Almost a year of quarantine has forced a lot of us to get super creative when it comes to connecting with our friends, family, and colleagues. A beer within arm’s length can turn a Zoom chat into a virtual happy hour. Loved ones can arrange a drive-by caravan in lieu of a potentially dangerous birthday party. Even Cameo has found its groove in all of this mess as more users flock to the app to commission random celebrities for star-studded messages that they can gift to others. Sure, we’re barely holding it together as we descend further and further into the dystopia we’ve only read about in YA novels, but getting a video from Fran Drescher congratulating us on making a few deadlines might lift our spirits just a little a bit.
Cameo is also a pretty nifty tool for breaking connections, which The New York Times explored in a recent deep dive into the burgeoning culture. Nobody knows that more than Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, who went viral in 2019 for a very measured, damn-near uplifting video of a breakup message he was hired to deliver to a presumably fictional sap named “Brayden.” (As NYT explains, the request was ultimately part of a far-reaching prank that had public figures like Anthony Scaramucci and Home Improvement’s Richard Karn making videos for similarly phony solicitations.) The two-and-a-half-minute message became one of Cameo’s most viral sensations and led to a flood of requests for McGrath from people searching for easy exits from their own relationships.
But while he may not be averse to delivering the occasionally tough word (like firing you from your job, for instance), McGrath wants little to do with dumping your unsuspecting significant other or initiating a divorce, and he certainly doesn’t want to become the enduring face of breakup Cameo. The reason’s pretty simple: It’s just not a good time, y’all. “In a million years, I would not accept that role,” McGrath told NYT. “I’m doing these Cameos for fun! I wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.” It’s both admirable and a shame, considering that he’s just so damn good delivering shitty news. Not many can render heartbreak with such tact and empathy, both of which were on full display in the popular clip. We get it, though. Becoming a professional breakup proxy seems like emotionally draining work. Congratulating a couple on becoming new parents for a modest $95 fee (or $600, if you’re Fran Drescher)?Now that sounds like way more fun.
When it’s over, that’s the time to buck up and break things off yourself or hire Matthew Perry, who seems way more keen on helping out in that department. Either way, leave McGrath out of it.
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