Cameo

How to make $1 million from home. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

My 10-year-old niece is a fan of The Brady Bunch. So, last year I went on Cameo, a website where you can hire famous and quasi-famous people to record personalized video messages, and got her one from Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady in the show.

It was a big hit. $99 well spent. He’s charging $140 now, so I guess it’s working out for him. Which leads to today’s question: What’s the perfect amount of famous?

If it were up to me, I’d say the sweet spot is the point where you’re:

  • famous enough to be able do what you want for a living, and maybe even make six or seven figures extra with a simple side hustle, and yet —

  • sufficiently anonymous that you can live your life without anyone bothering you.

By that standard, the person who has achieved the perfect level of fame has to be Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin the accountant on The Office from 2005 to 2013.

He’s a big guy, bald — and let’s be honest, he lucked out big-time to get cast in one of the most successful shows of the 21st century, which also happens to be the subscription magnet that kept Netflix (first) and Peacock (now) awash in rerun-craved, lockdown-infused, binge-watching subscribers.

Last year, Baumgartner made $1 million on Cameo. A million dollars! That’s pretty darn impressive, especially considering there are hundreds of B-list celebs on the site, and Cameo did a total of $100 million in revenue last year. So he walked off with 1 percent.

He charges $199 per video, so let’s do some quick math — that works out about 5,000 videos per year, and an average of roughly 100 per week; 20 per day if he’s doing them Monday through Friday.

I mean, it might get a little repetitive — but during a pandemic, when lots of other acting gigs have dried up, and you’re kind of typecast anyway, and you can just do them for a few hours from your home office with a couple of diplomas on the wall and plants in the background? Not bad.

Other top performers on the site last year, according to an interview that founder Steven Galanis did with Variety:

  • Brett Favre, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback ($400 per video)

  • Snoop Dogg (Currently inactive, but he was apparently charging $1,000 per video at one point)

  • Gilbert Gottfried ($150)

  • Chris Harrison of The Bachelor (also currently inactive; he just left his show in controversy this month, in fact)

  • Carole Baskin of Tiger King ($299)

Galanis has some philosophical ideas about breaking down the barriers between creators and fans, and people’s craving for connections — especially given how we’ve been artificially separated from each other for the past year.

But, my favorite part? Galanis is also on the site himself ($42). Maybe that’s the real perfect amount of famous: own the site, get a few extra bucks yourself, plus 25 percent of what everyone else makes.


7 other things worth your time

  • Tiger Woods was badly injured in a car crash. He was in “serious but stable condition with injuries to both legs,” according to police. (CNN)

  • Australian lawmakers agreed to change a law that would have required Facebook to pay news organizations for content, and Facebook said it will stop banning Australian news from its platform as a result. (ArsTechnica)

  • Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, says it’s launching a right-wing media platform targeting U.S. conservatives. It already has a left-leaning network, Al Jazeera America. (The Guardian)

  • Both Tesla and Bitcoin fell in value; Elon Musk’s net worth dropped $30 billion on Monday as a result. They all recovered a bit yesterday though. (Observer)

  • San Francisco has shelved its plans to rename schools temporarily, saying its focus will be on reopening them for now. (Sacramento Bee)

  • Americans think the perfect age is 36, according to a new poll. (StudyFinds)

  • The U.S. Postal Service revealed its plan to replace all of its delivery trucks by 2023. The newest of the current ones have been in service since at least 1994). The new design includes really big windshields, and an as-yet-undetermined number of electric vehicles. Oshkosh Defense of Wisconsin got the contract, starting at $482 million. (Car and Driver)


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