The Learning Annex: Graveyard for Infomercial Stars

We know that many has-been celebrities end up hosting infomercials. But where do has-been infomercial stars go?

Well, if the current catalog of The Learning Annex San Francisco is any indication, many of them can be found teaching classes there.

If you’re not familiar with The Learning Annex, it is a venerable institution of adult instruction that offers classes on such hallowed subjects as “How to Make a Million Dollars Flipping Houses” and “Better Orgasms Through Tantric Meditation.”

On the cover of the current San Francisco Learning Annex catalog can be found Jay “The Juiceman” Kordich and Susan Powter. You remember Susan Powter. She’s the obnoxious harpy who used to appear on her own diet infomercials urging people to “Stop the Insanity.” Her picture on the Learning Annex catalog cover shows her with two-toned hair flying in all sorts of directions, lots of eye make-up, and a nose-ring. Susan Powter looks more like a porn star than Nina Hartley—the actual porn star who dominates the left side of the cover. (The cover also features some woman named Andrea Adler. I don’t know who she is but she must be honored to be featured in such august company.)

Open the pages of the catalog and you’ll find even more people who include “infomercial star” on their résumés. There’s our good friend Matthew Lesko teaching a class about—what else—how to get free money from the government. And there’s Howard Berg. In the 1990s the rotund Mr. Howard Berg appeared with Kevin Trudeau in an infomercial that sold his speed reading course. (I used to refer to this infomercial as “The Felon and the Fat Ass.”) Berg’s course was one of the few products I have ever actually purchased from an infomercial. It sucked, by the way.

The Juiceman, Susan Powter, Nina Hartley, Matthew Lesko, Howard Berg—that sounds like a great cast for the next season of The Surreal Life. Are you listening VH1?


  • 2 Responses to “The Learning Annex: Graveyard for Infomercial Stars”

  • Cool! I’m heading straight to the Learning Annex and I’m taking my autograph book with me!

    Comment by bookendz on October 24, 2006 at 11:13 am

  • Is it just me, or does Nina Hartley look like the mom from an 80s’ sitcom?

    Comment by Thomas on May 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm