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Thomas Middleditch endured Chicago winters for the love of comedy

Thomas Middleditch clearly got into the spirit of his new film, "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie," at the film's L.A. premiere. | Tibrina Hobson/AFP/Getty Images

For Thomas Middleditch, Chicago is “my comedy college,” the place where he learned his performance chops. ” Yet, the actor and comedian — well-known for his Verizon TV commercials as well as his starring role on the “Silicon Valley” HBO series — recalled his Chicago years could be a challenge.

“I did love being in Chicago because I was able to perform comedy all the time. I was so enthusiastic about it back then, as opposed to now when I’ve become so jaded,” joked the actor, who voices young Harold in “Captain Underpants.”

“But those were also rough times. I remember that about the only job I could land was a really crappy one — and I mean that literally! I was a dog walker, but I didn’t have a car. I had no money. I had nothing.

“I would ride my bicycle — in the winter! — to go walk dogs. It was so cold, and I’m Canadian, so you get my point! Even a full-blooded, born-and-bred Canadian was freezing in Chicago winters.

“There were days when I would think to myself, ‘I am doing this for comedy. I am doing this for comedy.’ I would repeat that mantra over, and over, and over again — just to get through the day.”

Asked if he could relate to his Harold character, Middleditch admitted that “while I was not a kid who loved to pull pranks in class — I loved it when others did it. But I was something of a jokester in school and I did draw comic books, just like Harold does in the movie. So, in that sense, I can relate to that little guy!”