In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday, John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Toy Story), the actor who played mailman Cliff Calvin on the iconic NBC sitcom Cheers, offered advice on how to best support the United States Postal Service. The Hollywood Reporter chronicled the unique journey that brought this public service announcement to Twitter.
An important message from none other than Cliff Clavin (@dratzenberger) himself, asking us all to help keep @usps in business!! (thank you for your service, Mr. Ratzenberger) #SaveUSPS #USPS pic.twitter.com/bbS43gNcIP
— Tim Kasher (@timkasher) August 16, 2020
The video in question was not posted by Ratzenberger himself, but rather Tim Kasher, an indie musician and vocalist from the bands Cursive and The Good Life. Kasher utilized the website Cameo, a service where fans can pay for personalized messages from a wide range of celebrities, to enlist Ratzenberger for this public service announcement. In a follow-up tweet, Kasher revealed that he “spent a lot on that Cameo” and that he aimed to get his “money’s worth.”
Spent a lot on that Cameo, gotta get my money’s worth @usps haaaaa
— Tim Kasher (@timkasher) August 17, 2020
Though the 73-year-old Cheers actor was paid through Cameo to dispense advice on the USPS, his message was in-line with his frequent outspoken support for the USPS on social media, even before recent federal attempts to dismantle the service began to unfold. On April 14, Ratzenberger simply nudged “it appears the @USPS could use a little help” (Twitter). Taking his job as a former television mailman seriously, Ratzenberger tweeted support for postal workers a few days later, stating “thank you to the men and women of the @usps for your continued service during these uncertain times.” In this later tweet, Ratzenberger included the hashtag #Postalworld along with a clip from season 7 of Cheers in which Cliff Calvin imagines Postal World, a theme park centered on postal heroes.
— John Ratzenberger (@Dratzenberger) April 19, 2020
The United States Postal Service has served as a recent political battleground, as disruptions in service may stand to impact the 2020 presidential election. According to the Associated Press, the House of Representatives is set to return early from summer recess to specifically address legislation regarding the postal service. Despite the fact the USPS has become a highly-contested partisan issue, Rolling Stone comments that Ratzenberger’s public service announcement “doesn’t get into the political weeds”.
Ratzenberger left political discourse out of his strategy to protect the United States Postal Service, simply referring to the situation as “a bit of a pickle” (Twitter). In his Kasher-sponsored Cameo, Ratzenberger recommends that people “do [their] Christmas shopping early at the Post Office store”. Specifically, Ratzenberger implores viewers to take the money they would have spent on a gift, his example being a hat for their Aunt Tilly, and instead purchase stamps. Ratzenberger conjectures that stamps serve as a practical gift that can be used time and time again. The Rolling Stone article covering the story elaborates on Ratzenberger’s point about the USPS store, remarking that, in addition to stamps, the store offers “books, puzzles and even mail carrier costumes for children and dogs.”
Cameo has proven a popular method to raise public awareness on various topics, political or otherwise. On August 2, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver ran a feature story centered on United States history through the lens of civil rights and black voices. The story was footnoted with a Cameo from actor Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy, Three Men and a Baby) encouraging Oliver’s audience to research specific civil rights moments and leaders not covered in the piece.
And now — for reasons that we promise make sense in the context of the full episode — here is Steve Guttenberg with a list of things to Google. pic.twitter.com/FSmZybqsY8
— Last Week Tonight (@LastWeekTonight) August 4, 2020
If the USPS continues its run in the political spotlight, perhaps Kasher will enlist the help of Seinfeld mail carrier Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, Jurassic Park) or another iconic television personality to continue drumming up support for the USPS. In the meantime, Ratzenberger’s Cliff Calvin can be found cheerfully delivering mail on Hulu and Peacock, where Cheers is available to stream in its entirety.