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A man who has been dubbed the 'Real Life Peter Griffin' because of his uncanny impressions of the Family Guy character has achieved the greatest dream of any impersonator by managing to get into the actual show itself. You can see his performance in the video below:
Robert Franzese is just an ordinary guy from New York who discovered one day in 2012 that he had the incredible power to morph into - amongst other characters - Peter Griffin.
After his first appearance at New York Comic-Con in 2012, he returned two years later with a documentary film crew, and - in 2020 - managed to get himself mentioned on the show by Seth MacFarlane himself.
However, it all started as a matter of convenience.
Speaking to LADbible, he explained. "I decided to go to the Con dressed as characters, and if you're familiar with the character Ghost Rider, there's a Western version of him.
"I had fun, because it was the first time I had ever dressed up [at a convention].
"But, I got heatstroke in that costume, and [decided] I can't wear something like this to the Con tomorrow.
"I decided to wear something comfortable, and I found the Peter Griffin shirt and pants in my closet.
"I just happened to have everything, it was like the planets aligned, everything was in the house."
Grabbing a set of round glasses from when he dressed up as Santa Claus, everything just 'came together'.
He continued: "That day I had a whole entourage following me, it was like I was Stan Lee or something.
"I thought that was my 15 minutes of fame, and that it was over and just a cool day of my life, but on the fourth of July that next year, somebody had posted one of the videos of me at the Con and it was blowing up on Reddit."
From there, he started to dress up as Peter Griffin everywhere.
Not bad for a dude wearing just a white shirt and green pants.
Despite achieving that level of fame, and even making a bit of cash on Cameo as a side-hustle, things hit a peak for Franzese when he was actually mentioned on the show itself.
In season 17, episode 16 - first broadcast in 2019 - Seth MacFarlane himself makes an appearance on the show, talking to the characters about how they aren't actually real.
MacFarlane says: "None of you are real, you are all TV characters voiced by me, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, and Mila Kunis."
Peter Griffin responds: "Wait, what? Hang on a second, if I'm not real, then why does a fat nerd pretend to be me at every Comic-Con?"
MacFarlane then says: "Please, don't mention him, it'll only encourage him."
Whilst he obviously takes a roasting, you have to admit that it's a pretty high accolade for the Real Life Peter Griffin, right there.
Hey, it's not a cease and desist letter, after all.
Franzese explained: "I never thought I'd be referenced on it.
"It's Family Guy, if you're not getting roasted - it's like Weird Al Yankovic in music - you can't be mad when he parodies your song.
"It's like, that's when you know you've made it."
"When I first started doing this, I didn't know if I was going to get sued or not, so I went on IMDb and made a profile so that I could contact them, and I got as far as a representative from [producers] Fuzzy Door and I introduced myself, and she said 'oh yeah, we've heard about you, we love what you're doing, you've even come up in table reads about the possibility of doing a live episode."
Well, if Seth MacFarlane ever gets bored of voicing Peter Griffin, there's someone out there ready and willing to take up the gig.
He's pretty good, too.
Featured Image Credit: Real Life Peter Griffin/Robert Franzese
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