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Telemarketers (2023)

Two former New Jersey telemarketers illuminate the telemarketing world.

The Story

Sam and Patrick, two former employees of a New Jersey call center, are going to illuminate all of the actors in the scheme (including dirty US Senators) in this three-part HBO docuseries. In between parties and roughhousing in the office, employees of Civic Development Group cold called people on behalf of charity groups. As then-telemarketer Patrick describes it, their job was to “chisel ’em outta money.” The guys began filming while at CDG, and they kept at it after being outed from CDG. Their mission: take down the industry from the inside since the media and state government can’t. If this show feels like a Danny McBride comedy, you aren’t wrong — McBride is listed as an executive producer. Twenty years later, they’re done collecting footage and commentary on this billion-dollar industry and tell us how really bad it all is.

Initial Thoughts

HBO has always prided itself as creating and presenting hard-hitting entertaining documentaries, and from the trailer, this series looks like it’s going to be illuminating and exciting. Patrick Pespas and Sam Lipman-Stern use footage they shot back in the early 2000s while working at a call center called Civic Development Group in New Jersey, as well as videos they’ve made over the past 20 years. Their work explains the backstory of CDG and the people who kept the place going, and exposes what’s fueling the telemarketing industry. Sam and Patrick aren’t perfect people, but they’ve been on a mission for a long time now to understand the hows and whys of telemarketing in the US, and they’ve uncovered some important details. Apparently US elected officials are involved. 8/14/2023 JW


The Deets

Rating: n/a
Concerns: language, drugs, mild violence 
Genre: Documentary, Drama
Original Language:
Release Date (streaming): 
Part 1: August 13, 2023 (max, HBO)
Part 2: August 20, 2023
 (max, HBO)
Part 3: August 27, 2023
 (max, HBO)

Main Cast

Patrick J. Pespas
Sam Lipman-Stern

Production & Crew

Production Co: Elara Pictures, ALL FACTS, Rough House Pictures
Director(s): Adam Bhala Lough, Sam Lipman-Stern
Producer(s): Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Dani Bernfeld, David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Danny McBride, Greg Stewart, Brandon James, Adam Bhala Lough, Sam Lipman-Stern; Claire Read
Editor: Christopher Passig

The Trailer

Shorts We’ve Made

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