Josh Robert Thompson

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Josh Robert Thompson
Josh Robert Thompson in 2011
Born (1975-03-11) March 11, 1975 (age 42)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
  • Actor
  • impressionist
  • comedian
Years active 2000–present
Known for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
The Howard Stern Show

Josh Robert Thompson (born March 11, 1975)[1] is an American voice actor, actor, comedian, and impressionist. He is best known for his work on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, providing the voice of robot skeleton Geoff Peterson along with numerous characters and impersonations, as well as his celebrity impersonations on Family Guy and The Howard Stern Show. He appeared in a lead role in the 2014 romantic comedy Nowhere Girl.

Thompson is known for his celebrity impressions, including Robert De Niro, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew McConaughey.

Early life[edit]

Thompson grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, "raised by classic television." He would watch as actors became different characters and began to mimic them. At age eight, his grandmother bought him a Fisher-Price tape recorder that he used to create radio-style "shows", voicing the host and the guests. The following year, he performed on stage in Peter Pan at the Cleveland Play House.

During his junior year at Padua Franciscan High School, Thompson delivered one line for the school's production of Oklahoma! and walked off to laughter and applause. "Then someone backstage said, ‘They're clapping for you. They love you.' After that, I was hooked." Thompson and some of his classmates got a video camera and began making feature-length and short films, and television-style shows. He graduated from Padua in 1993.

Thompson moved to Los Angeles a few years later and performed on local television and as a stand-up comic while working toward his degree in TV, Radio and Film Production at California State University, Fullerton. He uses his middle name professionally because a "Josh Thompson" was already registered with the Screen Actors Guild.[2]


Radio appearances[edit]

Thompson's Arnold Schwarzenegger impression first gained national attention during the California gubernatorial recall election of 2003. Posing as Schwarzenegger, Thompson phoned in to Fox News Channel's morning program, Fox & Friends, fooling the hosts into believing (at least for a short while) that he was, in fact, Schwarzenegger.[3]

Thompson's Fox News prank caught the attention of The Howard Stern Show, and the impression—dubbed "Fake Arnold" by the show's producers—soon became a mainstay on the program.[3] At around the same time, Thompson also made a number of appearances on the Conway and Steckler and Conway and Whitman radio shows in Los Angeles (KLSX), and 96fm's Breakfast show in Perth, Western Australia, where he voiced a number of characters, including Fake Arnold, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Jackson, and Bill Cosby.[3]

The Howard Stern Show[edit]

In April 2005, Thompson's "Fake Arnold" character proposed a fictitious plan to "blow up the moon".[3] Fake Arnold's phony agenda managed to dupe MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who appeared soon after on his television program, publicly lambasting the Governor for his alleged plan.[4] Ten days later, after learning that the entire moon destruction scenario was a hoax, Scarborough apologized on-air for his erroneous comments.[4]

On January 10, 2006, one day after Stern's show debuted on Sirius Satellite Radio, Thompson fooled Star Trek actor George Takei into believing he was actually speaking with Governor Schwarzenegger. Several minutes after the phone call with Fake Arnold ended, Takei was finally let in on the joke. One year later, the Takei prank was ranked sixth out of the Top 10 best moments from the show in 2006; it was also named as a top moment in the ten-year satellite tenure of the program. His final appearance was in June 2011.[5]

Television work[edit]

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson[edit]

In February 2007, Thompson made his first on-camera television appearance as Governor Schwarzenegger on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS. He became a regular performer on the show, making appearances as Robert De Niro, "Frat Guy", Brian Deese, and Levi Johnston, and as the voice of Morgan Freeman.

Starting on April 20, 2010, Thompson voiced Ferguson's robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson, originally using pre-recorded clips of various reactions to the host's cues. Thompson tweeted his "recipe" for Geoff's voice in September: "1 part Snagglepuss. 1 part Vincent Price. 2 parts George Takei."[6] On May 16, 2011, Thompson performed Geoff as a show guest; in a later skit spoofing the show's opening broadcast, Thompson portrayed Peterson as a living sidekick who suggested that Ferguson could reanimate his skeleton should something befall him while skydiving. Beginning June 29, 2011,[7] Thompson voiced and performed Geoff live for nearly every episode, both in-studio and in such locations as Paris, France.[8]

Once Thompson began voicing Geoff Peterson live, he incorporated several of his own impressions into the character's repertoire. He has performed his Morgan Freeman impression for Freeman during the actor's appearances. In June 2011, Geoff asked Freeman, "Would you like to hear my Morgan Freeman voice?" and "What would you like to say to yourself?". Freeman gave the impression a thumbs-up and called it "outstanding".[9]

In 2014, Thompson took over as the voice and operator of Sandra Peterson, the remote-controlled rhinoceros head that hangs over the fireplace.[10] The character was originated by actress Dana DeLorenzo.[11]

Craig Ferguson told Larry King Now in 2014 that he and Thompson will continue to work together after leaving The Late Late Show in December. In the interview, Ferguson called Thompson a "comedic genius".[12]

Voice acting[edit]

Since 2011, Thompson has voiced various characters on both Family Guy and American Dad!. He also appeared on The Cleveland Show from 2011 until its cancelation in 2013.

On-screen projects[edit]

Thompson began working on his first television series while still on The Late Late Show. The first installment, dubbed WJRT Television, starred Thompson alongside Dana DeLorenzo in a television news show parody. While some episodes were uploaded to Funny or Die, the series was not sold to a network.[13]

In 2014, Thompson announced plans for an upcoming variety show, The Josh Robert Thompson Show. Its pilot episode was completed in 2015 through a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo.[14]


Thompson has also embarked on various podcasts throughout his career.[15] The most recent installment, Joshin' Around, was picked up by iTunes in 2016, consisting of Thompson alone improvising all material.[16]


Thompson has starred as narrator in Yogi Bear and Scary Movie 5, with on-camera appearances as lead character in the 2014 film, Nowhere Girl, and a supporting role as a priest in the upcoming 2016 film, Revelator. He was also featured in The Angry Birds Movie, voicing two characters.

Other work[edit]

In 2010, Thompson appeared in advertisements for More Than insurance, doing his Morgan Freeman impression. In the advertisement, Thompson's character is named More Than Freeman.[17]

Original characters[edit]

Thompson's original creations include televangelist the Rev. Apostle BG; Gay Cabaret singer, Robin Sooper; Gary the Ogre; and Snorky Lopez, a Mexican raccoon.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Himself 1 episode
2003–11 The Howard Stern Show / Howard TV "Fake" Arnold Schwarzenegger (voice)
2005 The Princes of Malibu Himself/Arnold Schwarzenegger (voice) 1 episode
2006 The Emperor's New School Friendly Joe (voice) Episode: "The Good, the Bad and the Kronk/Mud"
2007 Let's Paint TV Robert De Niro Episode: "Let's Exercise, Cook Pasta, and Paint Robert De Niro!"
2007–14 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson Geoff Peterson, additional characters; himself 478 episodes
2009 True Beauty Clothing Store Clerk Episode: "Million Dollar Look"
2009 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Alex Trebek (voice) 1 episode
2010 Glenn Martin, DDS LeBron James, Tom Brady, Arnold Schwarzenegger (voice) 2 episodes
2011–13 The Cleveland Show Various (voice)
2011–present American Dad! Various (voice)
2011–present Family Guy Various (voice)
2013 WJRT Television Himself; various
2013 The Birthday Boys Morgman Fremont Episode: "All Your Favorites Are Back"
2015 Robot Chicken Various (voice) Episode: "Ants on a Hamburger"
2016 Man Seeking Woman Condom (voice) Episode: "Feather"
2016 Angel from Hell Morgan Freeman Impersonator Episode: "The Flask"
2016–present Skylanders Academy Skull (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Bigger, Stronger, Faster* Himself/Arnold Schwarzenegger
2010 Yogi Bear Narrator (voice)
2013 Scary Movie 5 Narrator (voice)
2014 The Bag Man Various (voice)
2014 Nowhere Girl Tyler
2016 The Angry Birds Movie Brad Bird, Dane the Saxophone Bird (voice)
2016 Revelator Father Levi In post-production

Video games[edit]



  • Movie Fights - Himself (Episode 108 - What Iconic Horror Villains Should Face Off in Their Own Movie?)


  1. ^ Stallsmith, Shelly (March 11, 2013). "Good Morning, Central PA: DDB Has Been Serving ... (Today's birthdays)". The Patriot-News. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Paduan (Summer 2011)" (PDF). pp. 4–8. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Can I Have Your Autograph Please? - Fake Arnold". Dean's Planet. Archived from the original on February 4, 2010.  via Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Host Gets Fooled By Arnold Impersonator". The Radio Equalizer. 
  5. ^ For the week of 06/13/2011 to 06/17/2011. Retrieved 2016 May 19.
  6. ^ "Josh Robert Thompson on Twitter". Twitter (official). September 1, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Josh Robert Thompson on Twitter". Twitter (official). June 29, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  8. ^ Wick, Krista (August 1, 2011). "Craig Ferguson and Kristen Bell Tape The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson In Paris". Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ Best Morgan Freeman Impression EVER. YouTube (Josh Robert Thompson official channel). June 10, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Yes, I'm voicing Sandra the rhino. No, I don't like the voice, either.". Facebook (jrtcomedy official). January 23, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Share photos and videos on Twitter". Twitpic. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  12. ^ I'm Not Retiring. YouTube (Larry King Now official channel). July 23, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ "WJRT Television". Funny or Die. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Josh Robert Thompson Show". Indiegogo. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Picker, Joyce (December 20, 2014). "Josh Robert Thompson interview: Craig Ferguson's sidekick and beyond". AXS Entertainment. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Joshin' Around with Josh Robert Thompson". iTunes. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  17. ^ Sharp, Rob (February 10, 2011). "Insurance salesman who's created more than an advert". The Independent. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]