Exclusive THE LEAGUE Jon Lajoie Interview, Taco in THE LEAGUE on FX

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Lena:  Can you talk about the production and conception of your legendary videos?

Jon Lajoie:  Or lack thereof production.

Lena:  Oh, that is what makes them great.

Jon Lajoie:  Well thank you.  I’m still kind of really blown away by how many people have seen things like “Everyday Normal Guy” and “Show Me Your Genitals”.  “Everyday Normal Guy”, I wrote it, recorded it and I was sitting there going, the not cool white rapper has kind of been done and I sat on it for a while.  My brother heard it and he said, “Why don’t you make a video out of this” and I said yeah, okay.  I went on my friend’s roof in like a suburb of Montreal and it was raining and I got there and I didn’t have a jacket so I used his jacket.  It was really last minute shit and I used my brother’s hat and  we go up on the roof and it’s raining so he’s got an umbrella and we shoot for about an hour and when we get home half of the footage has an umbrella in it because he’s dipping down into the footage.  So basically that video is all the shots on my friend’s roof that didn’t have an umbrella in them pieced together and I’m like twenty million people have seen that.  It’s funny and it’s great to not know that when you are making it.  Now it’s a little more annoying because you put something out and there’s that expectation.  Back then there was no expectation, I was just doing whatever.  But yeah, it’s so simple, such a simple, simple thing.  You shoot for about a couple of hours and then I come home and edit the footage on my computer and I see how people respond.

Lena:  I love the commercials, too like “Pedophile Beards” and the “Hands Commercial”.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah those are fun, too.

Lena:  My favorite is “Radio Friendly Song”.  Every time I am shooting mainstream bands that is all I can think about.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, like here comes the chorus and pow, play those chords.  There you go!

Lena:  Yeah, it is so boring.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, that is kind of like, obvious you know where that comes from.  I think with the internet now radio is not really, I mean, who the hell sits and listens to radio anymore?  It’s not people who are listening to bands anyway so I think now it’s been pretty good for the past five or ten years for bands and artists generally as a whole.  I mean it’s still annoying that there are so many good bands out there and great artists and you turn on the radio and it’s just the same shit.  I mean really, you have this huge pool and anyway but yeah that is obviously what that song is about.

Lena:  You are going to Australia, so there is a band called Karnivool from Australia and I don’t know if you have heard of them but they are amazing.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, what kind of stuff do they do?  I’ve heard the name.

Lena:  They get compared to Tool but they are just amazing.

Jon Lajoie:  Okay, cool.

Lena:  How was Iceland, by the way?

Jon Lajoie:  Iceland was amazing.  They understood everything.  I was kind of worried with English being their second language but they got everything, even the little subtle kind of absurd things.  They got everything and they’re really dark so I could push it and push it.

Lena:  Are they really?

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, really dark.  I think it’s because three months out of the year there is nothing but darkness there. Yes, really smart and wacky.  No, it was a great time.  I was really, really excited to go there just to visit but the show was just amazing.  It was one of the best audiences that I’ve ever had.

Lena:  I saw that on your tour list and thought, who goes to Iceland?

Jon Lajoie:  I know.  I basically go where people contact me and say do you want to do a show here.  What’s the deal…and if I want to visit the country I will go.  Like Australia, I’ve wanted to go for a while.

Lena:  Oh, you have not been yet?  I’ve always wanted to go.

Jon Lajoie:  I am so excited.

Lena:  You have to get a picture with a koala.

Jon Lajoie:  Apparently they are dangerous.

Lena:  Make sure you bring a jacket because it’s winter there.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, it’s not too nice there right now.

Lena:  Watch out for the koalas because they can give you Chlamydia.  (The world’s koala population is being ravaged by Chlamydia and it is feared that if a vaccine isn’t developed that they will become extinct.  A very true and sad fact.)

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, really koalas.  Well, other people can give you Chlamydia, too.  It depends, so you have to be careful who you cuddle.

Lena:  At least if you get it from a koala it’s kind of cute.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, it’s adorable.  Aw…I got Chlamydia from this little koala and I got AIDS from this little monkey, aw….

Lena:  Yeah, no having sex with any animals while you are there.

Jon Lajoie:  That’s true, I have to remember that.  Sometimes I forget.

Lena:  You are definitely keeping current with the “Osama Is Dead” video.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, that was just kind of a quick reaction that it’s funny that it’s all over the news like okay, now we have no more problems.  Everything is fine.  Millions of people are dead.  We’ve had two wars in ten years and now we are finally like, “Yay, America!”  I wasn’t trying to be anti-American or anything, I was just like, “Come on you guys.  You’ve got more important issues to deal with. “

Lena:  I’m waiting for your video on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, that’s Saturday, right?

Lena:  Well, the zombie apocalypse was on Fox news, so you know it’s true.

Jon Lajoie:  What? What the fuck?  You know it’s true!

Lena:   I saw that article right before I got here.

Jon Lajoie:  What is the zombie apocalypse about?  I know the apocalypse is Saturday.

Lena:  I don’t know.  I really didn’t read it I was just laughing at the headline.

Jon Lajoie:  I’m going to have to do a zombie apocalypse one.

Lena:  Now the rapture is supposed to be coming Saturday.

Jon Lajoie:  You know what, I should do one.  For a long time I’ve wanted to write a song about how things were perfect in a guy girl relationship and then things went wrong.  He’s reminiscing on how things were amazing before the apocalypse but since the apocalypse the relationship has fallen apart and it’s kind of like a James Blunt song but a first look since the aliens have invaded.  Maybe I can manage to do the apocalypse on Sunday if I manage to, no fuck I’m flying out to Australia on Monday.

Lena:  Well, Saturday is the rapture.

Jon Lajoie:   Yeah, so on Sunday if I put out the, how everything was cool until the rapture video.  Well, we’ll see.

Lena:  Apparently, your show on Saturday is going to be so amazing that you are going to cause it.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, that’s one.

Lena:  Yeah, you are going to cause the end of the world.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, God just knew it.

Lena:  Your Comedy Central special was great.  Are you planning on doing another one?

Jon Lajoie:   Oh, thank you.  Yeah, I’m thinking of doing something maybe a full hour.  Comedy Central is great and everything but they really kind of dictated what they wanted.  I usually do more stand-up bits but it was heavily censored, you know what I mean.

Lena:  Luckily, I saw the one that wasn’t.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, probably like at four in the morning.

Lena:  Yeah, I think it was two in the morning or something like that.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, okay good because if not half of it is like bleep…bleep…bleep.

Lena:  That’s what I was thinking.  How can they even air this censored?

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, yeah.

Lena:  A lot of “melon farmers” and stuff like that.  (I was watching a film on TV and every time someone said “mother fucker” they would censor it with “melon farmer”.  That was by far, funnier than the actual cuss word.)

Jon Lajoie:  That was cool but I want to do an expanded one and mess around with some of the video stuff and commercials, all that stuff.  That should be fairly soon. Within the next year, for sure I will do that.

Lena:  That’s great and you are definitely in a class of your own because you are a comedian that can actually sing.   Some comedians who think they can do music are awful and they can’t sing.  You actually have an incredible voice.

Jon Lajoie:  Thank you, you are very kind.  Well, that even comes from when I was in a band for the longest time and we worked so hard and got nowhere and then when the band broke up I was just kind of done with it after a while of just playing empty bars.  It was just before that internet thing where I didn’t know anything about the internet at the time so we would just play bars and try to book shows.  We were decent but it helped with my song writing and my voice.  Before the band I didn’t really sing.  I just kind of stepped up when no one in the band was really that good.  I was just like, I’ll try and I just slowly got better.  It really worked all of my musical chops so that I can write songs about girls shitting on each other’s faces.  I think it makes it funnier if it does actually sound good.  Having that background really helps the comedy.

Lena:  Yes, in “High as Fuck” there are some gorgeous lines in there where you just sound so nice.  I go and see all these bands and I am always thinking, Jon is so much better than any of these bands that are on tour that can’t sing and it’s awful.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh well, that’s good to hear.  Maybe I will start a death metal band of my own and be all awesome and shit.  I’m getting too old for that.  I’ve given up that dream.

Lena:  Oh, you are not too old!

Jon Lajoie:  Well, I’m not but in terms of our society I’m thirty and too old to be doing serious music.  It’s almost like, ha, ha look at that guy, trying to make serious music.  Yeah, anyway…

Lena:  Well, you are handsome, too.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh my God.  Oh my God.  I just peed my pants.

Lena:  Yeah, you have the music and the looks, you are all set.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, well there are a lot of negatives around the things that I don’t have.  I don’t have a soul.  I’m very empty on the inside.  So the outside, I try to keep up the outside, because there is absolutely nothing inside.  No, it’s just that I sold that shit to the Devil a long time ago.  So, I’ve got to keep up appearances.

Lena:  I don’t know, though, I saw the video when you did “The League” stuff they wanted you to sing “The Birthday Song” in front of the kids and you were the one that didn’t want to say the words in front of the kids.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, wow, where did you see that?

Lena:  Online and they were telling you to say it and they didn’t care and you were saying that you couldn’t do it.  So, you have a soul.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh yeah, no I have one.  My parents are very religious and my mom is the head of children’s church like at the church and we weren’t allowed to watch “He-man” or “The Simpsons” growing up so the fact that they are still very supportive and encourage me and are proud of me is cool.  I try to explain that the approach to whatever I am doing is very crass and I will say anything and sometimes it is just to be silly.  Sometimes if you do something like “Show Me Your Genitals” which I’m saying the worst things but I’m making fun of something that actually is way worse than that and I’m kind of like showing how silly it is.  My parents get that but they still can’t wait for me to do a Walt Disney movie.

Lena:  Do they come to any of your shows?

Jon Lajoie:  No, they are not allowed to come to any of my shows.  It’s bad enough that I think my dad watches all of the videos and he’ll filter them because I’ll know when I make a video my mom will email me, “Oh, I really like the new video”, that’s my dad watching it going, okay you can watch it, shit.  I think she was allowed to watch one I did recently that was a commercial, a PSA I did, “You Are Not Alone” where I am smoking cigarettes.  She just didn’t like that I was smoking cigarettes, too.  She was like, “You didn’t swear or say anything that bad, but you seemed to be enjoying that cigarette too much, Jon.”

Lena:  Do you smoke?

Jon Lajoie:  Well, I love smoking when I drink and I had to stop about a month ago because I got pneumonia and I was going to Iceland.  It was really bad and now I’ve decided, as I have many times before, that I am just never going to smoke again because I really can’t perform but who knows.  Drunk Jon does whatever the hell he wants, you know, so…  I don’t know how that works.  Hopefully I can convince him to do otherwise.

Lena:  Yeah, it’s so bad for you.

Jon Lajoie:  It’s horrible.  It’s so stupid, so stupid.

Lena:  “High School Reunion” was my favorite episode of “The League” especially when you were “chatting up” your lady friend and you stopped to answer the phone.  That still makes me laugh.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, yeah, when we were having a good conversation there.

Lena:  Yeah, there you go!

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, those scenes are so awkward to shot and that girl has been like Taco’s, you know, toy in so many episodes.  They are always like do you want Ariel to come back?  I’m like, yeah, we’ve already gotten past the awkward stage, so now it’s like what do you want us to do?  Alright, sorry, ha, ha we try to lighten it up and everything.  Yeah, those are so awkward to shoot.  Even being naked, I’m not a guy who’s comfortable walking around naked so, so many of those scenes at least they are comedic and funny.  I don’t mind that.  I’ll be like, yeah, I’ll be naked and it will be funny because Andre’s painting me.   That’s funny, you know.

Lena:  So now do you go fully naked or do you wear the “cock sock”?  (In case you don’t know, that is the industry term for a goody bag that is fastened around the male junk so it doesn’t offend anyone on the set.  Actually I really don’t know, I heard it on “Conan” and I have been dying to slip that gem into a conversation at some point, sorry Jon.  Apparently Jon also required tape to secure everything, so perhaps he doesn’t need my apology, ahem.)

Jon Lajoie:  I have the “cock sock” and a bit of tape and everything.  It’s always so embarrassing because last time it was funny, there is this little costume guy, he’s this little tiny gay Mexican guy and he was great.  He kept coming back and it was really hot on a summer night and the tape was undoing because of the sweat.  The transport guys, who are the tough guys that drive everything around, the big trucker dudes, well I’m upstairs in Andre’s condo and we are between takes and I’m basically naked and the guys like on his knees in my crotch and all the transport guys walk by and I’m like, yeah we just have to tape it up for the scene.  I was just like, “so did you guys watch the game”.  It was so funny and so embarrassing.  Well, that’s all part of being silly.  You have to do silly things.

Lena:  Now do you take that stuff home with you when you are done?

Jon Lajoie:  No, I try not to and those episodes are always so awkward for me to watch, too.  Well, yeah, the socks we try to throw those out as quickly as possible.

Lena:  So you don’t autograph it and put it up for your fans?

Jon Lajoie:  Uh, I should do that.

Lena:  Someone would buy it.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, so gross.

Lena:  People buy crazy stuff.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, yes.  I’ll sell them.  They are going on Ebay tonight.

Lena:  There you go!  You could get a lot of money.

Jon Lajoie:  That’s a good idea.

Lena:  What is the world like according to Taco?

Jon Lajoie:  I mean, it’s his world that he lives in and his world is basically on a day to day basis.  He figures something out and he has some idea in his head and he is going to do that thing like the vinegar strokes or even if it’s a monkey chasing him.  He has always something specific to do and it’s always something self involved in his mind and it rarely exists in the real world.  They are just things that, even the “Eskimo brothers” thing, I like to think that it exists that it’s more just him initiating all that and it’s happening because he’s doing it and all that stuff.  He lives in Tacoville and it is pleasant there.  Not much stress in Tacoville, unless there is a monkey chasing you.

Lena:  What is it like working with the cast?

Jon Lajoie:  They are the funniest people in the world.  I just laugh basically all the time.  I ruin most takes.  I’m the first one that will crack, Nick will be the second one and then as soon as we crack everyone else will crack except for Paul.  Paul’s really good at holding it.  I think his long improv background helped him learn how to hold everything in.  That makes me laugh even more.  They are all really funny guys.  Nick Kroll is a hilarious dude.  Taco and Ruxin together have such a hilarious dynamic.  Steve Rannazzisi, who plays my brother Kevin, cracks me up too.  He’ll just look at me like, his look to me while we are in character is always,” Oh, I can’t believe you are my younger brother”.  There is love there but he’s always so disappointed that he’s related to me.  It’s all in his eyes and that makes me laugh.  I’ll say something and he will look at me and just that will make me laugh. Mark Duplass of course and Katie Aselton are really award winning film directors and writers and actors and they are sweethearts and extremely talented, sometimes to an intimidating degree.  Paul Scheer is one of the funniest dudes on the planet.  I’m very lucky to be working with all of those dudes.  Even the guest stars are just also the funniest people in comedy.

Lena:  Do you guys do a lot of pranks on the set or is the set just one big prank?

Jon Lajoie:  It almost is.  I mean we’ll do it during scenes.  That is where we will most likely prank each other.  Trying to make each other laugh is basically the prank.  Once in a while we will start a scene and someone’s pants won’t be on, you know that kind of thing.  We will walk into a scene and no pants and then the challenge is to continue doing it and the first person who laughs kind of loses.   They’ll keep shooting until we break or someone laughs.  That person is usually myself.  Oh by the way, Jason Mantzoukas, who plays Rafi is also one of the funniest guys in the world, the funniest guy in the world.

Lena:  Oh yeah, that guy is so funny.  Is he going to come back in season three?

Jon Lajoie:  I believe he is coming back.  We shot some promos and he was in them so it would be silly for him not to come back.

Lena:  When do you start filming?

Jon Lajoie:  Julyish, we are not really sure but July.

Lena:  Are you guys going to Comic-Con?

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah, we are supposed to.  I don’t know if we have confirmation but I’ve never been and I really want to go.

Lena:  Yes, I’m going this year.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, awesome, awesome.  Have you ever been?

Lena:  No.

Jon Lajoie:  I hear it’s awesome.  I definitely want to go and instead of doing a panel we will do one of our shows.  Have you ever been to any of the shows that we did?

Lena:  No.

Jon Lajoie:  It’s basically where we all do a little bit of our own thing and then we do some League specific things and really fill the show.  That’s what we will probably do there and that should be fun.

Lena:  Have you had any character ideas or songs that have failed?

Jon Lajoie:  Oh, I feel like I fail like, for myself I am very judgemental.  Sometimes I will do something and go nah but it’s so impulsive, the way that I work, that I don’t say that I should not have uploaded that.  Basically, there is something in there that is fine.  I’m not a fan of that thing and if I am going to show someone something I did I am going to go, look at this and look at that and don’t look at these things.  I’ve never taken anything off that I wasn’t happy with.  If I feel in the moment impulsive or whatever, I just throw it up there.

Lena:  Do you ever slip into one of your characters at say the DMV or on a first date?  Do you ever do that on purpose?

Jon Lajoie:  Oh boy, on a first date people are usually really surprised at how uninteresting I am.  Not really how uninteresting I am but how boring.  They expect like oh my God a wacky guy, “Show Me Your Genitals” and everything and then I’m kind of boring, you know.

Lena:  You don’t show up as MC Vagina to get the party going?

Jon Lajoie:  Yo, hey!   That would be the saddest.

Lena:    I don’t know.  It would be interesting.

Jon Lajoie:  You know he’s got a way with the ladies.  I mean if you look at a lot of these famous rappers they are doing exactly what he’s doing and they’re doing fine so maybe if I do show up like him I’d be more interesting.

Lena:  He dresses like Rocko from “Rocko’s Modern Life”, different colors but he reminds me of Rocko.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah he does, that’s true.  Hey, it’s going to come back.  It’s coming full circle.  That outfit is going to be awesome soon.  Hopefully not, but maybe, I think it will.

Lena:  Around here, probably.  I think I saw some of that already today.  (Walking around Foxwoods I saw a ton of old men that were pretty much dressed like MC Vagina.)

Jon Lajoie:  In the airport I saw an old MC Vagina.  I saw an old guy in the shorts and in this whatever they are called, Hawaiian shirts and the glasses.  It was really funny.

Lena:  I saw something about a movie that you are doing, “Ass Backwards” with Vincent D’Onofrio and John Cryer.

Jon Lajoie:  That is interesting.  My friend said that was on my IMDB and I checked it out the other day and I have no idea what that is.

Lena:  Really?

Jon Lajoie:  I don’t know why I am credited on it.

Lena:  It says you are a character in it.

Jon Lajoie:  Yeah and IMDB is usually fairly strict with those things.  I mean, I’ll take the credit but no I did not, I have no idea.  My friend was like, “dude you got a role”.

Lena:  I just did an interview with Vincent D’Onofrio and he didn’t mention that as an upcoming project.

Jon Lajoie:  No, I’m not in that movie.  That is probably why he didn’t mention it.

Lena:  So what other projects do you actually have coming up?

Jon Lajoie:  I’ve been working on this musical for a long time.  One of my dreams or goals, short term or long term goals is to finish writing this musical that is basically a classic musical but with my sensibilities.  I’ve written a lot of music for it and I’ve just been playing around with it for a while and it’s not like sitting down and writing “Everyday Normal Guy” and being three minutes so it’s a long laborious process.  That is one of the things that I really want to do.  Also, to eventually have my own kind of sketch show in the veins of “Monty Python” and “Kids in the Hall”. Growing up that was my dream, to write sketches and I’m doing that now so it’s not like I need a show to do it but it would be fun because my idols like “Kids in the Hall” and then “Monty Python” they did it and I would love to experiment with that.  And I would like a bit of money to put into budgets because I write with my setup in mind, person standing in front of wall is basically….what could I do if I were standing in front of a wall?  That is kind of how I work, so.

Lena:  Well, it works for you, so..

Jon Lajoie:  So far, I like standing in front of walls.

Lena:  Do you bring that creepy guy with from your videos when you play out?

Jon Lajoie:  Nino, in Montreal I do because he lives in Montreal.  We bring him out on stage.

Lena:  I bet no one wants a date with him.

Jon Lajoie:  He’s pretty famous in Montreal now.  He really can’t walk around anymore.  But he’s a nice guy.  He’s been a friend of the family for like forever.  Yeah, he can be creepy.

Lena:  He’s not cute.

Jon Lajoie:  No, no.

Lena:  I told one of my friends that I had an interview with you and he thought it was that guy and I should bring back-up.  He was like, don’t talk to that guy alone.

Jon Lajoie:  Oh no, do not talk to that guy alone.

Lena:  I think I have plenty to work with.

Jon Lajoie:  Perfect, are you sticking around for the show?

Lena:  Oh, of course!

 

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