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  • Cameo’s rankings of its most successful celebrities come straight out of our sitcom nightmares – The A.V. Club

 September 3

by Carolina

Photo credits: Left: Brian Baumgartner (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF), Center: Andy Dick (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images), Right: Larry Thomas (Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for hulu)

Photo credits: Left: Brian Baumgartner (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF), Center: Andy Dick (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images), Right: Larry Thomas (Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for hulu)

There’s something inherently fascinating about the business of Cameo, the web site that allows you to purchase a $30 message in which American Idol star William Hung will say the name and birthdate of a person you know, as though this was a normal thing for technology to allow to happen. The business model itself is obviously solid, with the company clearing 25 percent of the price of every video it sells. But the hypnotic aspect of scrolling through the company’s listings comes largely from the instinctive knowledge that sets in once you’ve been looking at it for a minute, i.e., whether any given famous you’re looking at has over- or under-estimated their worth. Is two minutes of lawncare specialist Rudy Giuliani’s time worth $400? Rudy, a man who has made an artform out of wrongness, certainly thinks so. Is $200 a good price for a message from the Cincinnati Zoo’s Fiona The Hippo? Our hearts give a surprising, but impassioned, “Yes.”

The only data we don’t have while making these extremely accurate, albeit kneejerk, assessments, is who’s actually doing the best job at pricing themselves for this bizarre meat market of self-worth—until now. This is per USA Today, which secured Cameo’s list of the most successful (that is, most videos ordered and produced) performers of 2020, and it’s…certainly a list of famous or somewhat famous people who seem to know exactly what people will pay for a little bit of their attention. Like, for instance, top-ranker Ed “Big Ed” Brown, who we all know from *googles frantically* 90-Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days? Wait, that can’t be right, can it? This random reality show guy is the top performer on Cameo?

But it can: Brown tops the list, possibly because he’s grasped that $70 is exactly the right price point for a guy best known for reality show memes. (It’s worth noting that the 2020 Cameo numbers predate accusations of sexual assault and harassment made against Brown, who’s still active on the service.) Coming in second, we’ve got Josh Sussman from Wizards Of Waverly Place and Glee, offering nostalgia for the budget-minded at $50. And in third, it’s The Office’s Brian Baumgartner, who has apparently accurately gauged that people will pay a whopping $250 to have their old pal Kevin tell their buddies happy birthday. Baumgartner’s old co-star Kate “Meredith” Flannery is also on the list, although she comes in at (a still very respectable) 18th place, and a slightly more modest $190. (And, again, that bizarre mental math kicks in, because our gut tells us that Kevin is, in fact, about $60 more interesting than Meredith. It’s so weird!)

The list, as a whole, is very heavy on sitcom “Hey, it’s that person”s, actually, including Andy Dick, and iCarly’s Ryan Ochoa, both of whom appear in the bottom half. All told, it’s a fascinating glimpse of the Cameo ecosystem, where a guy like Larry “The Soup Nazi” Thomas can make an extremely comfortable living at 80 bucks per “No soup for you,” followed shortly by the budget-priced Hung at No. 5, who’s just ahead of Everybody Loves Raymond stalwart Fred Stoller. It’s all a little like getting a glimpse of some strange alternate universe meritocracy of fame, where celebrities are evaluated solely on the access they allow to regular schlubs, and how well they’ve priced said access. (That being said, we’ll brook no arguments that No. 7, Whose Line Is It Anyway’s Colin Mochrie, isn’t worth every penny of the $150 he’s charging.)

Here’s the full list:

  1. Ed Brown, aka “Big Ed” (90 Day franchise), $69
  2. Josh Sussman (Glee, Wizards of Waverly Place), $50
  3. Brian Baumgartner (The Office), $195
  4. Larry Thomas (Seinfeld), $80
  5. William Hung (American Idol), $30
  6. Fred Stoller (Handy MannyEverybody Loves Raymond), $30
  7. Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), $150
  8. Ray Abruzzo (The Sopranos, The Practice), $99
  9. Sandra Diaz Twine (Survivor), $60
  10. Lee Rosbach aka Captain Lee (Below Deck), $250
  11. Michael Rappaport (Atypical), $199
  12. Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), $69
  13. Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), $159
  14. James Marsters (Runaways, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), $50
  15. Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray, Smash), $40
  16. TJ Lavin (The Challenge), $275
  17. Luann De Lesseps (The Real Housewives of New York City), $125
  18. Kate Flannery (The Office), $190
  19. Andy Dick (NewsRadio), $99
  20. Ryan Ochoa (iCarly), $99

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Original posted at www.avclub.com

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