What’s the Cameo App? We’ll Tell You.

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You heard your kids giggling about an app on their phone called Cameo. And though you didn’t want to start asking dumb questions and appear to be the uncool parent who hasn’t got a clue … you really don’t have a clue. Is Cameo problematic? Should you be making some parental decisions? What is this Cameo app thing, anyway?

Have no fear: We’re here for you.

Cameo sprang to life back in 2016, was numbered among the list of Time magazine’s 50 Most Genius Companies of 2018, and has become fairly popular as of late since there are millions of isolated people with little more to do than stare at their smartphones all day.

What is it? It’s an app that essentially plays on our American instinct to idolize and obsess over celebrity. It’s designed to connect we, the average masses, with a list of personalities, influencers and celebs who, for a fee, will craft a short video shout-out to you or a friend. You can then sigh over their greetings personally or share it with whoever you’d like.

How does it work? Well, after you sign up you can search through a list of thousands of musicians, actors, athletes, influencers, models, voice-over artists, drag queens and porn stars who are willing to sell you a small slice of their time. They determine their prices, which can range from a few bucks, to hundreds, to several thousands. When you book your vid—and perhaps give guidance about what you’d like them to say—the required funds in your bank account or on your credit card are set aside and then paid out when the contract is fulfilled.

OK, so who exactly can you get to throw out an “I pity the fool!” to your Grandma Patty? Well, there are many, many, many names to choose from. You can get a kiss blown from Loretta Swit of the old TV show MASH. Rapper Flavor Flav will don his latest clock for you. Aussie TV host Mike Goldman will do his best Joe Exotic impression. Aging action star Dolph Lundgren will flex a beefy bicep in your direction. And on and on the list goes.

Now if you’re saying … who? … in response to the above short list, well, that’s the rub. Most of the names here aren’t necessarily thought of as current A-listers. But for Uncle Ned, who just can’t get enough of Gilbert Gottfried, it can be a dreary-day high point. (Gottfried is currently going for $150 per video, in case you just sat up with more interest.)

The Cameo site also has a number of publicly posted vids from the various celebs, in case you’re interested and want some ideas about what they might deliver. But if you go and watch, you’ll also note that these famous-to-semi-famous people aren’t necessarily available based on their inspirational insights or vaunted deep thinking. Most are just signing in with a quick Hi or a string of profanities purposely aimed at somebody’s friend. (Gottfried is a star in that category, too.)

So, as a concerned parent that’s really all you need to be aware of. And unless your kids have access to your credit card, they won’t be able to bankrupt you over a video from a Kardashian either. Go forth and make your parental decisions accordingly.