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Despite being syndicated across the country, Mancow's Morning Madhouse retains its Chicago flavor. Its humor is laden with the schadenfreude common to the city. It also retains "inside jokes" funny only to Chicagoans, such as its constant insults against Joliet, Illinois. A typical show consists of prank calls, celebrity impersonations, political rants, and merciless teasing of members of the show.
While the show has attracted more prominent musicians, actors/actresses, and figures in recent years, the tone has not lightened.
Recurring characters have included "Wade the Gimp," a handicapped man confined to a wheelchair; "Cowboy Ray," a bad comedian; the "Big Goony," a mentally retarded worker in the building; and "Crazy Mary," a schizophrenic. The show's regular programs include such things as "Skid Theater," where the staff pays homeless people to act out lines from movies, then have people call in and try to guess which one.
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Not surprisingly, the show is not considered politically correct. In 1996, the Chicago magazine New City published a scathing attack on the show, including accusations that the show was homophobic and racist (the title of one article was "In Search of the Straight, White Male") and in bad taste. Nonewithstanding these cultural criticisms, the Mancow show has become the most popular morning radio show in Chicago as of early 2005.
The show, despite its emphasis on humor, can be extremely political. While Muller calls himself a libertarian, critics have attacked him as a right-wing demagogue. Although the show routinely satirizes politicians of both parties, Muller takes strong positions on the abortion and right to die debate, and has endorsed Republican candidates.