Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Do you know this man from HBO's Silicon Valley or from those Verizon commercials?

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Quick question: Who is that guy up above? You’re reading The A.V. Club, unless you came here on accident, so you probably know that he’s Thomas Middleditch, the star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, as well as kid detective JJ O’Malaman, one of Dwight’s relatives from that backdoor pilot on The Office, and some kind of science guy from the last Godzilla movie. According to Middleditch, though, not everyone he meets is as savvy as the average A.V. Club reader. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Middleditch noted that he’s typically just recognized as the guy from those Verizon commercials and that nobody knows him from his critically acclaimed HBO comedy.

He explains that not everyone has HBO, but everyone has seen him in a commercial at some point talking about how great Verizon’s network is or how unlimited its unlimited plans are (spoiler: some of them are not unlimited). Middleditch doesn’t mind, telling THR that at least people aren’t saying, “Hey, it’s the Verizon guy, now hold still while I punch you in the face,” but the commercials could still do a better job explaining whether or not he’s playing himself or some magical Verizon spokesperson like the “Can You Hear Me Now?” guy. If he’s himself, like Frank Thomas in those commercials for the pills that help him meet ladies at the gym, then at least that means he ranks as a real celebrity. If he’s just a Verizon man who lives and dies for Verizon, then that’s very sad. He was in one episode of The Office! He does funny voices at hockey games! He deserves some recognition!

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