(Images: Conan; YouTube)

Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch wasn’t always a guy playing a guy who revolutionized data compression. About eight years ago, he was just another guy “doing comedy” who happened to have a YouTube video go viral (before going viral was a thing), which was subsequently used in a McDonald’s commercial.

Middleditch’s spokesman past caught up with him last night on Conan, where he was plugging his new film, The Final Girls. When O’Brien asked about the McDonald’s commercial, Middleditch explained that his McRap was borne out of hatred for the Golden Arches and not devotion to its Quarter Pounders. He mocked the fast-food giant’s “urban” marketing strategy, which churned out so many rap commercials that someone was eventually inspired to archive them all in one place.


Backed by fellow Second City alum Fernando Sosa, Middleditch performed a fairly simple rap with a “McNuggets” hook and instructions on which condiments to use for dunking. The video was shot in front of a McDonald’s in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, where fellow diners probably shared Middleditch’s (fake) enthusiasm.

The video got tens of thousands of views (the threshold for going viral used to be significantly lower, it seems) as well as the attention of the head of McDonald’s retail promotions. And so, as Middleditch put it, the fast-food giant unwittingly paid him to make fun of its chicken-byproduct products.