Dining With Denise Neil

They're no Ron Bakers, but these Shocker stars can sell queso, too

Last year, as soon as Shocker basketball stars Ron Baker, Fred Van Vleet and Evan Wessel were out of eligibility to play – but finally eligible to capitalize on their fame – they signed up with locally owned Mexican restaurant chain Carlos O’ Kelly’s to film a series of commercials – all comedic odes to queso that went crazy on the Internet.

Now, Carlos O’ Kelly’s is about to release Volume II of the Shocker Queso Chronicles. Tonight, during Monday Night Football on ESPN, a new commercial will debut featuring two more former Shocker stars: fan favorites Zach Bush and John Robert Simon, two walk-ons who didn’t get much court time during their careers at WSU but who sent the crowd into hysterics any time they scored a bucket. Both have now graduated, and Simon is working with the Shockers as a graduate manager while he pursues a master’s degree in sports administration.

Carlos O’ Kelly’s is admitting that their new queso spokesmen might not have the same star power as their last ones. But that’s part of the punchline said Ryan Entz, the commercial’s creative director.

“We recreated the exact same setting and scene but minus the ‘legends,’” Entz said. “You have the Shocker Spirit Squad, the same refs, our famous queso, the same storyline, but instead of Ron, Fred and Evan, you see Zach and JR, who set up the spot’s payoff: ‘You don't have to be a Shocker legend to love Carlos O'Kelly's queso.’”

Entz said the new commercial is a spoof of the old ones. The two good-natured stars were fun to work with, Entz said, and they’re more than willing to laugh at themselves.

“Ron and Fred might have had more success with their playing careers,” Entz said, “But when it comes to acting chops, I think Zach and JR show us that they are the true legends.”

The spot will air for the first time during Monday Night Football, which starts at 7:30 tonight on ESPN and will feature the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Denver Broncos. It'll also air during Tuesday's World Series game. Don’t want to wait? You can watch the new spot right here.

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