I first met Jay Baruchel 20 years ago in Los Angeles on a Television Critics Association Fox network reception in downtown Los Angeles, At 18, he was starring in Judd Apatow's college comedy Undeclared alongside another young Canadian, Seth Rogen. The two were pretty excited to have landed on a promising show; what they could not have known at the time was that they'd each won the comedy career lottery.
Baruchel was born in Ottawa and raised in Montreal. He grew up soaking up every bit of movie intel from the likes of Leonard Maltin and Siskel & Ebert; within a few years he would be reviewed by all three. He talks about his steps along the way -- his early Canadian work on Popular Mechanics for Kids (PMK) and Are You Afraid of the Dark; being directed by Cameron Crowe in "Almost Famous" and Clint Eastwood in "Million Dollar Baby"; being reunited with Rogen on "Knocked Up" and "This is The End."
Also touched on is his his work on the FX series Man Seeking Woman, a shot-in-Toronto wonder, and his determination to act in, direct, write and produce projects in his home and native land.
One current effort is The Moodys, which premieres Thursday, April 1 on Fox. The Montreal-based production stars Denis Leary, Elizabeth Perkins and Francois Arnaud, with Gerry Dee recurring.
Because Leary is in it, the series has several scenes shot in a hockey rink. Baruchel, a lifelong fan of les Canadiens, says even he is less of an NHL nerd than Leary.
You'll hear more on other Baruchel touchstones, such as his own hockey movies Goons 1 & 2, where he also contributed as a writer and a director. I even try to pry a story out of him about his "How to Train Your Dragon" voice-mate Craig Ferguson.
That's Jay Baruchel, who'se gone from Almost Famous to a clutch player in TV and film.