Chicago House of Blues presents CHAPO TRAP HOUSE Review – Famed Podcast Up Close

Chapo Trap House
Photo Courtesy of Chapo Trap House

Enter the Chicago House of Blues

Tonight the Chicago House of Blues, normally host to musical acts, hosts riotous leftist podcast, Chapo Trap House. The venue is packed to the brim with eager fans many of whom show their dedication not only by standing in line in the cold, but their willingness to stand for the two hour plus show. Seeing Chapo live creates a wholly different experience than individually listening to them through headphones. While witnessing Chapo live we are given the opportunity to share in the mutual experience of laughing at topical jokes about Airbnb hosts to expressing frustrations about Rahm Emanuel.

Chapo Trap House

Chapo Trap House is not for the faint of heart moderate or those leaning right on the political spectrum. It is an American politics and humor podcast born out of twitter and earned its clout during the build up toward the 2016 Presidential Election. Chapo Trap House, the name references to Mexican Drug Lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is characterized by a nihilistic exuberance guaranteed to satiate the disenfranchised liberal.

The live show followed the usual structure of the podcast and began with an anecdote about an absurd Airbnb proprietor who warned Chapo of the dangers of staying in Wicker Park. An anecdote which had many native Chicagoans roaring with laughter because Wicker park is known more for the dangers of rent inflation than gang violence. After recounting how their  Airbnb owner unironically bestowed the crew with a baseball bat for protection, Amber A’Lee Frost said, “I had just been to the drug store and had seen nothing, but extremely hot college girls and alpha level homosexual men.”

Chapo followed up the Airbnb host roast by ranking the top nine most corrupt Illinois politicians on the Dungeons and Dragons Character Alignment Scale. We were treated to a breakdown of politicians like George Ryan and Bettie Loren Maltese, whom Chapo described as consolation prizes for the Northern Illinois Federal Prosecutor Department’s inability to take down infamous Chicago Mayor, Richard J. Daley. Despite the titillating exploits of all the politicians listed, Rahm Emanuel was the real audience instigator, stirring hard boos from the audience as Chapo bequeathed him with the title “True Neutral”.

Chapo followed up the Airbnb host roast by ranking the top nine most corrupt Illinois politicians on the Dungeons and Dragons Character Alignment Scale. We were treated to a breakdown of politicians like George Ryan and Bettie Loren Maltese, whom Chapo described as consolation prizes for the Northern Illinois Federal Prosecutor Department’s inability to take down infamous Chicago Mayor, Richard J. Daley. Despite the titillating exploits of all the politicians listed, Rahm Emanuel was the real audience instigator, stirring hard boos from the audience as Chapo bequeathed him with the title “True Neutral”.

Chapo Trap House
Photo by Ally Hembree
Chapo Trap House
Attributed to Flickr user spsarge, 2007 Governor George Ryan, CC BY 2.0

Lawful Good: George Ryan

“I think George Ryan was a consolation prize for for the B league of Feds, the Northern Illinois Federal prosecutors office, who could never get Daley, [...] so they had to settle for George Ryan who was just trying to make the roads as safe a possible,” Chapo said. 

Chapo Trap House
Photo by Ally Hembree

Neutral Good: Betty Loren-Maltese

"Through a series of mishaps Maltese ended up as town president of Cicero, but she was meant to be cast down like Sodom and Gomorrah, but was spared due to a clerical error. Maltese was unusually generous with social services for seniors for a Republican, but because people are complex, she also stole millions of dollars from Cicero," Chapo said. 

Chapo Trap House
Attribution to Flickr user Jason, delusionalcubsfan, Rod Blagojevich, CC BY 2.0

Chaotic Good: “Big” Rod Blalojevich

“The real tragedy of Blalojevich is that he went down just as Twitter was coming out because if he had survived into the Twitter era and would have been like ‘Yo who wants this senate seat, venmo in the bio,'” Chapo said. 

Chapo Trap House
Public Domain from United States Congress

Lawful Neutral: Dan Rostenkowski

“How many Polish congressmen does it take to sell out Wellfare? A faulty prototype of the DLC democrat, this bulldog faced Cook County stall / regular ward compromised a way on the tax code, welfare, and a myriad of other things using his power on the Ways and Means committee during the Reagan Administration," Chapo said.

True Neutral: Rahm Emanuel

“Dude even Arch Duke Ferdinand got owned by his constituents less than Rahm Emanuel," Chapo said. 

Chapo Trap House
Public Domain from United States Congress
Chapo Trap House
Attribution to Chrls Eaves, Richard M. Daley, CC BY 2.0

Chaotic Neutral: Richard M. Daley

“Richard M. never had the unparalleled control over Cook county that his dad did, but he made up for it by being equally corrupt. Daley cut his teeth as being his dad’s most well developed tumor in the Illinois State Senate, but did not fully mistastize until he hid Jon Burges torture report," Chapo said. 

Chapo Trap House
Attribution to illinoislawmakers, Michael Madigan, CC BY 3.0

Lawful Evil: Michael Madigan

"His life is like a dull norwegian retelling  of House of Cards. Just an endless cycle of favors for idiot brothers of legislators and budget earmark machinations," Chapo said. 

Chapo Trap House
Public Domain from the U.S. News & World Report collection at the Library of Congress

Neutral Evil: Richard J. Daley

“Daley used his powers as head of the Democratic party to do as he saw fit, he sent his dumbest idiots to Springfield to vote how he wanted and put guys who were destined to be S.S., but got screwed up in mormon soul assignment HR department in heaven and ended up as Irish Americans in Chicago in the Chicago Police Department,” Chapo said.

Chapo Trap House
Public Domain from United States Congress

Chaotic Evil: Dennis Hastert

“Gelatinous child molester who was first clipped for ear marking 207 Million Dollars for a commercial property he did not disclosed he owned,” Chapo said.

Part of the beauty of Chapo is their ability to speak about flaws that characterize both the Democratic and Republican parties. Their attention to equitable criticism came to the forefront as they talked about the fraught Illinois gubernatorial race, discussing Governor Bruce Rauner's unusual commitment to diversity by drinking a glass of chocolate milk as well as J.B. Pritzker’s misguided tweet encouraging people to use the other gender’s bathrooms as a protest against Trump, who at the time was stripping Federal protections for Transgender children.

After grappling with the dubiousness of Pritzker’s tweet, member Matt Christman continued, “that’s my absolute favorite thing is decrepit, old, white democrats trying to be woke.”

As we entered the reading portion, we were treated to Chapo’s take on the literary contributions of Chicago Tribune Columnist, John Kass. Not all of us knew the history behind Kass’s byline, but after witnessing Chapo’s dissection of his op-ed cannon, we were sure to never forget. “This is really interesting to me because we’ve discovered a new kind of right winger, it’s the reactionary oatmeal fan,” Frost said while they discussed a smattering of Kass columns.

“John Kass is a human tourist attraction in Chicago,” Biederman said. “He as a suburbanite who sort of trots out this phony tough ethnic white Chicagoan persona.” The group went through a myriad of Kass writings berating the left, but the main event was a column entitled “What Not to Get Dad for Father’s Dad,” a sumptuously passive aggressive article pointed at Kass’s doctor, tailor and wife.

We left the Chicago House of Blues feeling lifted. The event gave us a chance to have a good laugh at the absurdity and a much needed unpacking of this current political moment.

The members of Chapo Trap House include Virgil Texas, Amber A’Lee Frost, Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, and Will Menaker.

Find information about the Chapo Trap House Podcast, more tour dates, and  their book, The Chapo Guide to Revolutions on the Chapo Trap House website.

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