Courier Journal helps Kentucky TikTok 'dead guy' reach global fame – Courier Journal

Josh Nalley’s life was sailing along pretty smoothly until the Courier Journal came knocking at his door.
A restaurant manager who resides in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Nalley caught our attention when we noticed his hilarious TikTok campaign. For close to a year, Nalley has posed as a “dead guy” in various locations around the Bluegrass State. His hope was to catch the attention of a national television show or feature film and get cast as a corpse.
For 321 days, he posted a new video on his TikTok feed living_dead_josh. Until recently, very few of his friends, family or co-workers knew about his TikTok campaign. And then it happened.
Turns out, his low-key mission paid off in a big way.
The Courier Journal discovered Nalley’s lifeless body on TikTok as he shared his good news; CBS Studios had seen his TikTok campaign and cast him as “a dead guy” in an upcoming episode of “CSI: Vegas.”
More on Josh Nalley:A Kentucky man posed as a dead body on TikTok for 321 days. Now he’s going to be on CSI
Over the summer, he’d been flown to Los Angeles, California, given the star treatment and will appear in the “CSI: Vegas” episode airing Thursday, Nov. 4 at 10 p.m. on CBS.
Before his big “dead guy” debut this week on CBS, Nalley’s accomplishment was something we knew we had to share and that’s when the 42-year-old’s fame exploded. The Courier Journal first introduced Nalley to the world on Oct. 24. and immediately his phone was flooded with requests for interviews from around the world.
“TikToker Earns Role of a Lifetime: Playing Dead” was the headline in The New York Times. People Magazine announced, “Kentucky Man Who Plays Dead on TikTok Lands Gig as a Corpse on ‘CSI: Vegas’
“Since your story ran, it’s been crazy and amazing and I love it,” Nalley told the Courier Journal. “The story got picked up by USA Today, New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, People, Daily Mail, Jimmy Kimmel Live has contacted me and the Drew Barrymore Show. I have been on radio interviews from Australia and New Zealand and I was listening to the Bob and Tom Show and they started talking about the story so I called them up and said ‘hey that’s me’ so now I am getting interviewed for that show.”
That’s a lot of media attention.
“I kind of need an assistant to keep track of all the requests,” he said. “I can’t even remember who all I have talked to, there have been so many.”
We found Nalley sitting in his car doing a phone interview last Friday when we met up at the Big Four Bridge at Louisville’s Waterfront Park. We were there to learn from the best and master the technique for playing the perfect “un-alive” person and be part of his now-viral TikTok feed.
Nalley had not made one of his famous TikToks from the downtown Louisville bridge overlooking the Ohio River so it was a chance to add to his collection which is nearing 375 posts. I have done a little acting but never have I ever played a dead person so the TikTok star gave me a few last-minute pointers as we knelt on the pavement and got into position.
“The key is not breathing, not moving, and not being afraid to lay down on a dirty sidewalk,” Nalley said maneuvering his body into a prone position.
The tips seemed easy enough, but I’ll admit it took me a couple of tries to accomplish our task without ruining the shot by gasping for breath.
Which proved Nalley is the true master of “playing dead” and the well-deserved recipient of all his newfound international fame. It just took a quirky dream, a creative TikTok campaign, and a helpful nudge from the Courier Journal.
“It’s all mind-blowing,” he said. “I sure didn’t expect it to go global. I am having a blast with all this.”
Don’t miss Josh Nalley’s “un-alive” debut on CBS’s “CSI: Vegas,” at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4.
Reach Features reporter Kirby Adams at


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