“Let’s go bless people.”
With that, Michael Klimkowski, who leads a comedy-sketch group known as “Dabs Den,” set off on his mission to see how far he could penetrate a recent Joel Osteen event at the Los Angeles Forum.
He had neither credentials nor a ticket, but he had the look.
Klimkowski shares a striking resemblance to the Houston megachurch pastor, and the video he and his crew shot shows it worked.
In the footage, the fake Osteen is shown being waved through parking control without having to pay. As his entourage approaches the venue, Klimkowski quips, “Let’s see if I can get into my own event.” It works – they’re shown the special entrance they should take.
Klimkowski’s frequent “God bless you” and his resemblance to Osteen soon have fans of the minister approaching and asking for photos, which he honors by taking the selfies himself.
“I’ve got these long arms,” Klimkowski tells a fan as he holds out her cell phone. “I’m 6’3 — Jesus was 5’5.”
Having arrived early, much of the arena is still empty, but Klimkowski strolls around greeting people as though he was the host of the evening’s event, telling them he’s glad they came.
But it is the offhand suggestion of one of his crewmembers that pushes the prank to the next level.
“I think we should try to get you onstage,” a voice on the video says.
“No, dude! That’s insane,” a laughing Klimkowski answers.
But insane or not, the “Osteen” entourage and its cameraman find a member of the security detail who lets them go down to the stage, where Klimkowski continues to bless members of the audience.
Watch the fake Joel Osteen work the crowd. Warning, the video ends with language some will find offensive:
It doesn’t last. The gathering crowd around Klimkowski attracts security personnel who order people to return to their seats, telling them that “Osteen” is an “imposter.”
“Let’s roll. Let’s go,” Klimkowski announces as he makes his exit, still wishing those crowded around to “have a wonderful day. No more pictures. Amen.”
The video ends with Klimkowski being pursued to the parking lot by security personnel telling police officers, “Stop him! Stop him!” The group was told they were going to jail, but the video does not reveal whether arrests were actually made.
Klimkowski is not letting his Osteen opportunity pass by. It could even be said he’s following the megapastor’s frequent call to “feed your destiny.” He has posted other videos poking fun at Osteen, some too crude to show here.
In the days before Osteen’s appearance at the Forum, Klimkowski crashed the minister’s Southern California book signing and worked the crowd, as can be seen in this video.
While Klimkowski is satisfied to impersonate Osteen for humor and ridicule, others have impersonated his ministry for graft. Osteen’s Lakewood Church employs an outside firm to patrol online sites for accounts claiming to belong to Osteen or his wife Victoria. The company has successfully removed approximately 17,000 fake accounts over the last three years, a church spokeswoman said.
“Being Joel isn’t easy,” notes Klimkowski. “People just come up to you and tell you their issues, like immediately right when you meet them. It’s pretty crazy. I was not expecting that.”