It just doesn't feel right to refer to Jay Baruchel as being Toronto-based, but we're starting to get used to it. And so is the Montreal-bred actor, writer and comedian himself. We spoke to him about his dazzling first year of living the Hogtown way.
The last time we spoke, you mentioned how proud you were of the 2011 hockey film Goon and you mused about directing your first film at some point. Was it inevitable that those two things would intersect, and that your directorial debut would end up being the sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, expected out this fall?
I wouldn't say inevitable. My goal was to reunite the team from the first Goon. The film's director, Michael Dowse, who's one of my dear friends and one of my heroes and something of a mentor, is my general. And I wanted to bring him back. But after it was abundantly clear that that couldn't happen, we had this movie that we all wanted to make but no one to direct it.
Did you volunteer?
It was at the urging of two of our leads and one of our producers. They reached out to me, independently of each other, and asked me if the thought of directing it had occurred to me. I would be lying if I said it hadn't.
And how did it go?
It was amazing, man. It was crazy – a lot to contend with. But most directors for the first time don't get the kind of calibre of people to work with that I had. It was the greatest experience, and it's been the greatest year of my life. Of course, none of it would mean anything if the movie was terrible.
I sincerely believe it is not. [Laughs.] Quite the opposite.
What about the second season of your television comedy Man Seeking Woman, which kicked off this week on FXX? Last year, you had an episode featuring Hitler. How much further can you go?
Well, we do go further, time and time again. But if you think I'm going to reveal all those things here, that's craziness. All I'll say is that we do go even harder than last year.
Fair enough. Let's get back to the best year of your life. Is it a coincidence that the best year happened to happen the exact year you moved from Montreal to Toronto?
Ah, I have to choose my words here very carefully. All I'll I say is that I got to do what I've wanted to do my entire life, which was to direct a movie I love. I got to film a TV show that I adore. And I got to buy a house. All of it in the same city. And I'm very, very content. That's all that matters, I suppose.
How about we frame it as it all happening in Canada as opposed to the United States, instead of making it a Toronto-versus-Montreal thing?
There you go. Very much so. That's the narrative I keep trying to frame it in. Thank you.
This interview has been edited and condensed.