If there has been any benefit to the lockdown that other parts of the country long since put behind them but Massachusetts has decided needs to last until the universe stops expanding and collapses in on itself, it's been the new and ever more clever methods for communicating that have emerged. I've done video happy hours with friends. I co-watched "Lethal Weapon" on Netflix Party with friends while we live-chatted. I'm scheduled to do my fifth virtual trivia next week, complete with break out rooms the questions on slides. Even the hosts elderly parents were on with us. It's been a perfect example of advanced technology filling the need for human interaction.
And nowhere is it more important that the need be filled than by keeping us in communication with our celebrity heroes. There's only so much satisfaction that can be gleaned form worshiping them from afar. Cameo filled that void by giving us the means to receive awkward, low-quality videos of some of them, wishing you a Happy Birthday, disinterestedly reading some inside joke you sent to your buddy or repeating a catch phrase they made famous while staying in character. For example, a friend of mine got one for a guy we know done by Zordon from the Power Rangers. A perfect example of the marketplace figuring out a way to give the consumer what it wants.
And now, Cameo will actually allow you to interact with the glitterati via Zoom. For instance, just ranking my own heroes on here, I could talk to Rudy/Samwise Gamgee himself, Sean Astin. Gilbert Gottfried, who checked a box on my bucket list when I met him at the Friar's Club four years ago and hosts my favorite non-Barstool podcast. And Bruins star known only by his official title of Weymouth's Own Charlie Coyle (tm Weymouth's Own Charlie Coyle, all rights reserved). Plus "Survivor" legends like Boston Rob and Ethan Zohn. Just note that the price listed on that page is just for the regular Cameo and the Zoom calls are much, much higher.
But according to AV Club, there is one superstar who has set his rate at a kingly price:
It sounds miserable enough that we can’t really blame Jeremy Piven, the mercury-filled Entourage actor, for valuing that 10 minutes at an alarming rate of $15,000. Lance Bass is only charging $1,250, for fuck’s sake. ... Thinking it might be a typo, we reached out to Cameo and were told that, yes, that is absolutely Piven’s rate. ...
Anyways, we’re sure the very rich have many questions for Mr. Piven, including, “Will you please say ‘Let’s hug it out, bitch’?” and “Will you say ‘Let’s hug it out, bitch’ but instead of ‘bitch’ say my wife’s name? Haha.”
Okay, maybe $15,000 isn’t enough.
And you know what? I totally get it. Piven will get ridiculed for this, like he thinks he's the biggest star in the world and worth 1,500 bucks a minute. But not here. Not by me. I 100% understand his reasoning.
This is the classic thing you do when someone offers you an opportunity that has a more than likely chance of sucking bigly. You say "yes," but at a ridiculous price. So they'll either turn you down or meet your terms. Either way you win. That's what I do whenever someone offers me a comedy gig that sounds terrible, like a private birthday party or even where there'll be old people and kids and no one is there to hear stand up. That way, even if end up eating my own dick on stage, at least it'll have been worth the pain and suffering.
But multiply that by a factor of million, and that's what life must be like for Jeremy Piven. He's created one of the most iconic characters of his generation. Everywhere he goes he's got to be running into "Entourage" bros demanding he do Ari Gold lines for them. Not to mention he was Pritchard in "Old School," so guys want to call him "Cheese" and say "Didn't we lock you in a dumpster one time?" And don't get me started on all his roles in all the John Cusack movies, from "One Crazy Summer" to "Say Anything" to "Grosse Pointe Blank." Do you have any idea how badly I'd want to do the whole scene from outside the Gas & Sip if I ever meet the man?
I have to imagine that anyone willing to pay thousands to have 10 minutes of Jeremy Piven's time all to themselves would be an insufferable, socially awkward weirdo and that time would stand still waiting for those 600 seconds to be over. I agree with AV Club. He's not charging enough.