Jon Lajoie moved to LA about a year ago "because," he jokes on his website, "he's an opportunistic douchebag." It worked, and with conflicting emotions the Montreal-bred, R-rated musical comedian had to postpone his national theatre tour earlier this fall.
But when Lajoie comes through Halifax this week, it's not just as an internet celebrity, but also as one of the stars of FX network's hit sitcom, The League. It's a fitting distinction. Lajoie has refined and expanded his act from his multi-million viewed music videos, like "Everyday Normal Guy" and "Show Me Your Genitals."
"I have a lot of fun just grabbing the mic, talking, cracking jokes and doing little bits, so people can see I'm not necessarily just musical comedy," says Lajoie on the phone from LA. "I really didn't want to be that guy with the guitar."
The diversity of Lajoie's talents is already well-known in the States. Created by the executive producer of Curb Your Enthusiasm, The League shares Curb's semi-scripted, improv-heavy nature. The League follows the exploits of five guys in a fantasy football league and their struggles with adulthood. Similar in sensibilities, The League followed It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on FX this fall, and has been picked up for a second season.
Lajoie plays Taco, the carefree, perpetually stoned, unemployed musician who exists "on the outskirts of normal society." It's not really a stretch for Lajoie. Even in LA, he's more comfortable sitting alone in his dark apartment reading, writing and recording music.
On set, Lajoie hangs out in his trailer writing lines and things that he could do. Like in the pilot episode, the writers restructured the script to include a birthday song Lajoie had been working on.
"The character was kind of based on me and my comedy, which is worlds apart from just walking into a room and just reading the lines," he says. "It's the perfect transition to TV at this point in my career, because I get to do what I do on the internet and I get to write a lot of stuff too."
Even Lajoie's ignorance of American football and his Canadian heritage come into play in the show when Taco attempts to draft a CFL player. "NFL is the last thing I would ever watch. If anything I would watch a Montreal Alouettes game or something. I didn't know anything. The beauty of it is my character doesn't know anything either and doesn't care."
With NFL playoffs in full swing, Lajoie is more excited to be back driving across Canada. Although he finds Americans receptive to most of what he does, it's Canadians who really appreciate his act. "I think it's because one of my biggest influences is Kids in the Hall," he says. "So, I'm really looking forward to being back where my comedy is in its own home."
Touring, like his daily work at home, is also a part of Lajoie not taking anything for granted. He realized early on in LA, while doing the rounds with executives, that the industry runs on productive people, creating all the time. This is what keeps him going. Well, that and "a lot of masturbation."
"Just constantly. I just don't stop," he jokes. "It's [also] really nice to have people wanting what you're creating, which means you can't take that for granted. Just knowing people are waiting for a video is enough for me to go, 'OK Jon, get your ass out of bed. It's 2pm.' That in itself is enough. Because I know one day it's going to be like, 'Alright, shut the fuck up, little funny man with a guitar.'"
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