Woonsocket character makes it big on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Woonsocket character makes it big on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Keith Apicary, a stage name used by comedian and actor Nathan Barnatt, impresses the judges on America’s Got Talent. (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)

WOONSOCKET – Rhode Island had its latest breakout TV star last week when Keith Apicary, a self-described Woonsocket native who loves to dance, wowed the judges with an unusual lineup of “bodily maneuvers” on “America’s Got Talent.”

Apicary appeared on the premiere of the show’s 16th season last Tuesday, June 1. After introducing himself as a video game enthusiast who lives with his mom, he took to the stage to show off what he described as “a sequence of rhythmic spasms.”

“I’m going to do some dancing maneuvers for you guys. But I’m not a dancer, I just like to dance. Just want to preface,” he warned the judges.

He then launched into an explosive routine of '80s dance moves that had the judges and audience on their feet. At the end of the routine, he fell off the stage, a choreographed move that earned cheers from the audience as he took his final bow.

The routine earned him four “yes” votes from the judges, allowing him to move on to the next round.

Apicary is actually the stage name of Nathan Barnatt, a comedian and actor originally from Milford, Mass., who now lives on the West Coast. Barnatt created the character around 2009 for an internet series and adopted Woonsocket as his character’s hometown, later going on to appear as Apicary on Comedy Central and in music videos for Flo Rida and Lady Antebellum.

Barnatt spoke with The Valley Breeze in character as Keith about his appearance on “America’s Got Talent” and what led up to the big show.

“It’s something I thought about for a long time because I do dancing, and I decided it would be kind of fun to see. I didn’t actually think I was going to get on,” he said.

Apicary expected to be cut from the first round, so he was surprised when the judges gave him the green light to advance. Judge Simon Cowell even told him he preferred watching him to a ballet performance.

“I’ve never done anything like this before. It was little intimidating, to be honest with you,” he said.

Apicary said he was working for PetSmart in Bellingham when a friend had the idea to put him in front of a camera. He’s since become an internet sensation, showing off his dance moves on his own YouTube channel and in various TV appearances.

When he’s not attending gaming conventions or annoying his neighbor with dance practice, he said, he likes to go to the Salvation Army on North Main Street and hunt for old video games.

“My favorite console is Sega Genesis because that’s kind of what I grew up playing in the '90s, but I play everything,” he said.

He wasn’t expecting the attention he got from the “America’s Got Talent” appearance, but now that he has it, he’s determined to make it to the season’s end. He hopes to have his own TV show someday and said he thinks he could be the next Kramer.

As for the dance moves, Apicary said he “gets a little crazy” when he’s in front of a camera and hopes he makes others feel good, too.

“I hope that I can rally people up to get out there and get moving because it’s really good for your mind and soul,” he said.