MORGAN PARK — Mike Cullen moved to Hollywood two months ago and landed a small gig as a production assistant for a Doritos commercial.
The "Cowboy Kid" is now one of five finalists for Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" contest. The winning commercial will be shown during Super Bowl XLVIII, and $1 million will be divided up among the winning team.
Online voting ends Wednesday, and Cullen has high hopes for the commercial featuring a small boy, his bratty brother and a giant dog.
"It was cool to be involved in something so massive," said the Morgan Park native, adding that about 5,500 entries from all over the world were submitted for the Doritos' contest.
He admitted his role was minor. As a production assistant, he moved things around the set of the commercial, and even raked leaves for the ad, which is set on a seemingly suburban front yard.
"I don't mind doing small jobs like that," he said. He'll receive $500 if his team wins the $1 million prize, he said.
Two of the five finalists will have their commercials aired during the Super Bowl. The team with the most votes gets the cash and the exposure. Doritos executives will select the second commercial winner.
As for Cullen, he's content to make his way through Hollywood on his wit. His comedic talents are showcased in a series of Internet shorts, including his 10-part "Sad Boss" series. The comedy website Splitsider recently recognized these clever bits, which feature Cullen as the outlandish boss.
Cullen is a graduate of St. Cajetan Elementary School in Morgan Park and Marist High School in Mount Greenwood. Last year, he earned a bachelor's degree after studying television and film Downtown at Columbia College.
He credits a series of improv classes at the Beverly Arts Center for piquing his interest in comedy.
"I've been making [funny shorts] since Cajetan," he said.
Friends and neighbors on the Southwest Side are also rooting for the hometown comic. Facebook posts encouraging people to vote for the "Cowboy Kid" have flooded newsfeeds since voting began on Jan. 4.
"We do need as many votes as possible," he said.