I Love Prescott Pharmaceuticals


This isn’t related to anything recent — The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are in reruns this week — but I once did a post on my least-favourite Colbert Report segment (Tek Jansen, of course), and it occurred to me that I never said what my favourite segment is. And that’s an easy one to answer: my favourite recurring segment on any talk/variety show is Colbert’s “Cheating Death With Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A.” Every time he does that segment, I give a little internal cheer (internal cheering, by the way, is something that I should see a doctor about).

What I love about that segment is that, like most of the best Colbert segments, it’s both a comedy routine and part of a larger ongoing story about this character and his show. The format is rigid: jokes about some health-related thing in the news, followed by Colbert plugging a drug by his sponsor, Prescott Pharmaceuticals, and reading off a list of crazy side effects (usually arrived at by mashing up two or more real-life medicinal side effects into something that sounds even worse). The ritual of hearing Colbert trying to get through the side effects without cracking up is a big part of the fun. But the Prescott Group has taken on a life of its own through these segments; their evil, incompetence and willingness to risk people’s lives to make a buck has made them almost a separate character on The Colbert Report even though I don’t think we’ve ever seen a representative of the company — though that might come later. What we have seen already is Colbert going through the vetting process for a White House job, and being confronted with a list of the Prescott-approved side effects created by the drugs he’s been plugging on his show. And though his character is clearly making money off the company (since his face is all over their products), he tries to deny responsibilty for any of their products, a commentary on media figures and politicians who feign independence from their corporate sponsors. It’s a two-layered segment: cheap jokes with a story arc.

I will say, though, that “Monkey On the Lam” would give “Cheating Death” a run for its money if Colbert used it more often. If only because the graphic is the greatest thing ever.

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I Love Prescott Pharmaceuticals

  1. If you love Prescott Pharmaceuticals, does that mean you are well-disposed to the new show “Better off Ted?” Their title character works at an R&D company with similar ethics.

  2. Yeah those two are pretty great segments. The other one I like is when he brings out his gun, “Sweetness”. He seems to have pretty much given up on the On Notice/Dead To Me lists. It’s always funny to see a straight man in a comedy routine start cracking up.

  3. “Ask your doctor if Vaxadrone™ is right for you. And if he says no, see another doctor.”

  4. – Abdominal Migration
    – Abdominal Salad Shooters
    – An Inability to Breathe on Weekends
    – Ankle Bearding
    – Aortal Collapse
    – Arby’s Mouth
    – Argyle Pattern Baldness
    – Armpit Homunculus
    – Autonomous Nipple Syndrome
    – Bad Humors
    – Bearded Thalamus
    – Bone Sporking
    – Braintooth
    – Braintooth
    – Brainwhistle
    – Capillary Yogurt
    – Carcassing
    – Chinese Firebones
    – DIS, or Dissolving Intestine Syndrome
    – Dry Mouth
    – Dry Mouth
    – Eye Curdling
    – Eyearrhea
    – Eyesplosions
    – Facial Corkboarding
    – Fallopian Tapeworm
    – Flunamis
    – Genital Migration
    – Gopherism
    – Grover Nordquist Syndrome
    – Hair Swelling
    – Hairy Uvula
    – Honey Nut Areolas
    – Honus Wagner’s Disease
    – Hungry Hungry Hipbones
    – Increased Appetite
    – Increased Risk of Vampire Attack
    – Ingrown Testicle
    – Involuntary Blowhole
    – Involuntary Narnia Adventures
    – Jimmy Crack Corns
    – Knee Transference
    – Lactose Addiction
    – Late Onset Albinoism
    – Lou Ferrignose
    – Lungfire
    – Lungquake
    – Massive Weight Gain

  5. –          Mild Hulkism
    –          Mild Kidney Explosions
    –          Mind of Mencia
    –          Minor Heart Explosions
    –          Monkeylung
    –          Multibrow
    –          Nostril Inversion
    –          Outgrown Testicle
    –          Permanent Blindness
    –          Phantom Hand Syndrome
    –          Pituitary Ferns
    –          Precocious Kidney
    –          Prolonged Erections – But Not Where You’d Hope
    –          Puckerlung
    –          Pulmonary Weevils
    –          R.E.O. Speedlung
    –          Rage
    –          Rectal Buffalo Wings
    –          Rectal Dyslexia
    –          Rectal Frosting
    –          Rectal Hallucinations
    –          Re-Emergence of the Umbilical Cord
    –          Restless Arm Syndrome
    –          Restless Leg Syndrome
    –          Restless Torso Syndrome
    –          Rocky Mountain Oysterism
    –          Runaway Gums
    –          Scrappy Dooism
    –          Scrotal Bassoon
    –          Scruffula
    –          Severe Weight Loss
    –          Siamese Nipples
    –          Skeletal Xylophoning
    –          Spaghetti Ovaries
    –          Speaking In Tongues
    –          Spontaneous and Uncontrollable Gum Growth
    –          Spontaneous Gypsy Scarf
    –          Spontaneous Harper’s Subscription
    –          Spontaneous Mertail
    –          Spontaneous Pregnancy
    –          Steven Tyler Lip
    –          Subcutaneous Funyuns
    –          Tennis Scrotum
    –          Teriyaki Lung
    –          Testicular Cranberrying
    –          Testicular Myopia
    –          Testicular Testicularization
    –          Thoracic Geysers
    –          Tracheal Meerkat Colonies
    –          Transsexual Kidneys
    –          Urethral Knotting
    –          Vein Seizures
    –          Ventricular Funk
    –          Verizon Guy Syndrome
    –          Vivid Dreams of Self-Cannibalization
    –          Warlock Hump
    –          Whatever Happens When You Drink Rocket Fuel
    –          X-Ray Hearing
    –          Yellowstone National Bladder

  6. Cameron

    How did you come up with the complete list of side effects!? I haven’t laughed that hard in a LONG time. Thanks!

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