Kentucky man posed as a dead body on TikTok for 321 days. Now he's going to be on 'CSI' – USA TODAY

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky native Josh Nalley has zero acting experience but he’s so natural at playing “dead,” he’s been cast to play a dead man on an upcoming episode of the popular CBS series “CSI: Vegas“.
“I got an email from CBS that said they’d seen me on TikTok and wanted to offer me the part,” Nalley told the Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network. “At first I didn’t believe it, but they flew me out to California. It turned out that Mario Van Peebles was the director for that episode so besides getting cast in the show, I also got to meet him, which was great.”
Nalley, who hails from Elizabethtown, about 45 miles south of Louisville, was asked to the set of “CSI” after show producers in Los Angeles spotted his macabre, yet hilarious series of TikToks.
For the past year, the 42-year-old restaurant manager has campaigned for the role of an “un-alive person” on a “movie or television show” by creating daily posts at various locations around the Bluegrass State.
Although the locations are always different, his postures seldom vary.
Most often he’s facedown, in snow, dirt, grass, or rocks on the bank of a river, someone’s front lawn, or a local park. Occasionally Nalley changes up his “dead guy” pose and slumps against a crumbling brick wall or reclines head first at the foot of a set of stairs.
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Check out his living_dead_ josh TikTok page and you’ll find more than 350 entries with Nalley in hundreds of lifeless scenes, such as lying prone on the banks of the Salt River, splayed out under the Corvette Museum sign in Bowling Green or prostrate on the dining room floor while the family enjoys the Thanksgiving meal.
In his post from Day 91, Nalley is facedown next to a statue in Bernheim Forest. Day 295 finds him resting in peace at the foot of a graffiti-covered wall at the Otter Creek Park Pavillion. He appears dead as a doornail in snow-covered grass in his post from Day 101.
“I don’t like speaking on camera, but I can lie there and act like I am dead pretty easily,” he laughed. “Having done more than 300 of these posts, I have progressed and gotten better. At first, you could see me breathing, or the fake blood looked really bad. I have gotten rid of using the blood and gotten better at holding my breath.”
It’s the animals that sometimes trip him up. He often gets friends to help make the videos, which once included a few unruly goats and there are many videos that include his dogs.
“I have figured out that it’s best to have some kind of movement in the videos so it doesn’t look like a still photograph,” he said. “One of my dogs still seems curious about what I am up to. The other one just kind of wanders by and then wanders off.”
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When he traveled to California for his debut on “CSI: Vegas,” CBS producers took Nalley to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pose for one of his now famous “un-alive” videos.
“They wanted me to pose next to [CSI legend] Marg Helgenberger‘s star and had asked me to bring a towel to lay on because that sidewalk is really dirty, but I forgot,” he said. “So rather than laying facedown I kind of turned over on my side and played dead. The thing was the sidewalk was really, really hot.”
For his television debut, Nalley spent two hours in makeup and then lay very still on a gurney for the three or four takes it took to get the scene just right.
“We had to redo one take because I had my phone in my pocket and forgot to turn it off,” he said. “Of course, it was a telemarketer calling. That was kind of embarrassing.”
Although Nalley doesn’t plan on quitting his day job, he also doesn’t plan to give up the ghost on this TikTok campaign to play “un-alive” parts in the future. He’s actually received several offers to “play dead” including in a music video and there have been a few low-budget movies that have also reached out.
For now, Nalley is weighing his options while continuing to produce TikTok videos, most of which promote his upcoming appearance on CSI: Vegas, which will air Nov. 3 at 10 EDT/PDT on CBS.
“I originally got this idea after seeing a woman on TikTok posting about hot sauce and then she got offers from a bunch of hot sauce companies,” Nalley said.” I thought if I was creative enough playing an un-alive person, I could get the attention of a television show or a movie production company, and how about that, it worked.”
You can check out Nalley’s Tik Tok campaign and follow his burgeoning career at


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