The comedy/sketch program Mad TV (Fox, Saturday 11.00pm), can be pretty funny at times – it’s what SNL might be like if they had decent writers. I just caught a rerun of what I think was their 11th season opener, and saw a hilarious spoof of an infomercial selling “miracle cures”. The sketch consisted of an interviewer played by Nicole Parker, and a guy promoting the miracle cures, calling himself Robin Kirkley, played by Michael McDonald.
Now, I’ve never actually seen a Kevin Trudeau infomercial, although I have seen him interviewed on TV. I have seen picture of the cover of his book though. Take a look at this frame on the left from the Mad TV sketch. Look at the book he is holding up (as he does throughout the whole sketch), and see if you think there is any similarity to another book you may have seen.
Of course, Mad TV never say it is Kevin Trudeau – it’s “Robin Kirkley”. And the book is "Miracle Cures" while Trudeau's book is "Natural Cures" – completely different. I typed up a small portion of the sketch:
Robin Kirkley: I want everyone out there to know I’m not in this for the money. I just want everyone to have the information in this book… for $39.95.
Interviewer: (holds finger to ear) Wait, my producers are telling me something. Is this true? You’re giving away a DVD for free.
Robin Kirkley: Yes, I absolutely am. I am giving away this DVD for free and in it you find out how to use simple herbs to cure every disease known to mankind absolutely free… for $39.95.
Interviewer: You say that these simple herbs can cure every disease known to mankind.
Robin Kirkley: Yes, they absolutely can. They can cure heart disease, they can cure emphysema, cure lupus, leprosy,
Interviewer: That’s a big one.
Robin Kirkley: It’s very big these days, yes. They can cure… micro-testicles, phantom leg syndrome, unfunnyness – go on, name some more.
Interviewer: I’ve got one! Liver disease.
Robin Kirkley: Cured!
Interviewer: Oh no! You tricked me. You knew your herbs can cure all diseases known to man and I fell for it.
Robin Kirkley: Yes, I’m sorry but I had to trick you. You see it’s important for you to know that I only lie when I’m trying to show how honest I am.
Interviewer: I wouldn’t be doing my job as an infomercial journalist if I didn’t ask you a couple of tough questions.
Robin Kirkley: Go ahead.
Interviewer: OK then. If these miracle cures have been around for centuries, how come I’m only just hearing about them now?
Robin Kirkley: (Pauses – looks surprised) Wow! I didn’t see that one coming. Think about it: if all these diseases were cured it would bring the pharmaceutical industry to its knees. That’s why the Federal government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting me for things like fraud, false advertising and baby trafficking.
The sketch continues with an interview with a “doctor” shown only in shadow, who relates how he was using the miracle herbs to cure all his patients of all their diseases and save their lives, when a man from the government came and threatened his family with a live hand grenade unless he stopped curing his patients with the herbs and went back to using pharmaceuticals.
It’s a classic sketch. If I was a faster typist I might transcribe some more (although then I might be infringing their copyright). It’s a perfect example of how good focused comedy is as good a debunking tool as facts and evidence. Not that it was really about Kevin Trudeau, oh no.
Anyway, if you get a chance, you should Tivo it. Highly recommended.