‘The Daily Show’ takes aim at reverse mortgages and…horses?

The sketch featured on the show this week was light on facts, but heavy on folksy parody

It doesn’t happen every day, but it appears that some comedians have turned their attention to reverse mortgages.

In October, reverse mortgages featured in ignoramus Peter Griffin’s animated sitcom “Family Guy” in a parody that was light on facts and substance. A very similar baton passed this week to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which currently features a rotating slate of guest hosts after former host Trevor Noah left the show at the end of 2022.

This week, comedian Michelle Wolf hosted the show which featured a sketch involving reverse mortgages, set up by a portrayal of the product category as predatory, and erroneously said that banks are the primary lenders of reverse mortgage products.

“American banks are happy to lend us money however we want, including one type of loan that you might have seen advertised on TV,” Wolf said as she introduced the segment.

The segment then transitioned to a narrator, ostensibly a news reporter, who described the loan product with very little factual accuracy.

“[A reverse mortgage] lets homeowners borrow money against the value of their home and only repay when they die or sell the home,” the unnamed and uncited narrator said. “Critics argue that reverse mortgages can quickly bury people under debt, forcing them out of their homes and their children out of inheritance. And some lenders have even been fined for deceiving customers. But that hasn’t stopped lenders from targeting elderly homeowners with ads featuring celebrities like Tom Selleck.”

There is some truth to the statements made.

Government regulators have fined certain reverse mortgage lenders for their advertising practices, and reverse mortgage educational materials from lenders and federal entities do typically explain that the loan may not be an ideal option for those borrowers seriously concerned about leaving their home to heirs after their death.

Lenders do not aim their ads or mailers to older homeowners for deceptive purposes as the full statement could be read to imply.

Government-backed reverse mortgages, known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, are legally available to homeowners 62 and older only. Lenders are simply unable to sell reverse mortgage products to anyone but older people.

The segment also neglected to mention the U.S. government’s sponsorship of the reverse mortgage program, a detail missed by a lot of product parodies.

After that, however, the segment morphed into a series of jokes about horses rather than anything having to do with reverse mortgages, outside of the general tone that Tom Selleck tends to speak with in his advertisements for American Advisors Group (AAG).

Wolf herself dressed as Tom Selleck. By then, most of the reverse mortgage relevance found in the segment had ended.

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