Who’s really clapping for those Tater Mitts?

Imagine yourself watching an infomercial on TV. Then, imagine watching yourself in an infomercial, on the screen, cheering like an idiot for some jerk who’s demonstrating how easy it is to spit out spicy mango chutney with a salad shooter. Scary, huh?

That said, here’s something to think about: what sort of people make up an infomercial audience? Who could sit for an extended period of time looking mystified and life-changed by a live OxiClean demonstration?

The answer: Losers and people that are forced to, say numerous experts in a number of fields.

You’ve no doubt heard these infomercial crowds before, chanting “set it and forget it” like a bunch of bloodthirsty zombies. You’ve listened to them “ooh” and “ahh” over the One Touch Can Opener as it unleashes a family-size tin of fruit cocktail (without any dripping or spillage of that wonderful syrup).

Does that seem like normal behavior? Why would they act that way?

You’ve also seen them clapping, laughing and nodding furiously in approval after some loud Australian guy showed them how to hold back their uni-brow growth using the “Luma Tweeze” (side note: Aside from playing the mouth harp and tossing boomerangs, I’m told Aussies are also really good at marketing American products, such as the beloved “blooming onion”).

Have you ever been overcome with joy watching someone else scale back unwanted hair growth?

The fact is, no persons of sound mind and body would subject themselves to such torture under their own free will (Personally, the only way I’d ever participate in an infomercial audience was if; A. I lost a bet; or B. My family was being held hostage and their lives depended on it).

So what’s the explanation?

In some religious circles, it’s believed people sit in crowds for products like the Juice Master II and others because they’re forced to by karma.

“If you were bad in a past life, you might come back as an extra on an hour-long special for the Cleavage Clip,” said Ash Ram, a self-proclaimed mystic. “If you were really bad, you might have to sit in for multiple tapings and re-shoots of the Tater Mitts demo.”

In the U.S. justice system, before karma even has the chance to kick in, there are documented cases of judges sentencing repeat, high-risk offenders to a certain number of hours as audience members in an infomercial as punishment.

“It’s rare, but if prison doesn’t seem to be working, some judges have sent violent felons to watch 100 hours of unsightly patches of back hair being wiped away with powerful folic removal gels,” explains legal analyst Sue Ann Litigate. “To really drive the message home, inmates are also shown the slimy, fuzzy glob that’s left in the cloth afterward as proof of the product’s effectiveness.”

On the homeland security front, critics of U.S. anti-terrorism policy claim the CIA has made starving detainees to watch hundreds of Rotisserie Chickens cook – four at a time – in 18 minutes or less in the Showtime Grill (without losing vital juices or moistness).

“This makes water-boarding look like a trip to Enchanted Forest,” said Senator Joseph R. Mama.

Still others say the biggest, and scariest, mystery surrounding the make-up of infomercial crowds are the people who aren’t under cosmic guidance, duress or court order that show up for demonstration tapings anyway.

“It sends out a lot of red flags if people are creepy enough to get jazzed up over a Mist Mate for no good reason,” one infomercial producer admitted. “It makes you wonder what else those losers are capable of.”

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