A donations-funded wolf pack of one.
Posted to Facebook with the caption "Make sure you love your JOB!" (via Facebook)
Thaddeus Kalinoski was once a Philadelphia hotel restaurant manager, but all that changed in 2011 when the lucky man lost his job, lost his wife, grew a beard, gained 20 pounds...and discovered that he looked exactly like Zach Galifinakis' character Alan from The Hangover. Now, he makes a quarter-million a year impersonating Alan in Las Vegas, accompanying people to parties so they can live out their own Hangover fantasies.
OK, so the genesis of his lucky break was actually pretty sad, as he told the Daily Mail in an extended interview. His job's long hours took a toll on his marriage, and even after he stepped down to focus on their relationship, "my sacrifice was not enough for her - she still walked out on me."
20 pounds of alcohol and beard later, "I looked at myself in the mirror and thought 'wait a minute - you look like Alan.'" People had already started calling him that when he went out at night, and at first he moved to Atlantic City to have fun with it, but the real adventure began, appropriately, when he and a friend went to Las Vegas for the weekend:
Throughout the whole weekend people were just coming to me, handing me drinks, posing with me wanting to party. Girls were making out with me in cabs and nightclubs within seconds of meeting me and people were just so kind. The first night a guy handed me $100 and said go buy yourself a drink.
Yes, it sounds like people were very kind indeed. So, Thaddeus bought up replica outfits from the film, moved into the Hooters Hotel full-time, and started working the Strip. Thaddeus/Alan's only rules are that he doesn't ask for cash from tourists (he does charge $1000 per appearance for private or corporate groups), and he won't touch drugs. He has admitted, however, to succumbing to a few of the "absolutely stunning women who almost beg to sleep with me. It is simply unbelievable."
He takes the role very seriously. "My voice is naturally like the way Zach speaks, and I watched the movie hundreds of times to make sure I had his catchphrases and manner down...Part of my act is that I never drop character. I hope I have a funny retort or comment for any situation.' He's also created an animatronic baby Carlos and smoking monkey to follow him around on his adventures.
Thaddeus with the real Bradley Cooper, who was blown away by the resemblance.
At first, Thaddeus/Alan says it was awkward being invited to join groups for their entire weekends or for dinner, but being Alan means as long as he stays in character, everyone is just happy to have him there. He also gets to meet people from all over the world.
"I get great reactions from tourists from Dubai and the Middle East - they are very generous with their money. The Europeans are super friendly and supportive and love to take me partying. The Australians are wild and just go all day and night drinking, and I feel that part of the job is keeping up with them."
As if that wasn't enough, Thaddeus actually became part of the films he was making money from. He was used as a body double for Zach Galifinakis in The Hangover III, getting to meet the cast.
Bradley Cooper looked at me and was just dumbfounded that I looked so much like his co-star. Ed Helms was really cool too. I loved him in The Office and he was generous to me, and kept laughing and confusing me for Zach. The reaction from Zach couldn't have been better. He smiled at me when I came on set and just said "Man that is amazing. It is like looking in the mirror."
Thaddeus said he knows he only has a few years left in this gig now that the final movie has been released, and Galifinakis himself has slimmed down by quitting booze, but that he's enjoying the ride while it lasts.
Just so we're clear, this is exactly what he gets paid to do. (via Instagram)
Head over to the Daily Mail for much more in their interview with Mr. Kalinoski and pictures from his life in Vegas.