Thomas Middleditch is up for his first Emmy Award this year, for his role in HBO’s lauded Silicon Valley. The show’s cast is by and large made up of the kind of salt-of-the-Earth, journeyman comedians who have been plugging away in the trenches before landing starring roles on pay cable, and Middleditch is no exception. He has a long history in the comedy scene that includes stints at Chicago’s Second City and the odd pilot that never got picked up.
So if you’re a Middleditch fan, here are five places beyond the Valley you can see your favorite lanky Canadian comedian.
1. A McDonald’s commercial from 2007
Middleditch was creating sketch videos from an early age, and this “McNugget rap” was turned into an actual commercial by McDonald’s in 2007.
2. Pete Holmes’ YouTube videos
Middleditch frequently popped up in comedian Pete Holmes’ since-deleted YouTube series “Ex Men” (about Professor Xavier having to fire members of the X-Men) and “Street Fighter: Red Tape” (about a beleaguered HR man trying to navigate the bureaucracy of the Street Fighter video games). Largely improvised, and with Middleditch often using some kind of absurd accent, the skits are a great example of his versatility in improvised situations. It’s a shame the only versions still online are strange foreign rips, but they’re worth tracking down.
3. Jake and Amir
NSFW language. Middleditch was frequently seen in Jake and Amir sketches for College Humor, going back five years, playing a bizarrely accented foil to the main character Amir. This was his first appearance in the long-running web series.
This quirky independent rom-com is another showcase for Middleditch’s everyman charm, even if it never really took off critically or commercially. Christopher McDonald, Lea Thompson, Parks and Recreation (and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Transparent) guest player Jason Mantzoukas and 30 Rock‘s Dean Winters a.k.a. Dennis Duffy all costar.
5. The Other Guys
Middleditch, playing a smarmy art gallery curator, spits critiques at Mark Wahlberg’s angry police detective in what has to be an improvised moment. “How outré,” he quips at one point. It’s a small scene, but it’s a great example of his comic timing.
The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards will broadcast live this Sunday on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.