A few Republicans took this to heart and called him the true Big Good of the party.
  • Brutal Honesty: His fans claim that his willingness to speak his mind is what made him so admirable. His detractors, however, think the opposite.
  • Catchphrase: More than a few.
    • His main phrase "...with talent on loan from God" is often misinterpreted as Limbaugh comparing himself to God, when it actually was his way of saying he got what talent he had from God.
  • Celebrity Star: On Family Guy, of all shows! He showed up for the occasional Cutaway Gag, but also had an entire episode dedicated to him. Seth MacFarlane is a fairly outspoken Liberal, but despite that, the two were actually good friends until Rush's passing.
  • Chickification: Limbaugh coined the term.
  • Companion Cube: The Golden EIB Microphone.
  • Conspiracy Theorist:
    • Apparently militant vegetarians are planning to get ahold of genetically modified ticks that turns people vegetarian and then "mass produce them, mass grow ‘em and spread ‘em all over the country in order to get people to stop eating beef".
    • Barack Obama was born in Kenya, his aunt saw it. Also, Vince Foster conspiracy theories during the Clinton years was not uncommon. Also, global warming is a hoax. Honestly going into every conspiracy theory he's given time to would simply take too long.
    • On the flip side there are some conspiracy theories revolving around him, which range from him secretly being in charge of the GOP to him working for the New World Order.
  • Couch Gag:
    • When Bill Clinton took office in 1992, Rush started every episode of both his radio and tv shows with "America Held Hostage: Day (Number of days in Clinton's term)". For the TV version a picture of the White House had something new added to it every day, usually something or someone having to do with that day's news events.
    • In January 2006, Al Gore, while promoting his climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth, claimed that the world would reach a point of no return in 10 years unless "drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken". Rush responded by starting an "Armageddon countdown" clock on his website, and gloated when the clock expired in 2016.
  • The Coup: He recently alluded to an article in the American Thinker which said the actions of the Obama Regime amount to a coup d'état. He then expanded on it, talking about how everything Obama's done is a gradual takeover of Washington, seizing power bit by bit, and the United States.
    • In 2014 he dubbed the State of the Union address the "State of the Coup".note 
    • In late 2019 and early 2020, he routinely called the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against Trump, leading to impeachment by the House and acquittal by the Senate, a "silent coup". And that's all we'll say about that.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often took a matter-of-fact tone when reporting on a ridiculous-yet-true news story.
  • Dirty Commies: Repeatedly invoked against most people to his left, including environmentalists and Barack Obama.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Well, no, but one of his most outlandish claims gave one comedian ample humor potential to suggest he was doing just that. During the 2012 campaign, he accused President Obama of (somehow) manufacturing the hurricane that disrupted the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Comedian Mark Agee tweeted in response: "Do what you want, but I'll def vote for THE GUY WHO CAN CONTROL THE FUCKING WEATHER."
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first few years of his national show were quite freewheeling, more like a radio comedy show with a conservative bent than a "conservative talk show". Limbaugh himself said that he came down with Cerebus Syndrome after George H.W. Bush invited him to the White House in 1992 and he realized that he was considered an important conservative spokesman.
  • Enemy Mine: He voiced support of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony's organization in Uganda that among other crimes abducts children as soldiers and sex slaves, on the grounds they were "Christians fighting Muslims."
    • In addition, he defended Bill Maher during the latter's controversial comments, post-9/11. Maher did the same for him in most cases; it's more or less an unspoken understanding that they both appreciate the right that the other has to say what they wish, no matter how much they disagree on what's actually being said.
  • Enforced Plug: Limbaugh often introduced a topic, only to give it some kind of twist to establish a tenuous connection to one of his sponsors. Some found this extremely irritating, while others found it entertainingly absurd.
    • For one particularly groan-inducing example, a listener called in to say that he had to take two showers after voting for Hillary Clinton during Operation Chaos.note  Limbaugh responded, "If you had followed my advice and gotten a Rinnai tankless water heater, you wouldn't have needed to take two showers. And I'll tell you why..."
    • Recently, he made a statement saying he, against all odds, supports video games in the California v. EMI lawsuit. Granted, it had to do with being a tool for censorship by bipartisan Democrats. But hey, he thinks they are an artform.
  • Feminazi: Popularized the term, though Limbaugh regularly claimed that he didn't create it.
  • Friendly Enemy: He was actually friends with Seth MacFarlane, as explained during promos for the Family Guy episode "Excellence in Broadcasting". Apparently it wasn't totally an act for either of them, since both have been sincere in their respective beliefs, but still enjoyed trolling the other side in public for ha-has.
  • Global Warming: Believed it was a hoax, mostly because in his view humans just aren't capable of it. He actually voiced the opinion that it's the height of arrogance to think that human activity could influence something so vast and complex. See also "Couch Gag" above.
  • Godwin's Law: Feminazis.
    • Compared Barack Obama's style of governance to Adolf Hitler's more than once.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Rush is known as a big cigar buff.
    • He gave up on cigarettes entirely, smoking only cigars. This added yet another Catchphrase: "I have, right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers..."
    • Appears to have come back to bite him following his February 3, 2020 announcement that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. That October, he announced (in so many words) that it was terminal, and announced on his last show before his 2020 Christmas break that he had not been expected to survive even to October. He would pass away from lung cancer on February 17, 2021, one year after his announcement.
  • I Warned You: Frequently during the Obama administration, as Rush pointed out that everything that was happening in the country during Obama's presidency was quite predictable, and that he was saying it well before Obama was sworn in.
  • I Will Tell You When It's Time To Panic: His usual response to panicked callers who think the country's done for.
  • Insistent Terminology: He consistently referred to the Obama administration as "the Obama regime" mostly to parody the lefties who used to (in some cases still do) refer to the Bush administration as "the Bush regime." He also referred to Obama's inauguration as an "Immaculation", a dig against people who thought voting for Obama would bring about world peace like he was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: As stated, he considered himself an entertainer first and foremost—his energetic on-air personality (along with the show's rapid-fire pacing) was something of a nod to his professional past as a Kansas City sports anchor. It was widely believed (mostly by non-listeners) that in truth he didn't believe half the "outrageous" views he claims to espouse. For his part, he tended to lampshade this by clarifying moments of such as "illustrating absurdity by being absurd".
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover / Right-Hand Cat: Owned quite a few cats. One of them, an Abyssinian named Punkin, has been featured in PSAs for The Humane Society
  • Living Lie Detector: According to himself (as "America's Truth Detector").
  • Nerdgasm: invoked Rush used to accuse certain commentators who (in his view) loved Mikhail Gorbachev a little too much of having "Gorbasms".
    • And later revived in 2000 with "Gorgasms".
    • And most recently "Obamasms".
  • Nice to the Waiter: Literally, as Limbaugh took great pleasure in leaving extra large tips; moreover, he frequently made extremely large contributions to charities.
  • The Nicknamer: Quite often gave a particular public figure a new name, which he then always used to refer to them. A few examples are:
    • Sen. Harry Reid: Dingy Harry
    • Barney Frank: The Banking Queen
    • Al Gore: "Algore" (said as one word). This comes from a parody which portrayed Bill Clinton as a Dr. Frankenstein-esque Mad Scientist with his assistant Algore.
    • John Kerry: The Haughty John Kerry Who Served In Vietnam By The Way. A reference to Kerry's constant invoking of his service during the 2004 campaign. Kerry was also occasionally referred to as Lurch.
    • John Edwards: The Breck Girl (in reference to a viral YouTube video involving Edwards seeming particularly obsessed with his hairstyle in preparation for an interview)
    • Alan Simpson: Alan Simpson Babe (in reference to that politician calling Rush "Rush, Babe")
    • Mainstream media: The Drive-by Media; also State-Controlled Media.
    • Congresswoman and former Democratic National Committee head Debbie "Blabbermouth" Schultz (with the nickname replacing her maiden name of Wasserman, which she uses professionally as the first part of a double-barreled surname).
    • Ronald Reagan: Ronaldus Magnus
    • Barack Obama: The Bamster, or The One. Toward the end of his administration Rush started referring to him as Barack Hussein O.
    • Michelle Obama: Mooch-elle, My Belle. The first part comes from his perception of her living large (mooching) at the taxpayers' expense, and the second part comes from a parody song done back during the '08 campaign based on The Beatles' "Michelle".
    • Rev. Jesse Jackson: "The Uh-Rev-rend...Nn-Jack-snnnnnnnnnnnnn". Supposedly meant to be a take on a "reverent near-whisper", with a hint of Jive Turkey.
    • Marion Barry: Marion "Sniff-sniff-sniff-sniff-sniff" Barry, a reference to Barry's cocaine addiction.
    • Peter Strzok: When he first came to prominence, Rush was uncertain if his name was pronounced "struck" or "stroke". He was called Struck-Stroke from then on.
    • Congressman Adam Schiff: Pencilneck
    • CBS News: Eyeball News, for obvious reasons. note 
    • And for himself: El Rushbo, Maha Rushie, the Big Voice on the Right, and the Mayor of Realville.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Simpsons has Birch Barlow, and Beavis And Butthead has Gus Baker.
    • Fox very briefly aired a sitcom called Monty starring Henry Winkler as a Limbaugh/Right Winger caricature. The character had written a book called "I'm Right, I'm Right, I'm Right, Shut Up", which parodies Limbaugh's actual book titles, such as "The Way Things Ought to Be" and "See, I Told You So".
    • Superman comics in the late 90's had Dirk Armstrong.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV's Richard Bastion.
    • Before Mark Levin got his own national talk radio show, he was a regular guest host whom Rush dubbed "F. Lee Levin".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: When not hamming it up on the radio, he was a damned capable strategist, and has been credited with providing momentum for the Republican takeovers of Congress in 1994 and 2010.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Call screener James Golden was referred to by Rush only as "Bo Snerdley". We also have "Cookie" (soundbites), "Koko" and "Koko Jr." (webmasters), and "H.R." (chief of staff). Collectively, the "Highly Overpaid Staff".
  • Outside-Context Problem: Donald Trump to the Drive-By Media, liberals and the Establishment. Rush asserted that they kept trying to put Trump in their usual mold, but he simply didn't fit because he's not a career politician, and as a result they had no idea what to make of him.
  • Pet the Dog: See Nice to the Waiter above.
  • Played for Laughs: His extreme egotism, which seemed to be a stage persona (as mentioned, he's Nice to the Waiter).
  • Pompous Political Pundit: One of the two main people the trope imitates, the other being Glenn Beck.
  • Popcultural Osmosis: Many people who obviously did not listen to his show regularly are able to display a specious familiarity with its catchphrases.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: For all his joviality, he could get pretty acidic towards someone who pushed him too far. (These moments were usually preceded or followed by an apology to his listeners.)
  • Self-Deprecation: He had a lot of self-deprecating lines in his Family Guy appearance.
    • To a degree his "I'm just a harmless, lovable little fuzzball".
  • Simpleton Voice: A lispy, Sylvester-esque "Voice Of The New Castrati", so named in reference to the stereotype of Leftist men being emasculated by militant feminism.
  • Spin-Off: Rush Limbaugh: The Television Series, syndicated between 1991 and 1994.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: This became a frequent lament of his in his later years. When Time magazine declared the existence of a new demographic of "Low-Information Voters" to help explain Obama's "landslide" reelection (basically, voters who don't really pay attention to politics at all, but voted for Obama because he "connected"), Rush (in a pretty bad mood due to the election) took it and ran with it.
  • Take That!: Too many to list, both by and against him.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight apparently, since he got busted with 29 Viagra pills (prescribed to somebody else) when returning from a vacation in the Dominican Republic with 4 other men.
  • Token Minority: His brief foray into ESPN ended when he claimed the media only praised Donovan McNabb because he was a black quarterback, which was still at the time somewhat uncommon in the NFL.
    • His right-hand man, James "Bo Snerdley" Golden, plays the fact that he's black (and therefore could easily be accused by the Left of being this trope) for laughs, whenever he's given a segment—as the "Official Obama Criticizer" ("officially certified black enough to criticize Barack Obama"). He even launches into Jive Turkey!
  • The Unintelligible: After playing a clip of Sen. Barney Frank in which Frank's lisp was more pronounced than usual, Rush exclaimed, "Can anyone understand what this man's saying?"


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