Drug company ads usually show people suffering from an ailment — and finding instant relief once they pop a pill. This video is no different, even if the results are only comic relief (for now).
This hilarious two-minute parody of a prescription drug commercial created by Sam Friedlander, a Hollywood writer/director, shows a man suffering the psychic wounds of Donald Trump‘s presidency, and how he found a “cure” for his Trump-induced anxiety thanks to modern medicine.
“Are you feeling depressed, hopeless, having trouble sleeping, struggling with frequent panic attacks, irritability, constant arguments with family, friends, or even friends of friends on Facebook,” the narrator asks.
“If any of these sound familiar,” she says, “you may be suffering from TIAD, or Trump-Induced Anxiety Disorder. Impeachara may help.”
The science behind the faux drug is simple: “Impeachara is a prescription medication that may alleviate many symptoms of TIAD. Impeachara works on your brain’s neurotransmitters and optical receptors, convincing you that Donald Trump has already been impeached.”
Once the man quickly shoves a few of the blue pills in his mouth, anxiety-producing headlines magically transform to: “Donald Trump Impeached in Unanimous Vote” and “Sources Say GOP Considering Constitutional Amendment To Give Obama Third Term.”
In its warning for side effects, the narrator says: “It should not be taken by those in favor of the current administration for it may cause thoughts of suicide or spontaneous bowel movements.”
Friedlander, an associate producer on the NBC pilot Redliners, tells PEOPLE he got the idea about a month ago, partly in response to waking up to news alerts about Trump.
“It’s a lot of stress and uncertainty over what’s happening, and I think there are a lot of people feeling that,”says Friedlander. “I thought it would be funny if there was a drug that would alleviate all these feelings.”
The spot, which first posted last Thursday, had nearly 6 million views across Facebook, YouTube and Occupy Democrats by midday Wednesday.
“The best thing is having other people identify with it and contact me and say, ‘It’s so nice to laugh, you made my day,'” says Friedlander, who directed 2015’s Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant and is now raising money for another feature film.
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The “commercial” was made in about six hours over two days, and stars Friedlander’s pal Jason Thompson, an actor.
Friedlander directed, shot and edited the video, and found Jenna Macari, who has narrated legitimate drug commercials, for the voiceover.
The budget: $6, for two cups of coffee.
“It was inspiring to do this,” he says. “I can make this for no money and it connects with people. It makes me feel like I should do this more.”
In reaction to requests from fans of the parody ad, Friedlander created the humorous website Impeachara.com, which sells fake bottles of prescription “Impeachara.” (Proceeds go to the Sierra Club and Earthjustice.)
While Friedlander doesn’t know if a Trump impeachment is probable, “I certainly think it’s possible,” he says.
In the meantime, he says making the parody video was cathartic.
“Making up the drug name and shooting the commercial like it was real was a form of wish fulfillment,” Friedlander says. “I’d certainly be taking [Impeachara] if it existed.
“That said, I don’t want to diminish that there’s real work to be done,” he continues, “and that ignorance and pretending it’s not real probably isn’t the best way to accomplish that.”