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Man Plays Dead for 321 days, Lands Role on CSI

One mans journey from playing dead to landing a role on daytime television.

Josh Nalley. Credit: TikTok/@living_dead_josh

Josh Nalley’s dream in life was to die, on TV, of course.

Killing in the role

Josh Nalley from Kentucky has gone viral after his nearly yearlong corpse crusade reached it’s goal. Josh Nalley posted a video to TikTok every day for 321 days in a row of him playing dead, with the goal of playing a corpse on CSI. After 321 straight days of playing possum, Nalley’s wish was granted. CSI: Vegas got in touch with the faux cadaver, and provided him a role as a dead body.

Trend to TV

Nalley’s own effort of daily uploads to reach a goal is nothing new, though it is certainly unique compared to others. Many users online have done similar daily videos of them doing a repeated action, though rarely is it for the sake of post-mortem fame like Nalley. Some film themselves daily as a mean to keep to a habit, such as exercise. Others do so with a specific goal in mind.

One that springs to memory is someone taking a bit out of an onion every day until Shrek 5 is released, though they only made it to 660 days. Many have taken it upon themselves to perform such undertakings, though rarely do they see success like Nalley.

Doing X until Y

The act of doing something until something else happens is a very common trend online, particularly on Youtube. Many have done You Laugh, You Lose challenges where the video will end if they laugh. In the gaming scene many have uploaded challenges wherein they play a game and if they lose or die, the video will end.

The Very Real Effort of Fake Death

Playing a corpse is not nearly as easy as it may appear. One professional Corpse Actor, Chuck Lamb, shared his process in an interview with Business Insider. When playing a corpse, the actor really has to stay completely still, hide their breathing and not blink, at all. Any sign of movement will ruin the illusion of death. If one is acting for say, a horror film, that actor will be spending far more time having makeup applied than they will on screen.

Lamb to the Slaughter

Corpse actor, Chuck Lamb, had a similar approach to Nalley for getting roles as a dead body. Lamb created a website, called where he posted many pictures of himself playing dead. This, like Nalley’s efforts, got him cast as a corpse actor. Chuck Lamb has been corpse acting for a much longer, playing dead since 2005. However, Chuck’s website has been inactive since around 2018.

The (Lack of) Glamour of the Fallen

According to the interview with Chuck Lamb, playing dead is not all it is cracked up to be. Corpse acting, despite all the effort, does not. Lamb says that he normally only got paid 300-500$ per day on set. On one occasion he was paid 1,500$ for a gig with Starz. Not to mention the previously mentioned hours of makeup and grueling effort of staying perfectly still.

Tik Tok Fights Back

For those who don’t know, Tik Tok has, or at least they try to have, strict guidelines on their site. Josh Nalley have been under fire from the site since his challenge started. Nalley has had to caption his videos of him “playing un-alive” since Tik Tok banned the words kill and dead.

According to Nalley’s own Tik Toks, the site has been repeatedly banning or hiding his videos since they are too convincing to the algorithm. This is exceedingly hypocritical of the app as real dead bodies and gore often remains untouched on the site.

Can You Teach A Dead Dog New Tricks?

After Nalley’s first viral effort came up successful, he has set out on another cadaver quest. Nalley is back at it again, playing dead on Tik Tok, aiming for another role. At the time of writing, Nalley has spent another 216 days playing dead with the same goal in mind. Though, Nalley has made some changed from his original attempt.\

Nalley has improved his ability to stay still. Another change is the omission of fake blood, as it did not look very good on camera. One change Nalley is particularly proud of is the addition of movement in the videos. Nally films himself in very active scenery, or includes his dogs, which makes his stillness more pronounced. It really sells the illusion. Will Nally’s change of tactics lead to a repeated success? Or are his changes at fame dead in the water?

JD In a Dig Dug Shirt with a Mothman Pin doing a thumbs Up
Written By

I am a graduate of University of North Carolina Greensboro. I am quite proud of my fiction and poetry, and I have been published several times.

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