Hometown heavyweight to Hollywood lightweight
Canada’s homegrown hero may have made the leap to Hollywood, but home is where the heart is for French Canadian Jon Lajoie. His latest feat has brought him to Los Angeles, CA, with a role as Taco MacArthur on the underground hit FX comedy The League. The show, based on a fantasy football league, centres on six characters who toil away with their everyday lives, while keeping the common ground of their fantasy football trivialities. Taco, a space-cadet by nature (read stoner) adds the random comedic stylings of Lajoie.
“Basically I was discovered ‘cause of the internet. But you come to LA with a little bit of heat on you and people blow smoke up your ass,” he says. “You have to take it all with a grain of salt. When I met Jeff and Jackie Schaffer, they’d seen my stuff and said I’d be perfect for the role of Taco, which I took as a compliment. [A] couple weeks later I was filming the pilot.
“Taco is a bit of an exaggerated version of myself. He’s a stoner, and he’s somewhat slow. The way I describe him, he’s one step ahead of everyone, in a race that no one except him is involved in or cares about.”
Starting his career with Radio-Canada’s sitcom L’auberge Du Chien Noir as an English musician named Thomas Edison, Lajoie has now climbed the internet-celebrity ladder with his infamously crude sketches and music videos on YouTube.
“As cool as it is being on TV, the reason I will always continue to do internet videos is that I’m the only one involved in the process. It’s me writing something, recording it, shooting it and putting it out. I can literally say and do whatever the fuck I want! Like when I said I was going to make a song the day MJ [Michael Jackson] died, my agent was like ‘don’t do it!’ But I said ‘it’s the internet, and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want.’”
Although Lajoie has previous experience in sitcom acting, he appreciates the loose tenor of The League, as producers Jeff and Jackie Schaffer give the actors leeway to improvise much of their lines and don’t lay out a tightly wound script.
“On last week’s episode, they were talking about racially insensitive graffiti around the neighborhood. I jump to defend myself about it and say ‘there’s nothing racially insensitive about a dragon with a chainsaw penis!’ And I must’ve thrown out 10 things before they took that one,” laughs Lajoie.
Lajoie says that’s why this role is so suitable for him: not only does he dislike scripted sitcom acting, but he despises the auditioning process even more.
“This show is a sweet spot for me, cause even though it’s Hollywood, it’s a small cable show. I don’t know if I could do something big like Two and a Half Men or something. I can’t read some script that isn’t funny to me and be good at it. Not that I wouldn’t like the money, but if I had millions of dollars, I think I’d be dead in a week. I know myself.
“I find it really fun. It fits my sense of humour, since we get to improvise quite a bit on the show. The story line is well structured, but we don’t get a quote-unquote script. With the nature of my character, I pop in and out with random stuff and I get to write those comments to throw into a conversation. I really pride myself on that.”
In its third season now, The League is growing an impressive following from when it originally aired. Episodes take three to four days to shoot and after wrapping up the next couple episodes, Lajoie will be high-tailing it on a flight back to Canada for his next tour starting in early November.
“Every second that I’m not shooting The League, I’m writing songs and shooting videos still, and getting ready for the tour. Once I’m done these couple episodes, I’ll be hopping on a flight to Canada to land back home for the shows. I’m going to be premiering my new music video. Not gonna say what it is, but it took me a long time to make, then I’ll upload it after.”
Lajoie is comfortable in his new gig and enjoys being in Hollywood, but says it pales in comparison to his Canadian roots.
Happily, he says, he’s not getting stalked by the paparazzi or anything yet so it’s not too big of a deal to be here or there. Even his influences were deep rooted in Canada, as he states his biggest influence to be the Kids in the Hall, followed by other musician/comedians such as Adam Sandler and Weird Al Yankovic.
Although his acting career has taken a turn for the best, it seems fans haven’t heard the last of the triple threat who brought to YouTube the likes of “Everyday Normal Guy” and “Show Me Your Genitals.” After his Canadian tour and release of his latest video, he intends on having his third album out within the next six months.
“I’m not a very good business man. I put all my songs online and get like 90 million hits, and it didn’t hit me ‘til after that I should have the songs available for purchase. Even if you download it for free, I don’t care; I’m not one of those guys. As long as you’re listening to it, I’m happy.”
Story by Devin Size