Sunday, June 28, 2009

RIP Billy Mays

Billy Mays, famous for yelling at us to buy things that we don't really need, has unfortunately passed away according to reports that his wife found him dead in their Florida home this morning. The police found no break-ins and suspect no foul play. If there were foul play though, I'd know who to blame...let me elaborate...

Billy Mays and fellow pitchman Anthony "Sully" Sullivan appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien just 5 days ago, largely to promote their new show on the Discovery Channel called Pitchmen.

Conan humorously brought out some of the products that the two guys had pitched and had them demonstrate their use. Conan also fueled some fire by bringing up the ShamWow, knowing that Billy Mays had a bone to pick with the annoyingly hypnotic pitch of fame done by an odd-looking fellow named Vince Shlomi.

Why "a bone to pick" you ask? Well because Billy Mays pitched the "Zorbeez" before the "ShamWow" came onto the scene and they're both pretty much the same product. Watch below and see the Zorbeez vs. the ShamWow:

Obviously this Vince character is a sham (*cue the rim shot*) Basically the only difference between the two pitches is that Vince is wearing a headset...but why?? Looking into the end-all be-all truth that is Wikipedia, it turns out Vince has had his fair share of legal battles...

Shlomi made a comedy of sorts called The Underground Comedy Movie which was met with horrendous reviews. Vince accused the Farrelly brothers of stealing scenes from his movie for There's Something About Mary, to which the brothers basically said "We don't even know who you are." Vince also sued Anna Nicole Smith for not committing to the movie.

More recently, Vince was arrested in Florida for felony battery against a prostitute (see frightening mug shot at above-left).

My point is that this ShamWow guy doesn't have his morals in check and looks pretty damn sketchy. It turns out that the Zorbeez and ShamWow are distributed by the same company, which led to Billy Mays and Vince Shlomi sharing a box at the most recent SuperBowl. Mays was on Adam Corolla's radio show soon after the game and challenged Vince to a threatening pitch-off:

A long audio clip, but of most importance is the end, around the 4:00 mark or so, when Billy gets real heated and makes the challenge.

Did Vince Shlomi accept the challenge and take it too far? Did jealousy and greed escalate in this battle of absorbent towels?

Obviously, I'm exaggerating and don't seriously believe that there was any foul play. Ultimately, however, I'm sure this whole incident added some unneeded stress to Mays' life. My sympathies go out to his family and may he rest in peace. The world will never have a television pitchman of his caliber ever again.

Also, don't buy anything that's pitched by Shlomi.

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