11 episodes

A podcast where we unpack what our pop culture is telling us about madness and mental health. Hosted by Sandy Allen. New episode every three weeks.

Mad Chat Sandy Allen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 42 Ratings

A podcast where we unpack what our pop culture is telling us about madness and mental health. Hosted by Sandy Allen. New episode every three weeks.

    The Halloween Special (w/Tracy Clayton)

    The Halloween Special (w/Tracy Clayton)

    Season 1 of Mad Chat concludes with the one and only Tracy Clayton (living legend and former co-host of “Another Round”), who joins Sandy to defend a problematic fave holiday—Halloween. Along the way they talk costumes, pitfalls of being open about anxiety and depression on Twitter, and how E.T. kinda just looked like a loaf of bread.

    Here’s Tracy’s Sexy Steve Harvey costume and her Prince one; here’s my Log Lady 
    Here’s Tracy’s tweet about the Sexy Steve Harvey costume and times when you don’t look as bad on social media as you’re actually feeling (if you’re curious, check out the whole thread, though as we say, there’s some heavy stuff) 
    Here’s the awful Halloween display I saw on a front stoop in Brooklyn 
    Speaking of gender and Halloween costumes, here’s my essay that touches on that topic, for them. 
    Speaking of trying to not say words like “insane” and “crazy”, here’s my essay about that from Gay Magazine 
    Speaking of apologies and how to give them, here was an excellent Still Processing episode 
    Reminder that our third Mad Chat Book Club pick is We’ve Been to Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health, edited by L.D. Green and Kelechi Ubozoh. If you’re interested, pick up a copy and begin reading (it’s got numerous essays, articles, poems and so forth) and we’ll have our discussion sometime next year. I recommend it generally but especially if you’re looking for more points of view on madness/mental health written by people with first-hand experience. This is also an excellent resource (if you’re a mental health professional, for example) looking for more ‘data’ and ‘backup’ for the sorts of ideas you’ve been encountering on this podcast. 
    This concludes Season 1! We’re taking and a break and will return with Season 2 next year! More exciting news hopefully forthcoming! Thanks for listening! If you love the show, please take some time to tell your friends/followers & rate/review us wherever you’re listening. The show is entirely independent for the time being and therefore entirely reliant on word of mouth. We appreciate your support! In the meantime, send us an email if you’ve got thoughts about what we’ve made so far, stuff you’d love to hear discussed on the future episodes, or just any question (and maybe someday we’ll answer it on the show). We’ll be on social media during the hiatus and maybe there’ll even be some surprises, so stay subscribed. Chat with you in 2020!

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Donnie Darko (w/Jonah Bossewitch)

    Donnie Darko (w/Jonah Bossewitch)

    “Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!” 
    [This episode contains the brief sound of gun shots at 1:36] 
    Sandy and educator, technologist and activist Jonah Bossewitch ring in spooky season with a discussion of the cult classic film Donnie Darko. They talk about the portrayal of psychiatry (which includes hypnosis for some reason?) and whether all the movie's talk of time travel could be seen as a meditation on suicide.
    🎃🎃🎃 We’re still soliciting your spooky stories about mental health and Halloween. Have you encountered psychiatric patients/treatments used at haunted houses/as costumes/decorations etc.? Tell us your stories — send a minute-or-under voicemail to madchatshow at gmail. 
    Buy and read We’ve Been Too Patient. Of course read our guest Jonah Bossewitch’s essay in it, an ethnography of the radical mental health movement called “Dangerous Gifts” (adapted from his dissertation). WBTP be the third Mad Chat Book Club pick so I encourage you to pick it up and check it out. We’ll have that conversation at some point in early 2020. 
    Other resources / organizations Jonah mentioned during our chat: 
    The Icarus Project 
    The Institute for the Development of Human Arts or IDHA  
    NYC Respite Centers 
    Piece up at Mad in America by Leah Harris on “The Rise of the Digital Asylum” 
    I mentioned our episode about Six Feet Under with Hearing Voices movement activist Caroline Mazel-Carlton. I also mentioned our latest episode, with Yassir Lester, about Batman: The Animated Series. 
    We briefly mention asylums; check out my new piece for 99 Percent Invisible, about asylums historically in America. 
    Listen to my breb, which is frequently what’s helping me today. Tell us #whatshelpingtoday and Chris Ritter may illustrate your suggestion. 
    Our final episode of Season 1 will be our Halloween Special on Halloween — with a very special guest. Chat with you again in *two* weeks. 

    • 1 hr 38 min
    Batman: The Animated Series (w/Yassir Lester)

    Batman: The Animated Series (w/Yassir Lester)

    “I am vengeance. I am the night. I am Batman.” 
    Yassir Lester — comedian and writer/actor on Showtime’s Black Monday — joins Sandy to dissect the beautifully dark and twisted Saturday morning cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. They discuss Arkham Asylum’s model of mental healthcare, Batman’s own mental health, and whether Batman and Robin count as a Thing. 
    Want to dive deeper into the dark history of mental health treatment in the US? Join our second Mad Chat Book Club meeting on Thursday, October 3rd at 8:30 pm on Instagram Live! This time around we’re reading Robert Whitaker’s Mad in America. 
    The next episode of Mad Chat will be out in three weeks, but in the meantime, keep chatting with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. And let us know #WhatsHelpingToday! 
    Transcripts, resources and recommendations related to this episode available at madchatshow.com.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Frasier (w/Nichole Perkins)

    Frasier (w/Nichole Perkins)

    "I don’t know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs..."

    Writer, "Thirst Aid Kit" co-host, and Niles Crane super-fan Nichole Perkins joins host Sandy Allen to dissect the immensely popular sitcom, Frasier. They discuss the Crane brothers' complicated relationship to their patients and each other, and whether Dr. Frasier Crane, the radio psychiatrist, needed a psychiatrist of his own.

    The next episode of #madchatshow will be out in three weeks, but in the meantime, keep chatting with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. And let us know #WhatsHelpingToday! 
    Transcripts available at madchatshow.com.

    Additional music: “Cupcake Marshall” by Blue Dot Sessions, under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license. 
    Read Nichole’s collection of poetry, Lilith, But Dark! Subscribe to her (and Bim Adewunmi’s) podcast, Thirst Aid Kit, which is soon re-launching from Slate! 
    For more about the recent history of the psychiatric profession, I highly recommend Robert Whitaker’s Mad in America (the book that spawned the media organization of the same name, a resource I also highly recommend). It’s also going to be the second Mad Chat Book Club pick! Join me for the discussion on the Mad Chat Instagram Live at 8:30 pm on October 3. Want to send a question or topic for discussion ahead of time? Message us on a social media, or email us at madchatshow@gmail.com. Hope to see you at Mad Chat Book Club. 
    I truly truly love Esther Perel’s podcast Where Should We Begin?. It’s a great way to listen to what great therapy sessions can actually sound like (in this case, couples’ therapy sessions). 
    Nobody has covered the Crane brothers, especially Niles, with as much depth and nuance as Daniel Ortberg at the The Shatner Chatner; I referenced this post analyzing the Crane Brothers as stock clowns. 
    Frasier is a show driven by a laugh track and I was therefore reminded of this excellent episode of 99% Invisible about laugh tracks. 

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Killing Eve (w/Sarah Kay)

    Killing Eve (w/Sarah Kay)

    “There’s something about…the way you are…” 
    [This episode contains the sound of brief gunshots at 4:35]

    Sandy chats with poet and “Sincerely, X” podcast host Sarah Kay about Killing Eve, the popular BBC series about the hunt for a supposedly psychopathic assassin. They discuss empathy, sociopathy/psychopathy and the show’s leaning on sensational, damaging stereotypes. 

    For episode transcripts, more information on our guest and recommended resources related to this episode, visit our website www.madchatshow.com 
    The next episode of #madchatshow will be out in three weeks, but in the meantime, keep chatting with us on Twitter, Instagram (both @madchatshow), or Facebook (Mad Chat Show). And let us know #WhatsHelpingToday! 

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Dawson’s Creek (w/Esmé Weijun Wang)

    Dawson’s Creek (w/Esmé Weijun Wang)

    “It's a preposterous soap opera about a bunch of teenagers who talk too much."

    Host Sandy Allen is joined by writer Esmé Weijun Wang (author of ‘The Collected Schizophrenias’) to chat about Dawson’s Creek.

    Join Sandy on Thursday, August 1st at 8pm Eastern for the first-ever Mad Chat Book Club on the Mad Chat Show Instagram Live! We'll be discussing 'The Collected Schizophrenias.' Show up with questions or submit them ahead of time via DM on IG, Twitter, or Facebook or email us: madchatshow@gmail.com.

    Next episode of #madchatshow is in three weeks, but in the meantime, keep chatting with us on Twitter, Instagram (both @madchatshow), or Facebook (Mad Chat Show). And let us know #WhatsHelpingToday!

    For episode transcripts, more resources related to this episode recommended by Sandy, info about our guest and more, visit madchatshow.com.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
42 Ratings

42 Ratings

Fluffizillamon ,

Intelligent, Candid, Important

This show has honestly become part of my self-care routine. It consists of the remarkably thoughtful and compassionate host having smart and insightful conversations with their equally impressive guests. Every episode is simultaneously refreshing, reassuring, and exasperating. I’ve been recommending it to literally everyone I know.

sa_467 ,


this podcast is wildly intelligent, infectious, and wonderful to listen to, with each new episode adding new layers of thought provoking material. sandy is an incredible host and so articulate that it makes the conversations flow with ease. this show should be at the top of every syllabus covering mental health/madness/ability. i wish i could find a way to integrate it into my own courses so my students could be exposed to this important material, if even to see how different people do talented cultural critique. bravo and thank you.

Robbo! ,

Great first episode!

I could’ve listened to these intelligent women talk about BoJack Horseman for hours!

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