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Verizon's 'Can you hear me now?' actor gets his life back

Posted: , by Ken N.

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Verizon's 'Can you hear me now?' actor gets his life back
For the last nine years, "Verizon Wireless" has called to mind images of Paul Marcarelli, better known as the 'Can you hear me now?' guy. But now that Verizon is taking their advertising in a different direction, Marcarelli is finally free to talk about his life as one of the most iconic spokespeople in recent history.

Marcarelli's contract with Verizon has prevented him from doing interviews, or having an acting career outside of the Verizon ad campaigns and appearances. While he will continue to do the occasional spot for Verizon, he is no longer under such a restrictive contract. In fact, Marcarelli is producing his own independent film, The Green, starring Julia Ormond.

The Test Man looks back on his time with Verizon fondly, but there were many sacrifices he had to make. For one thing, he wasn't able to act in the theater, which was very important to him. But the personal issues were the most daunting. At a family funeral, while the body was being laid to rest, he heard someone in the crowd whisper, "Can you hear me now?".

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching recognition came from local kids outside his home in Guilford, Connecticut. They would drive by his home late at night, yelling the famous catchphrase. But soon, after they realized that Marcarelli was gay, the kids would yell homophobic epithets as well. Marcarelli called the police, but ended up dropping the report, for fear that the ensuing media drama would endanger his Verizon contract.

Looking back, Marcarelli imagines that he was being overly cautious with his contract, but he doesn't regret his time with Verizon: "Don’t feel bad for me, but I’m definitely glad that chapter is over. Most people my age are now trying to trade in their street cred for money, and I kind of made my money. I still want to make something of value".

source: The Atlantic via Wall Street Journal

37 Comments
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posted on 14 Apr 2011, 12:40 2

1. jogutier (Posts: 324; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


I was told in my Verizon training that he actually worked for Verizon's IT department. WTF they lied to me. haha

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 12:40 2

2. Rich (unregistered)


"I can hear you now!" :)

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 12:48 2

3. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)


interesting story... but don't expect me to cry for this guy- he was making BANK to say 5 words

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:29 4

16. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I don't think that's the point...you'll learn that personal happiness really isn't created by money at all. I mean, how would you feel if you were in his spot and you were at your mother's funeral when you overheard someone say your famous catchphrase? All you'd want to do is mourn and you're not able to. And calling him a gay slur? It's not always about money...

posted on 15 Apr 2011, 08:00

37. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)


so a couple bad things happen to this guy and we should feel sorry for him? People deal with crappy jobs and feel miserable for 50 hours a week to make a portion of what this guy made working 5 minutes on a commercial.
And that whole money doesn't but happiness was an invention by poor people to feel better about themselves

posted on 15 Apr 2011, 08:29

38. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I don't remember reading anywhere that he is asking for sympathy. In fact, I think most of your reactions is the reason why the story came out. We all have this idea that being a spokesperson is a cake walk and he simply talked about some of the bad parts of it. What's even funnier is that it is the journalist that kept asking him for an interview. It's not like him going to the publication saying, "I WANT TO TELL MY STORY!!!"

And...I don't know...ask any lottery winner if money bought them happiness...most cases it ruins their lives...

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 12:56 3

4. ATTCallCenter (unregistered)


Talk about the easiest job ever...show up for work..."Can you hear me now? Good!"...paycheck. Wish that was me instead of working at this bulls**t call center with ATT who demands more of us than what we were hired for. These idiots want us to sell their landline products when we are in the Upgrades department for cell phones. I work for a communist company that wants to take over cell phone communications. Death to the machine!!!

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:15 2

14. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


"Demands more of us than what we were hired for" are you serious? It's a job, you do what they tell you to do and you work hard because that's what you're being payed for. Seriously why do people think now that they can get a job and only do minimal or above minimal amount of work and have the right to complain? Lots of other people do harder jobs then you for less pay and they work longer hours so please go back to what I assume is a cubicle and sit down in your chair and think about how good you have it. If you don't like your job then go find another one.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:34 3

17. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


But if you want to put it in the same perspective, there are people in third world countries who work a whole hell of a lot harder than you do doing physical labor and get paid maybe a tenth of what you do sitting on your ass all day.

I don't think the Verizon guy is complaining about his job at all, he is telling the result of being known as the Verizon test guy...that's all. It even says, "The Test Man looks back on his time with Verizon fondly, but there were many sacrifices he had to make." Every job has it's ups and downs. He is no different...but at least he enjoyed his experiences overall.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 15:14

22. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


I don't think people can really appriate just how hard customer service really is until you have done it. I have done both back-breaking work and tech support for both T-Mobile and VZW and I can honestly say that call center work really sucks! Having to troubleshoot, diagnose, fix/replace, report, upsell, educate and save customers all within 6 mins is not as easy as some may want to believe. Especially when a lot of the customers are angry and just looking for someone to take it out on. At my last call center, we were required to take a minimum of 35 calls per day which is not easy when someone has a Blackberry that needs a master reset and they haven't backed up their device. These carriers are squeezing their front line (The reps and techs) so hard that it makes the job almost impossible unless you are willing to cut corners. There is no way to give the carrier and the customer what they want and that is where the stress comes in at. And if you don't think working at a call center is stressful, try working at one.

As for the test man. He was not just the face of VZW, but he was also an employee, an engineer. So no, he didn't have such an easy job either.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 15:37

25. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Not really sure about the engineer part, but like someone said earlier, that's what we were told.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 15:54

26. Super Android Evo (unregistered)


Everything you said about a call center job is true. In 2001 I worked at one of the Verizon Wireless call centers. It is a stressful job. But to imply that you know what this guy did is kinda out there. You don't know what his cotract was about, not if he is an engineer or anything else. Now if he is your firend & you know him personally then that is another story.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 16:19

28. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


That's my point. We don't know anything about him, thats why I think this is an interesting article. All we really know about him is his catch phrase and the Buddy Holly glasses. The nightly news force feeds us all kinds of useless deal about Snooki and Lindsy Lohan, who are both about as deep as a kiddy pool. But this guy may actually have something of substance to say. Id like to hear more.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 16:46 1

29. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I don't think anyone is disputing that customer service is hard work. But you can't say that this guy has it hard and that customer service is real work when there are people who work in sweat shops or work fields who would turn around and say a customer service jobs is cake compared to what they do for pennies. Everyone's job has its perks and it's faults...but you can't just look at this guy and say, oh you make bank so you have no right to complain about your life...which isn't what he was doing in the first place

and end run-on sentence...

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 17:19

30. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


I'm not saying that people who work in sweat shops and fields don't have hard jobs, of course they do. But tell the customer service agent who had a stroke at my call center, that their job is cake. Just because a person sits at a desk doesn't mean their job is any less difficult or important than anyone else's. But I can appreciate the more physical jobs while some people have no respect for people in customer service. I just think it's a shame that not many people appreciate what we do.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 18:38 2

31. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Alrighty dude...read my first sentence...no one is disputing that customer service is hardwork... everything else I wrote refers back to what ATTCallCenter said in their original post. Don't compare because someone always has it worse off than you...

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 21:39

36. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


I never compared anything. My point is the guy is letting off a little steam about his job and I could relate. That's all. You can always find someone who has it worse off than you, youre preaching to the choir on this one. In fact, I agree more with you than ATTCallCenter. All I'm saying is the story is interesting and I'd like to hear more. But there's no reason to judge who has the toughest job whether its customer service, spokes person, drill Sargent, Wendy's fry cooker, or party clown.

posted on 20 Apr 2011, 18:17

39. Vieve (unregistered)


Here is the definition of communism from dictionary dot com:

1. a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
2. ( often initial capital letter ) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

AT&T is capitalist, not communist. Unless I'm mistaken, AT&T doesn't want to be controlled by the government or the community as a whole. I'm just saying.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 13:22

5. applesauce (unregistered)


[steve jobs looks down with a satisfied look] "Yes, I CAN hear you...... now"

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 13:40

6. remixfa (Posts: 14178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


he sacrificed parts of his life to make oodles of money. Sounds like the american dream. He had a 9 year major commercial acting carreer, thats more than most ever get.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 13:45 1

7. Super Android Evo (unregistered)


And why do we care about him? Does phonearena.com need something to write about? I thought something serious happened to him, by what the title of this post says. When I log on to this site, I am not interested in anything that has nothing to do with the mobile industry. That is why I go on this site to begin with. If I want news on what indie films are being made by who ever, I will go to another site. Wow I think this is bogus! Thanks but no thanks. I really don't care about what contract he signed, how he got his life back together, or that he wants to do something meaningful. He made his choice and signed the contract so what is news worthy about that? This post is a waste of time. "Can you hear me now!" GOOD!

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:00 5

9. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)


you just spent twice the time it took to read that to complain about it? would you like some cheese with that whine?

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:08 2

12. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)


why waste your time commenting? if your not interested in something that has nothing to do with the mobile industry (which it does) as you say, why bother reading? are you having a bad day?

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:59 1

20. remixfa (Posts: 14178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


wow.. and here i thought the most recognizable face in the mobile industry... had something to do with the mobile industry.

glad your rant cleared that up. oi

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 15:15 1

23. Super Android Evo (unregistered)


Are you guys kidding me? This has something to do with the wireless industry? It sounds like a plug to me. It’s like an ad for his indie movie. It took me less time to write that comment then to read the post. I just felt like I was given something totally different than the title implies. Why should I feel bad or care about what he did with his life. He is a big boy and made his choice. No one forced him to sign the contract.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 13:54 1

8. CantHear (unregistered)


Imagine being the guy on the other side of the line, having to answer him every time he asks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC8kV8LyMCQ

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:03 3

10. scratch balls (unregistered)


steve jobs sucks. iphone sucks. apple sucks. Can you fanboys hear me now, Android The worlds' #1 OS!!!!

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:56 1

18. derp (unregistered)


wrong, try again.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:05 2

11. scratch balls (unregistered)


steve jobby jobs look on my nuts and says, ummmm, android beat us and is the worlds' #1 OS!!!

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:10 5

13. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)


i agree android is better than ios.... but how is that relevent? take your meds...

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:56

19. derp (unregistered)


strike two. one more try.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:17 1

15. justworkinghere (unregistered)


I don't want to hear about his "sacrifices" or tribulations while banking an absolutely ENORMOUS amount of money doing incredibly little. Sure he couldn't act, nor prance across the stage, but he did make MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dollars. Not too terribly many active actors or writers ever make that sort of money.

I have little to no sympathy that make their money as spokesmen for companies or public figures; they get paid good money to give up their anonymity. On the other hand, I give him mad props for finding a way into such an easy and lucrative position. Good on him for making it big, just don't cry about because you are well known.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 15:00

21. remixfa (Posts: 14178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


lol.. i doubt he made "millions apon millions", but its probably well into the 6 figures and maybe very low 7s. nothing to sneeze about though.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 16:17

27. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


Damn. How much do you make then??

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 15:15 2

24. downphoenix (Posts: 2416; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


boohoo to this guy, he made millions doing the ads. If his "personal life" has been ruined by it, fouls on him, he signed the contract, go cry to your army of maids and asssitants your money bought you.

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 20:59

33. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3042; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


I am not insulting this guy at all but I do agree with some of the above statements. Verizon paid him millions of dollars for doing nothing at all. He would just show up, get his make up and outfit on and read what the card says. And it basically just said "Do you hear me now?". Let me tell you something. I work for customer service as well, I am constantly getting yelled at, called names and belittled. Each year, my company makes us do more and more work. Answer more and more calls about more and more different systems. We make barely anything at all. So yes in the end, I would EASILY trade places with him any day. He got a paycheck from Verizon for doing 15-30 second ads like once a month. Making way more money than most of us will ever make in 10 years or more.

Trust me if this guy is smart, he saved up his money and will probably be able to retire while the rest of us are forced to work 8-10 hours a day for the rest of our lives just making enough to pay the bills. So no. I don't feel sorry for this guy, I envy him.

posted on 22 Aug 2011, 19:51

40. rtyecript (unregistered)


I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

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