The fickle and fleeting nature of celebrity can put a lot of pressure on stars to capitalize on their fame as hard and fast as possible. One common way for celebrities to pad their incomes is by putting a price on public appearances. Businesses will pay top dollar to attract big-name celebrities to their launch parties or other events in an attempt to attract the hordes of fans and media that inevitably trail the likes of Kim Kardashian or Tiger Woods. Many event planners would love to add hype and allure to their events by booking A-list celebs to make an appearance, but few event-budgets have room for the $100,000-plus appearance fees of Madonna or Donald Trump. Fortunately, through the advent of reality television and the now acceptable substitute of natural talent for manufactured mediocrity, our society has created a niche demographic known as "The D-list celebrity." These borderline celebs can add similar buzz and appeal to an event, but at a fraction of the cost. So before you spend thousands of dollars on decorations, entertainment and travel for your next big party, consider the value you'd add by purchasing an appearance from a well known, yet modestly priced, entertainer or athlete. (For other appearance fees, read Outrageous Celebrity Appearance Fees.)
A stag party is an engaged man's swan song to frivolity and excess. That's why so many stags involve trips to Sin City, renting limos, evenings at strip clubs and creative ways to mass-consume alcohol. It's a guy's day (week) to live like a rap star. But are groomsmen doing everything they can to throw the baddest, blingingest stag parties possible? Epic moments aren't created with only a hummer-limo, fedoras and a bottle of Cristal. Make it memorable and raise the $6,500 appearance fee of rap-video vixen and Maxim model, Melyssa Ford. Now that your gang has some sex appeal, all you need is some talent. You probably guessed that your entourage can't afford P. Diddy's $80,000 appearance fee. But if you're determined to make it rain, you'll find the $5,000 needed to get rap stars Rich Boy or Montel Jordan to chill with your crew.
The Big Game
When a group of friends has to decide where to watch the Super Bowl, World Series or other major sports events, the best TV usually wins. You may never be able to afford your friend's HDTV, 3-D projector, but there's still a surefire way to make sure everyone is watching the big game at your place. For $5,000 to $10,000, you can hire former NFL lineman, William "The Refrigerator" Perry to grace (i.e. suffocate) your La-Z-Boy at the next Super Bowl, and let your friends drool as you talk strategy with one of the most popular Chicago Bears of all time. For the same fee range, you could purchase the opportunity to find out firsthand what it's like to play playoff baseball from ex-Yankee pitcher Jim Abbott. If you're a hockey fan, the options are staggering. Numerous NHL Hall-of-Famers have appearance fees in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, such as Marcel Dionne, Grant Fuhr and Mike Bossy. (For more on what Super Bowl means to the economy, read The Super Bowl Economy.)
The Company Christmas Party
Are you in charge of planning the office Christmas party this year? Don't take chances by hiring amateur performers to entertain your coworkers. Guarantee this year's party is memorable for more than the people who drank too much – hire a veteran celebrity act who knows how to please a crowd. For example, millions of people adore the contestants of the singing talent show, American Idol, and for $5,000 to $10,000 you can hire season seven's sixth-place finisher, Carly Smithson and her band – We Are The Fallen. Imagine, a Christmas carol karaoke contest, with an actual karaoke champion in attendance (well, karaoke top-10 challenger anyways).
One factor to consider when booking a celebrity appearance is the rider. Riders are a list of must-haves that you need to deliver – in addition to the appearance fee - in order for a particular celebrity to add your event to his or her calendar. Many of the previously mentioned celebrities have unspecified requirements that could push their asking price to truly unreasonable sums. Some confirmed examples of celebrity riders are proof of how difficult it can be to meet the unique needs of societies' modern-day luminaries:
- Jay-Z: A fleet of vehicles for transportation of his entourage, including a Maybach sports car, an SUV, a 15-passenger van, as well as a cargo van with "NO SEATS" to accommodate Jay-Z's luggage.
- Mariah Carey: One special attendant dedicated to disposing of Mariah's gum.
- DMX: Three boxes of condoms and one gallon of Hennessy cognac. We won't ask.
- Cher: A dedicated "wig room" within her dressing area.
- Celine Dion: A 20-to-24-member, mixed race, children's choir.
The Bottom Line
Chances are, Melyssa Ford isn't anxious to spend her night with a bunch of rowdy guys in a stag party, and William Perry would likely turn down the opportunity to spend Super Bowl Sunday in your living room. Carly Smithson probably wouldn't come to your Christmas party, but if she did, you'd likely have the best Christmas ever, making each successive Christmas an abject disappointment for everyone involved. But if you're willing to take a chance on creating a truly memorable party, it wouldn't hurt to ask for some superstar assistance. If you have the money, these fringe-celebrities just might have the time. (For some celebrities you might want to leave off the list, check out When Celebrity Endorsements Don't Work.)