As part of our ongoing “Memory Lane” series commemorating ERA’s 25th anniversary, here is a funny industry story from Steve Ober of Ideal Living, LLC.
When I was first introduced to the DRTV industry more than 20 years ago, I found myself searching for an anecdotal story illustrating to others exactly what my job was in writing and producing infomercials. The following joke sums it up...
At 95, Marvin Schwartz quietly passed away having lived a virtuous and fulfilling life. So much so that upon arriving at the Pearly Gates, Marvin was informed by St. Peter and the Devil that he actually had a choice of where to spend eternity. Both St. Peter and the Devil then offered views of what the afterlife had in store for him.
Snapping his fingers, St. Peter and Marvin were quickly transported to a lovely, quiet beach. Couples strolled hand in hand, others played shuffleboard, and the rest drank tea in quiet conversation. ‘So this is Heaven!’ exclaimed Marvin, and St. Peter told him of wonderful, tranquil days that lay ahead.
Another snap of St. Peter’s fingers, and Marvin joined the Devil for a look at the afterlife in the netherworld. With a masterful flourish of his hand, the Devil transported Marvin to another beach. Beautiful women in skimpy bikinis played volleyball, [people drank] Margaritas and mai tais, and colorful conversations were had around the craps tables. ‘So this is Hell!’ Marvin thought.
Another flourish of the Devil’s hand and Marvin found himself once again in front of the Pearly Gates. Looking mournfully at St. Peter, Marvin said, ‘With all due respect, given the choice, I believe I’ll spend eternity in Hell.’
In seconds, Marvin found himself in a sulfurous-smelling world, fires everywhere. People were being boiled in oil and flailed with whips. Turning to the Devil, Marvin asked plaintively, ‘What happened to the beach, the girls, the laughs, the fun?’
The Devil looked at him with a wry smile and said, 'You were watching the infomercial!’”
Steve Ober is vice president of Production at Ideal Living, LLC.
Illustration by Dennis Cox/Shutterstock.com
Note: The above blog post was adapted from the article by Michele Wojciechowski entitled "Giving 'Em the Business" published in ER magazine's December 2014 issue. To read the full article, click here.