Before Super Size Me, while Spurlock was still an aspiring filmmaker, he started up an Internet video program called "I Bet You Will," which was later bought and aired for a short while on MTV.
The show's premise? Find people on the street -- passers-by, homeless people, store clerks -- and pay them money to do ridiculous things. Usually, these stunts involved eating something disgusting (and, usually, unhealthy). Spurlock paid people to eat dog feces, an entire jar of mayonaise, and to do shots of cod liver oil. He paid one man to eat a clam out of another man's armpit. He paid one woman to shave her head, mix the shaved hair with butter, than eat the entire concoction. If you think it's odd that a guy who got famous scolding McDonalds for profiting from bad nutrition first made a name for himself by videotaping people eating disgusting things -- well, I guess that makes two of us.
Here's one account of the show:
Bystanders are feeling as queasy as the volunteer looks, as she continues with corn oil, pink bismuth, lemon juice, hot sauce and cold chicken broth, and to settle her stomach, finishes up with cod liver oil.Here's another:
As one disbelieving tourist from Montana says, “They don't do this back home where I’m from."
Well, they might soon, if this guy's idea takes off. Morgan Spurlock is the brains behind a webcast and would-be TV show called "I Bet You Will," which revolves around the idea that “people will do anything for money.”
Spurlock paid our friend $450 for those nine shots, and he has gone as high as $740 for one challenge. But most man-on-the-street stunts cost a lot less. He says, “I thought it was gonna be a little tougher, especially here in New York, to get people to do things. But no, people are cheap and easy."
“Extra” found that out when we went out with Spurlock and his camera crew. It took just $235 to get one guy to wolf down a jumbo-size jar of mustard. Or a mere $100 to empty a jar of molasses down a guy's pants. And just $300 to get a guy to eat an ice-cream cone made of vegetable shortening.
In past episodes, a Wall Street man stripped to his underwear and shoes for $700 dollars; a woman danced in public wearing only the "I Bet You Will" thong and her bra for $150 dollars, and one guy chewed a chunk of dog poop for $400 bucks. The frat house humor is packaged into five-minute, weekly episodes. The site had a million hits within its first five days online last June, and creator Morgan Spurlock says four television networks have expressed interest.Here's another:
Morgan: People love to watch this. It's the public forum, it's the idea of seeing something new and original and out there. And to see a regular person who's coming up and getting the chance to win $300 if he eats an entire jar of pig's feet and wash it down with a pint glass of corn oil, you know… it's…not something you might do, but it's something that somebody else might do, and something, you know what? I'd wanna watch that, too! I'd wanna watch that happen!
Morgan: She's already had…a 12 oz. can of condensed milk….a 16 oz can of chicken broth. And now it is her fourth shot of cod liver oil. // Here she goes…(makes a drumroll sound.)
For $160 bucks, she thinks it's worth it. For "I Bet You Will's" producers, she's living proof of their slogan, "Stupidity Pays."
Morgan: "YEAH!!! Four shots of cod liver oil. Want another one?"
First victim: a skinny-looking kid named Brian coming out of the Hibbs Building. "Hey, you want to make some money?" Spurlock asked.Then there's this gem, from yet another press account of the show:
In five minutes, Brian was ready to eat a worm burrito for $200. Spurlock called the bet "Bookworm."
"Okay. Here's how it works. You've got to eat the whole thing. You can't throw up or you won't get the money," Spurlock said.
"Does anybody have any ketchup?" Brian asked.
Then he started chomping happily on the burrito, worms dangling. As soon as Brian swallowed, his eyes bulged. He starting spewing worms everywhere.
The crowd howled in disappointment.
But Spurlock wasn't finished with his charge. "See those worms still wriggling around? I'll bet you $10 a worm if you eat them," Spurlock said.
And then, unbelievably, even though he'd just barfed worms on camera, Brian started popping worms in his mouth. He chewed and finished 13 worms in a minute.
Ask Spurlock if he ever feels guilty for getting people to embarrass themselves in public and he says: "No way. Everybody knows what they're getting into. Everybody has a good time. If somebody walks by and doesn't enjoy it, hey, it's a free country. Just keep on walking, man."That sounds like a good case for personal responsibility, doesn't it? Don't like the Hardee's Monster Thickburger? Just keep on walking. It's a free country.
Oddly enough, "I Bet You Will" website has disappeared from the Internet, including the Internet Archive.