Long before inviting a TV audience to slap his nuts, Vince Offer took on the Church of Scientology.
Admit it: somewhere between the 10th and 18th time you’ve seen the commercial for Sham-Wow, you’ve been tempted to throw down $19.99 plus shipping and handling just so you can deliberately spill some Kool-Aid on your throw rug to test if the German made rag can actually suck it back up.
No, just me?
Well, then at least admit that, after you’ve wondered why in the hell he has to wear a headset microphone for a commercial (did the boomguy get sucked up by the Shamwow ultra absorption power?), you’ve wondered a little about pitchman Vince, before he began hawking micro-fiber towels and inviting TV viewers to slap his nuts.
Fortunately, a little light Googling finds some surprising answers…
Vince, aka Vince Offer Schlomi, has one IMDB credit as the writer, director, and star of The Underground Comedy Movie, based on a series of episodes from a public access show he produced. If you’ve been in Los Angeles for more than 10 years, you may remember print ads and posters for this film all over L.A. Vince financed the film with earnings from his job hawking vegetable choppers at swap meets.
The film received a less than warm reception – its among IMDBs 100 worst films ever. In spite of this, after years of trouble, Offer was able to finally make a profit after hawking the film on late night infomercials.
But perhaps most interesting is that following production of the film, Offer proceeded to file or threaten no less than three high profile law suits. One was against the Farrelly brothers, who he claimed stole ideas from his film and used them in “There’s Something About Mary.” Another alleged that Anna Nicole Smith had backed out of contract to appear in the film, supposedly using an excuse regarding complications from a recent breast enhancement surgery.
…alleging it had declared him a criminal and had urged its members to “write false and malicious reports against him.” Offer claimed that the church’s action against him caused him to lose a successful business, as many of his employees were Scientologists who quit upon learning of the church’s actions. (summary via Wikipedia).
Now I’m curious if the cleaners at the Celebrity Center happen to use Shamwows…
*A little TV pitchman parlance.