Eugene From ‘The Walking Dead’ Got His Start in Country Radio

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Josh McDermitt is probably best known to the world for playing Eugene, the mullet-ed genius on “The Walking Dead.”

Long before he convinced the show’s cast that he could save the world, Josh McDermitt made a name for himself in country music. And, ironically, it all started with another famous mullet.

When Josh was 14 years old and living in Phoenix, Arizona, he called into a radio show, thus starting his career. During an interview with the Nerdist podcast, he explained how it all happened.

“Do you remember that song ‘Achy, Breaky Heart?'”

A bored Josh decided to make up a character and call into the Tim & Willy show, a successful radio program that aired in Phoenix (and nationally) for more than two decades.

“Right when people started to turn on that [Billy Ray Cyrus] song and hate it, I decided to call up and do a dumb voice and request it,” explained Josh, who created a character named Cocko. “I said was born in England, moved to the Philippines when I was two. This was before Google. I don’t know where I came up with this stuff, but I committed to the character.”

Josh stuck to his story and people loved it. “I literally called every day,” he continues. “It became a bit on their show and they had no idea that I was a fake guy.”

It didn’t take long before Josh amassed more characters and was calling into the show as 10 different people. He even started going into the station as Cocko. But when they started suggesting that he work at the radio station, Josh knew he was in over his head.

“That’s when I broke character, I got scared,” Josh said. “I went ‘this is my real voice.’ By the way, I’m also this guy, this guy. They said, ‘You’re half the people that call this show, you need to work there.'”

So, Josh, not Cocko, started working for Tim & Willy and stayed with them for 14 years, eventually becoming their executive producer.

When the show ended in 2014, Josh called in and thanked Tim & Willy for their part in his career (watch below).

Hear Josh’s full interview with Nerdist here (he starts talking about Tim & Willy at the 1:00 mark).