A Joel Osteen impersonator is gaining fame online after he managed to fool the popular televangelist's church members and even some of his security.
In a short video shared on YouTube, Los Angeles comedic actor Michael Klimkowski can be seen getting free parking at an event hosted by Osteen because of his striking resemblance to the pastor. He was waved in by security, while eager fans wanted to take selfies with him at "The Forum" - the huge indoor arena where Osteen and his wife Victoria were hosting "A Night of Hope" for worshippers.
But after entering the main stage and interacting with several church members, Osteen's head of security finally called him out as an imposter. The video ended with the security chief warning the impersonator that he could go to jail for "trying to breach the stage."
When Chron.com spoke to Klimkowski about the incident, the actor said that he meant no harm in impersonating Osteen. "My intention was to do all of this in good fun," he said. "If I sensed anyone was going to be too let down I would tell them immediately I'm not Joel."
"The event security guy was pressing us hard, intimidating us," Klimkowski continued. "The Directors John Parr and Reggie Henke kept their cool better than I did."
Klimkowski said he was first made aware of his resemblance to Osteen back in high school. It was at that time he started to study the televangelist and even submitted a tape of his impersonation to Saturday Night Live. Even now, many people are fooled into thinking he is really Osteen.
"Literally, everyday at work, and I work at a hotel, somebody will do a double-take and before they can say anything I just say, 'JOEL!' and they laugh and nod," Klimkowski said.
But when asked about his thoughts on Osteen, Klimkowski said he would rather keep his thoughts to himself since his main goal is to just make people laugh.