Erich “Mancow” Muller (born June 21, 1966) is a United States radio and television personality. He is best known as the host of Mancow’s Morning Madhouse, a Chicago-based radio show that has, in recent years, been syndicated across the U.S. Mancow attended Central Missouri State University and received a Theatre degree in 1990. His career in radio began on the morning show, Holy Moly & Maxx, for station KMOK in Kansas City.
In 1993, Mancow made national headlines while working for radio station KYLD-FM in California. At the time, former President Clinton had tied up traffic on an LAX runway for over an hour because of a haircut on Air Force One. Mancow staged a parody of this incident on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during rush hour. He used vans to block the westbound lanes of the bridge while his sidekick, Jesus “Chuy” Gomez, got a haircut. As a result of this publicity stunt, Mancow was prosecuted and given three years probation, fined $500, and ordered by a San Francisco Municipal Court judge to perform 100 hours of community service. The radio station eventually paid $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a bridge commuter.
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.
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.
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.