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Why The Stars In The Hotels.com Hotel Guys Commercial Look So Familiar

The NBA Finals are officially underway. And with the Denver Nuggets facing off against the Miami Heat in a winner-take-all showdown for the ages, advertisers are looking to cash in on the potential viewership spike with a wave of fresh commercials fronting some pretty familiar faces.

Travel booking site Hotels.com was among the bigger names making a splash during the first game of the series, doing so with a hilarious ad fronting an overzealous hotel front desk agent — and clear sneakerhead — who firmly believes his choice of footwear will change the game on the customer service front. As the ad opens, said employee literally jumps into the action, professing to his colleague that something about him is different. After a few hilarious missed guesses, he reveals his slick new sneakers, claiming he can serve guests 37% better with them on.

Witty banter abounds from there, with the other employee eventually revealing to the amazement of his pal his own pair of patent leather sneaks. The business of assisting guests interrupts the fun as the Hotels.com title card drops, putting an end to the hilarity. But the laughs are steady to say the least before that title card hits, in no small part due to the ace comedic work of the actors portraying the sneaker-loving front desk agents. And yes, it's quite likely you've seen those actors before. Here's where.  

Sam Richardson has become a comedy all-star in recent years

The straight man in that Hotels.com commercial duo is none other than rising comedy all-star Sam Richardson. But even if you don't know the man's name, you're almost certainly familiar with his face as Richardson has been turning up in comedic gems on the regular over the last couple of decades. And it's safe to say the actor's 40-episode stint on HBO's hit political satire "Veep" remains the his biggest gig to date. 

Richardson, of course, portrayed the quippy political impresario (and eventual President of the United States) Richard Splett, also serving as Secretary of the Agriculture during the tumultuous second term of President Selina Meyer (series star Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Though he didn't join the "Veep" fun until Season 3, Richardson was a standout player — and regular scene-stealer — throughout his tenure. While "Veep" ranks as Richardson's most notable small screen gig, it's hardly his first, with the actor playing Athlead employee Colin during the last two seasons of "The Office," appearing as Winston Bishop's too-perfect LAPD replacement partner Dunston on "New Girl," and logging three episodes of "Ted Lasso" as tech billionaire Edwin Akufo.

Of his film work, Richardson has netted roles in the likes of "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising," "Office Christmas Party," and "The Tomorrow War." In 2020, Richardson also turned up as the less-than-virtuous, fedora-wearing Paul in the Oscar-winning drama "Promising Young Woman." Most recently, Richardson has been earning laughs for playing Aniq in Apple TV+'s star-studded murder mystery comedy "The Afterparty," which, coincidentally, found him trading lines with his Hotels.com ad scene partner.

Ike Barinholtz has carved his own path to comedic fame

That scene partner is indeed Mr. Ike Barinholtz, who's become one of Hollywood's go-to funnymen himself over the past couple of decades. "The Afterparty" is one of Barinholtz's most recent on-screen jobs, with the actor portraying the absurdly cocksure Brett in the series' crack ensemble.

Barinholtz, of course, earned one of his bigger early breaks portraying Russian pitching phenom Ivan Dochenko opposite Danny McBride's Kenny Powers on the cult hit "Eastbound & Down." That "Eastbound & Down" spot came nearer the end of Barinholtz's five-season run as a regular player on the sketch-comedy series "Mad TV," and likely helped him secure his series-long role as nurse Morgan Tookers on Mindy Kaling's "The Mindy Project." Most recently, Barinholtz could be seen playing multiple historical figures in Mel Brooks' streaming anthology comedy "History of the World: Part II," and cutting it up alongside Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux in the ensemble of HBO's "White House Plumbers."

Barinholtz has kept himself busy on the big screen as well, earning early cheers for turns in cinematic spoofs "Meet the Spartans" and "Disaster Movie." In 2014, he turned up as bestie to Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne's beleaguered couple in "Neighbors," reprising the role of Jimmy for the 2016 sequel. That same year, Barinholtz tangled with Jared Leto's Joker when he played Belle Reve baddie Hunter Griggs in the comic book misfire "Suicide Squad," though it's easy enough to imagine far more fans know the actor for playing down-on-his-luck absentee dad Hunter Lockwood alongside Leslie Mann and John Cena in the 2018 comic hit "Blockers."