'Living Dead Josh' Parlays TikTok Posts Into 'CSI: Vegas' Part

SFX artist Lawrence Mercado and Josh Nalley on the set of CBS' 'CSI: Vegas'.
(Image credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Josh Nalley, a restaurant manager who lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, turned playing a dead guy on TikTok to a bit part on CSI: Vegas November 3. Nalley, who is 42, attained TikTok notoriety for posing as a dead person in various locations around Kentucky for 321 days, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. His TikTok account is living_dead_josh.

CSI: Vegas producers saw Nalley's various posts (opens in new tab) and asked him to be on the show.

"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 (opens in new tab). "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."

While playing dead for close to a year on TikTok, Nalley was hoping TV or film producers would come calling about a part. He has over 129,000 followers on TikTok.

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Jason Tracey, showrunner on CSI: Vegas, told the NY Times Nalley was the perfect person to play "body in the background of the morgue."

Nalley said playing dead comes pretty naturally to him. "I don't like speaking on camera, but I can lie there and act like I am dead pretty easily," he told the Courier Journal. "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." ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.