Nobody who’s followed the career of comedian, actor, author, TV host, and podcaster Chris Gethard will be surprised that he can make both laughs and money out of personal pain. Mining his own life for delicately, hilariously laugh-so-you-don’t-cry premises is part of Gethard’s métier, after all, as anybody who’s seen his truly transformative one-man show Career Suicide can attest. But what about other people’s tragicomic suffering? Well, there’s cash to be made there, too, especially in this new world of the internet celebrity gig economy.
Appearing on Monday’s Conan, Gethard (currently holding down the pandemic fort hosting his New Jersey Is The World podcast and prepping for the TV version of other podcast Beautiful/Anonymous) explained to Conan O’Brien how he’s been supplementing his lost touring income through celebrity-for-hire well-wishes service Cameo. Proudly noting that he gets about $28 for each brief video message (your own Chris Gethard internet missive costs $35, with Cameo skimming seven bucks), Gethard confessed that he had been thinking of getting out of the self-promoting side-hustle, if not for the truly terrible luck of one particular fan named Randy.
Sending out a (free) hello to the unlucky guy whose friends have been inundating Gethard with paid requests for some time now, the comic (and unlikely martial artist/rare soda enthusiast) told Conan that he just can’t pull the plug on his Cameo account while Randy keeps messing himself up all the time. The first flurry of get well messages came thanks to Randy’s friends paying Gethard to keep their pal’s spirits up while he battled COVID. And they worked, as Randy recovered—only to electrocute himself in a U-Haul trailer. “Cha-ching,” noted Gethard, regarding Randy’s friends’ go-to get-well tactic. Then Randy’s move to bone-chilling Michigan revealed a theretofore-undiagnosed bone ailment in his hands, so, once more, silver lining for Chris.
Even so, Gethard complained to Conan, “I don’t want any more of Randy’s pain money,” which Randy could probably avoid if he hadn’t just bought himself a boat. Gethard, pleading with his number one/least fortunate fan to just sink that thing in the nearest lake and forget about it, resignedly shrugged that Randy’s gonna do what Randy’s gonna do. “Look, if we’re living in the awful stages of late-game capitalism,” said Gethard, “And the guy who owns Amazon can make $13 billion a day, then I can make $35 when this guy Randy electrocutes his hands.” Still, be careful out there, Randy.