The "Legends" of Cameo
As I have documented here, I am more than a little bit obsessed with Cameo. It’s the service that allows the public to procure video messages from celebrities of varying degrees of fame and desperation in exchange for money. I am inherently fascinated by the lower rungs of fame, the seedy C and D list full of grasping opportunists trying to hold onto some level of celebrity in an ever shifting and twisting cultural landscape.
At Cameo, fame is nakedly and brazenly monetized. The service puts a very concrete price on fame, on celebrity, on cultural relevance. If you want to purchase the time, energy and prestige of Gary Busey, for example, you can do so for 325 dollars. If you want Flavor Flav, it will cost you two hundred and fifty dollars.
A lot of the categories on Cameo are relatively objective: Cal Ripken Jr. is a baseball player. Gilbert Gottfried is a comedian as well as an actor and a podcaster. Tony Hawk, I believe, is involved with skateboarding. As for the many Youtubers and social media influencers on Cameo, I guess they do whatever it is that Youtubers and social media influencers do, which I think has something to do with making silly faces or posing for sexy pictures, or some combination of the two.
Other categories are more subjective, as I discovered when I stumbled upon the category “Legends.”
You’ve got to think pretty damn highly of yourself if you’re going to check the “legends” box when filling out your Cameo profile. Only 72 celebrities have the audacity and healthy self-esteem to assert that they are, indeed, legendary, and consequently worth ponying up a little extra money for.
This invites the question: what exactly makes someone a legend? Or a great for that matter? I employ these phrases in my own writing liberally because when I’m not cursing fate or howling with rage at an insane and cruel world careening forever into oblivion I like to think I’m pretty positive guy.
So there are a lot of people and movies and albums and books out there I consider legendary, that I would rank among the all-time greats, and I’m not just talking about the legendary“Turtle Club” sequence in the great Dana Carvey’s landmark motion picture Master of Disguise.
To give Cameo credit, a lot of its celebrities are legit famous. I would go even further and say that many, if not most, of the celebrities listed as “legends” actually earn that title. Ice T? Hell yes that motherfucker is a legend. I’ve seen the man open for Insane Clown Posse at a strip mall in Canada. If you can do that and still seem like the coolest motherfucker in the planet that’s because you are just about the coolest motherfucker on the planet. Snoop Dogg? Oh fuck yeah. Legendary status for sure.
With a price of 420 dollars (wink, wink!), Snoop is undoubtedly an in-demand Cameo star. I imagine the legendary gangsta rapper spends at least part of every day delivering messages like, “Yo Hershel, your bubbe and zayde are proud as fuck at how you be reading your torah portion. You a real-ass man now, an OG of the Jewish faith so me and the rest of the Dogg Pound and all the Mendelbaums want to wish you a bomb-ass Bar Mitzvah.”
Ernie Hudson? Hell yeah. The dude was a fucking ghostbuster. Brett Favre? Athletes of his caliber are undoubtedly legends. They might be tools in real life, superstars like him and fellow Cameo legend Ryan Lochte have become legends due to their undeniably remarkable triumphs.
Not every legend on the legend page is a legend. Pauly Shore? Sit your ass down. True, you were in Encino Man, a movie a lot of people saw when they were kids but it takes a little more than that to be a legend. Jeff Ross, I don’t want to “roast” you too brutally here, but I’m not entirely convinced of your legendary status. As for Andy Milonakis’ “legendary” status, I can only assume it’s nothing more than an outrageous, Andy Milonakis-style goof.
To paraphrase the old ad campaign, what becomes a legend most is not feeling the need to declare yourself legendary on a service like Cameo. You could certainly argue that real legends don’t need the income or attention Cameo promises, although the site’s surprisingly impressive roster of heavy hitters, including the high-powered likes of Katie Couric and Caitlyn Jenner, suggests otherwise.
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