If you had to guess, who would you think from the cast of The Office makes the most money on Cameo? Steve Carrell, maybe? After all, he was the lead. John Krasinski or Jenna Fischer? Maybe Rainn Wilson with all of his insane Dwight-isms? No, not only is Brian Baumgartner — who plays dimwitted Kevin Malone on the series — the highest paid The Office alum on Cameo, last year he made more money than any celebrity on the platform.
At least that’s what Cameo CEO Steven Galanis told The Hollywood Reporter, revealing Brian Baumgartner made over $1 million from his work on the platform last year. Baumgartner earned his payday charging $195 per message and, as far as we know, did it without giving away the recipe to his signature character’s chili.
If you’re unfamiliar with Cameo, it’s a unique service through which anyone signed up for the site can request — for a fee — personalized messages from celebrities. You can request the messages from movie and TV stars like Brian Baumgartner, professional athletes, politicians, recording artists, social media influencers, and more. Want your dad to get a message from Larry Thomas — aka the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld — yelling “No soup for you?” Want to send a trademark “Woo!” from Ric Flair? Want Carole Baskin from Netflix’s Tiger King to cover 50 Cent for a birthday message? No, really: she’s done it.
Brian Baumgartner told THR he was asked to try Cameo several times before he finally caved and gave it a try. The credit for his success, Baumgartner says, has little to do with him. Some credit goes to the popularity of The Office, he admits, but mostly the actor says people use him to help make a connection. He gives the examples of getting requests for messages to help reunite estranged family members or to reconnect friends who haven’t talked in a while.
Brian Baumgartner isn’t the only alum from The Office using cameo either. You can request messages from Oscar Nunez, Leslie David Baker (Stanley), Melora Hardin (Jan), Andy Buckley (David Wallace), David Koechner (Todd Packer), Kate Flannery (Meredith), Robert R. Shafer (Bob Vance), and more.
While Brian Baumgartner is finding success in the wake of his time on The Office, the legacy of the series has suffered some hard hits lately. It was a little over a week ago that we found out the season 1 episode “Diversity Day” was being removed from Comedy Central’s platform for racially insensitive humor. Meanwhile in June, Ellie Kemper — who played the receptionist Erin in the second half of the series — got caught up in an ugly controversy when it was discovered that in 1999 she was the winner of the Veiled Prophet Ball, whose roots reach back to the Ku Klux Klan.
Along with making messages on Cameo, Brian Baumgartner has other irons in the fire. Earlier this year, he started the new weekly podcast The Office Deep Dive with Brian Baumgartner. Stars from the sitcom regularly join him to talk about their shared experience. Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Creed Bratton, and Steve Carell have all made it to the show. He’s also co-authored Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office with Ben Silverman, coming out Tuesday, October 19.