Cameo was already getting a bit out of control earlier in the pandemic, partly thanks to the cast of Tiger King, but now it’s leveled up to another realm. The popular video shoutout app, which typically allows users to pay for about a minute’s worth of video from a marginally famous celebrity of their choosing, has introduced Cameo Live. As its name suggests, the new feature allows you to hop on a 10-minute Zoom call with a familiar face and up to four friends or family members.
Not many celebrities on Cameo have signed up for the Zoom sessions so far, with just over 30 people appearing under the subcategory. These range from the solidly famous, people you definitely recognize — Tony Hawk, Jeremy Piven, Brett Favre — to any number of tiers below that, including former reality stars and Gilbert Gottfried. It’s easy to imagine this becoming a more standard feature, especially if they won’t be able to return to anything resembling normal work for a long time.
Although Cameos are among the easiest ways for a celebrity to score some quick cash — quite literally two minutes of labor in your car or living room for anywhere between $30 and $500 — Cameo Live is asking a bit more from everyone involved. In other words, some of these sessions are extremely expensive. While you can land 10 minutes with Drake Bell for $225, or the likes of Gottfried and Hawk for nearly three times that figure, they’re just scratching the surface. If you want Favre to re-enact Wrangler jeans commercials for 10 minutes over Zoom, it’ll cost you $5,000. Piven, remarkably, is charging $15,000 for a single Zoom session. (If you’re wondering, that amounts to a rate of $1,500/minute, $90,000/hour, or $25/second. Not bad!)
It goes without saying that these invite some new possibilities for discomfort. Cameo Live’s FAQ page tries to squash some of these in advance with the following disclaimer: “Note: Cameo Live Experiences are not for auditioning, pitching songs, ideas, or selling anything to the artist in any way.” So to prevent this from being some approximation of Shark Tank with Gilbert Gottfried or Sean Astin, Cameo’s trying to limit the thirstier end of the spectrum. That said, there’s nothing limiting endless line deliveries or asking ghoulish figures to address Mike Hunt and offer poo poo advice, so this could still be fun.
Facing a year and possibly more without large conventions and other meet-and-greet events, Cameo’s trying its best to gain a foothold in that space. At least with a venue like that, your hundreds of dollars could go toward a fleeting moment, a photo or two, and an autograph. Here, your blurry screenshots and the memories will have to do.