A South Carolina native and former University of South Carolina student is lighting up the internet with his latest comedy project.
Joey Thompson‘s parody video, “Drive 2: The Uber Years Official Trailer” features the comedian impersonating Ryan Gosling, imagining a sequel to the 2011 hit film Drive. In the parody, Gosling’s character, a stuntman and getaway driver in the film, has become an Uber driver.
Thompson, who moved from Columbia to Los Angeles about 18 months ago to pursue his dreams, said the parody has its roots in real life. “I was out here driving Uber for real with my best friend Fabio [Frey, who was also Thomson’s partner at Dinobrite Production while in Columbia],” Thompson said, when Frey had the idea of casting Gosling’s character as an Uber driver.
Thompson first gained national attention while still at USC for his stand-up comedy and comedy videos created alongside Frey, and both stand-up and videos featured his spot-on impersonation of Gosling. Not wanting to be typecast, Thompson had retired the impression until Frey’s suggestion for the new video.
“I said ‘OK, I’ll do this one more time, but it better be worth it,” Thompson said, and the results seem to indeed be worth it. “It’s been insane,” he said of the reaction to the video.
Thompson and Frey’s devotion to USC has often been clear in the past, as with their popular video “Rock Out (With Your Gamecock Out) aka The Spurrier Rap,” and the Drive parody also has a distinct Gamecock flavor. Director of Photography Mark Phillips and co-writer Jacob Zulanch are also Gamecock alumni.
“Los Angeles is definitely the only place I can actualize my dreams, but South Carolina is the place I’ll always consider home,” Thompson said. “Growing up in South Carolina helped ground me.”
Making it big in Hollywood is not easy, but things “are the best now they’ve ever been,” Thompson said. “It’s taken a ton of struggling but I think we’re really hitting our stride.”
He and his partners recently produced a promotional video for the film Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and while he enjoys the production side of show business, Thompson said he also wants to spend more time in front of the camera. “I’m going to give acting a go,” he said. “[The Drive parody] is a stepping stone.”