The last time BroBible spoke with singing/songwriting YouTube phenom Jon Lajoie, he was just an "Everyday Normal Guy" enjoying a spike in fame from his hilarious take on Michael Jackson's death. A year and a half later, Lajoie is cementing his mainstream celebrity after two seasons of playing Taco — the original stoner Eskimo Bro — on FX's "The League." The Canadian comedian recently released I Kill People, his highly anticipated follow-up album to You Want Some of This? The new collection includes hilarious viral favorites like "WTF Collective 1" and "2," "The Chatroulette Song," and "The Birthday Song."
Fresh on the heels of the release of his latest viral video, we spoke with Lajoie yesterday about a wide range of topics, including his role on "The League," the Wu-Tang Clan, hitting on Cameron Diaz, how he gets his hockey fix in L.A., his thoughts on d-bag anonymous Internet commenters, and whether or not it's a good idea to get stoned and listen to Ted Williams' voice. The new video and full interview is below.
BroBible: We just finished watch your latest video, the drug commercial for “Retaphin.” I particularly enjoyed the Tom Waits references. Are you a fan?
Jon Lajoie: Yeah, yeah. I’m a huge fan. I love Tom Waits. Funny story, actually. I was a huge Tom Waits fan and I met with this guy from Epitaph Records when I was putting out my first album. I ended up releasing it independently, but the guys who run it are like this dude from that punk band... NOFX and Bad Religion. They told me they were at Tom Waits’s house and he showed them “Everyday Normal Guy.” I was totally like, "You just looked up the people that I liked and the artists that influenced me and stuff and you’re just trying to f*cking butter me up." And the guy was like, "No, I swear, blah, blah, blah." It ended up being true. I was like "Duuuude." That is the one thing in my three years of doing this that totally freaked me out. It’s like, "Holy shit. Awesome." Since then, Tom Waits hasn’t said anything else, but still, that was pretty awesome.
You just dropped the video. I feel like every time you drop a video there’s so much buzz around it. How many YouTube views do you think this is going to hit?
I’d say in like a month... It depends because sometimes it goes up very fast and then it stops. But it will be over a million in a month... or more, I don’t know. Probably, maybe less. In a year, it could probably be five million? I’d guess between three or five million, if it takes off. Sometimes they don’t and that’s fine. This one is kinda a bit more obscure. I was very aware when I was writing it that not everyone is going to get this one. It’s not really about me c*mming too fast or something. Those are a lot easier for people to get. But, I don’t know.
The last time we talked to you was right after “Michael Jackson is Dead” but before “The League.” Now that you’re Hollywood A-list, how would you say life has changed for you since then?
Oh boy, that’s a pretty sad A-list. If you were to compare it to hockey, I would say I’m still pee-wee. Do you guys have pee-wee here?
Oh, ok. I thought maybe it was just a Canadian thing. I’m like phantom “C” right now. But, I mean, it’s good. I love the work on “The League.” It’s literally an awesome show for me to go on because they take a lot of my creative input, so it’s really, really awesome. But in terms of like my life daily, absolutely nothing has changed since I’ve been on “The League,” which I kinda enjoy quite a bit. There are a few people who come up to me on the street and are like, "Hey! What’s up, Taco?" and I’m like, "Hm... What’s up?" But, I’m not like... I guess I pay more for my prostitutes now. They’re like fifty bucks now. I guess I’m kinda splurging a bit.
What a pitfall of fame...
It’s horrible. But, I mean, it’s a small show on cable. I have a supporting role on a cable show. It’s a little preemptive for my life to be changing drastically.
You have all these different hats you wear as Taco on “The League,” especially this past season. There was the week when you were the notary, then another week you’re this samurai warrior. Are you the one coming up with these roles?
No. My character is a bit more of a college version of “Kramer,” I guess. Like, I’m that guy where every show they’ll write something different. What I get to do is they’ll say, "O,K., this week you are doing martial arts and you have a sword called a “Niganta” and in the end this is going to happen and this is what your character does. O.K., now we’re going to shoot the scene. You’re going to walk in and scare them with your sword." So I get to walk in there and say whatever I want and play around. The director, Jeff Schaffer, will guide you and tell you what direction to go and what direction not to go. But it’s literally within that grid of "This is what your character is doing," that I can do anything. But, yeah, I’m not coming up with "Oh, Taco’s a notary this week." That’s Jeff and Jackie.
I get to have fun with the songs. They’ll literally go, "O.K., Niganta song. It has to sound like it confuses the Niganta for another thing" and they say, "just go to town." And I go to town and come back with a song and they’ll tinker around with it, but I literally come up with the music and lyrics before Jeff and Jackie come back with a final version. They’ll literally go, "O.K., a song about vinegar strokes. Go." There’s really that much freedom and it’s just fun and awesome. It’s generous that the creators allow me to do that.
Will the day ever come when Taco stops smoking pot?
Ha. I think he seems permanently stoned. I think he’s smoked so much weed that he’s almost permanently stoned regardless of whether or not he smokes weed. I don’t know, man. There could be a life-changing moment to this guy when he becomes a lawyer like his brother when he stops smoking weed. And then he’ll be less funny, I guess. I don’t know how much Niganta-wielding he’ll be doing when he’s not stoned. That’s how he functions.
One of the big songs on your album is the “Chatroulette Song.” Now that Chatroulette blew its wad and is pretty much irrelevant, I’m curious how much time you spent trolling Chatroulette while you were writing that.
That’s funny. That was like that weird month where everyone was talking about Chatroulette. It’s almost like when I wrote the song about Michael Jackson dying -- it was really in the moment. I go, “Man, everyone’s talking about Chatroulette and how cool it is.” I really thought it was an amazing idea. I really sat at my computer going, "Holy f*ck. I can sit down, click on this button, and some random person on the other side of the world is going to be staring at me and I’m going to be staring at them, and we can talk. That’s a f*cking amazing, amazing tool.” It’s fascinating. I was like, “O.K., I’m going to try this... O.K., this guy’s ejaculating. Oh, this guy’s on his way to ejaculating.” It’s just dicks! It’s just dicks! It doesn’t matter. Man, human beings could invent amazing things, but all we’re going to use it for is to jerk off in front of each other. I thought that was kinda funny, so I was like "f*ck it." So I wrote the song because everyone was talking about Chatroulette. And then like a month later, everyone was like, "Ah, righ, f*ck Chatroulette. It’s just stupid people jerking off." That’s a natural progression when all you see is people jerking off, unless you’re just one of those dudes who just wants to stare at other dudes jerking off while you masturbate. If not, then you’re probably total into Chatroulette.
How f*cking crazy is that, though? Can you imagine like a hundred years ago? You have this machine and you press it and then some person on the other side of the planet — you know, that place where it takes us 12 months to travel to — well you press a button and you can talk to someone there in two seconds. That will never happen! That is a crazy invention of aliens! No, it will happen, I swear. And then you go and progress towards all these years and then, finally, you invent this thing that can do that! And it’s all just guys jerking off in front of each other. It’s so sad.
Maybe that’s something mankind has suppressed for so damn long...
Absolutely. But that’s the thing. Everything that’s running the show is that we want to c*m. Dude, we all want to f*cking ejaculate. That’s our life’s goal. That’s why we do everything. It’s like, “Oh, maybe this will be easier. Fuck it, I’ll just jerk off in front of someone in Germany.” Whatever.
Now that you’re legitimately on television and a huge YouTube sensation, have you had any awkward encounters with any fans?
Yeah, it can get awkward at live shows. Mostly people are super cool and it’s awesome. But sometimes you’ll do a live show and there’s this guy there and he watches my stuff and he’s like, "Dude, we totally have the same sense of humor. I also write songs." One time this guy was talking to me after a show while I’m taking my stuff off the stage and shaking people’s hands. I’m also trying to relax and have a beer. This guy is like, "I swear to God, I’ll play you one of my songs right now and you’ll love it." I’m like, "Dude, don’t play a song right now." But he’s like, "Dude, I have it on my iPod or I can grab a guitar and I’ll sing you the song right now. I swear you’re going to love it." I go, "First of all, even if I hate your song — which I probably will — I’m not going to tell you because you’re playing it in front of me, regardless of how weird and awkward that moment is going to be. I’m not going to be honest with you. I’m a nice guy, so I’ll be like 'Yeah! Awesome dude!' So, even if your song is amazing, you won’t know it’s amazing because I’m just going to say it’s awesome just to shut you up and get you out of my face." I told this to the guy. It was fine and afterward he wandered away. But I had a beer and was just like, "Let’s hang out and have a beer. Just don’t play me a f*cking song."
A lot of that stuff happens. A lot of people want to collaborate and do something together. I get it. I understand. It’s flattering that people want to. But, a lot of times people think, "Oh, I know this guy because we have a similar sense of humor and we should be friends and hang out." But I’m like, "No thank you. But thank you, I guess?"
You live in L.A. and work in entertainment, so I imagine you run into your fair share of celebrities. Have you experienced any awkward celebrity run-ins?
I don’t really hang in many celebrity circles, but I guess I do come across people. I’m so not accustom to seeing people because, like, I’m from Montreal. I don’t automatically see someone and go, "That is this person, that is this person."
I was at this party one time. It was a little dark but there was this cute girl there and we make eye contact. I’m like, "Oh man, that girl is cute." She seems kinda familiar and I’m like, "Maybe I’ve talked to her before." But I’m like, "Oh man, I’ve got to go talk to that girl. She’s cute." I’m hanging out with my buddy and then I go inside. I keep seeing this girl and I’m like, "Fuck, I have to go talk to this cutie." I’m getting a beer and my friend is like, "How crazy is that, dude? Drew Barrymore is on my balcony." And I’m like, "That’s why she looks familiar! It was Drew Barrymore!" And then I didn’t go talk to her because I was too chickenshit.
But how funny would that have been if I was like, "Hey girl, what’s your name?" She’s like, "Drew." And then half-way into hitting on her I realize it’s Drew Barrymore? I would love to have a video tape of the realization that "Oh my God, I’m talking to 'ET' girl." That could have been a pretty awkward situation. Or if we set up a date and then in the light I’m like, "Oh my God. This is Drew Barrymore."
One time I was at one of those after-party MTV Awards parties or something. I’m awkward socially, so I end up just standing by the bar and drinking a lot, because that’s doing something. I’m not just standing there like an idiot. I’m not like, "Oh, I don’t know 10,000 people"’ so when I go out with a few people I get a little awkward in those situations. I really am kind of weird, socially, so I just drink and drink.
I got to a point where I was drunk enough and I see Cameron Diaz dancing a few feet away from me. In my head I was like, "You know what? One more drink, I’m totally going to f*cking hit on Cameron Diaz. I’m doing this." I swear to God I was about to do it. My buddy is going how hilarious would it be if I got a date with Cameron Diaz. I’m not like a “Cameron Diaz guy,” so my buddy is like it would be hilarious if. My agent is there and he’s goes, "Don’t hit on Cameron Diaz. You’re wasted." The next day I call my buddy and I’m like, "Dude... I didn’t f*cking...?" And he’s like, "No, we stopped you from talking to her." I could barely remember it because that was how drunk I was at the time.
You’re known for being such a big hockey fan. How many games to you get to attend out in L.A.?
I went to a few when I was back in Montreal. My fellow Montrealers are going to hate me for this, but I have a buddy here from Toronto and I went to the L.A.-Maple Leaf game the other day. Surprisingly, they won. It was awesome. The Habs and Maple Leafs are a classic rivalry, so I was a huge traitor doing that. But, I’m also Canadian and being in an arena watching hockey, you kind of feel at home. For some reason it’s really zen when you’re there and like, "Wow, this is who I am." So, I have to forgo my favorite team loyalty to get my fix.
I’m not the biggest hockey fan. I mean, I’m a fan and I do follow the Habs, but as soon as you get to Los Angeles, you can’t see a game on TV and no one gives a shit. It doesn’t snow. There’s no ice. It’s so hard. I follow my team on Twitter and I talk to my brothers back home quite a bit and they always fill me in. But it’s kind of hard to be a die-hard hockey fan in LA.
Now that you’ve lived in the States for a few years, what do you think is the biggest misunderstanding Americans have about Canadians?
I guess everyone has this preconception that we’re all very nice. I know a bunch of a**holes! A bunch of Canadian just f*cking cocksuckers. People are always like, "Oh every Canadian I meet is very nice." We’re also very hypocritical. We’ll smile in your face, but then just be like, "f*cking a**hole." We are a**holes also, we just hide it well. I think that’s the biggest misconception. We’re just smiling in your faces, basically, and talking the f*ck behind your back. We’re all a**holes, but we hide it well from you guys.
Obviously YouTube was a big part of your career. But, is there anything you just f*cking hate about the Internet?
Tons of f*cking things I hate. The Internet is amazing. It’s a crazy human tool that we’ve created and out of control. It’s like weird, futuristic shit.
The thing that sucks is that it kind of allows everyone and anyone who wants to hide in a little corner and comment, or review, or talk about your shit. The way I can equate it is kind of like being at a comedy show. If I’m doing stand-up and I’m in a good crowd with a bunch of people there, if people don’t like it, they don’t laugh. They’ll heckle you, but I’m in the room so I can respond to that. I’m accountable. A heckler will at least be like, "Yo, I don’t like your shit, and I’m telling you. What do you have to say about that?" I could put him in his f*cking place. It’s ballsy to be a heckler, in a way. "Oh yeah, mother f*cker? All right." And then you go at it.
But on the Internet, I can’t respond to a zillion people hiding in their mom’s basements going, "Gay. This is so gay." Everyone has a f*cking opinion. I’d love to set up a webcam thing for people to say it to my face. I don’t care if you don’t like my stuff. You can say it to my face! It gives all these guys with no kind of balls or anything to hide away and comment on life and shit.
But, In a way, it’s amazing. It allows people like me to have a creative outlet. Everyone owns the theater. You can put on any play, do any music show, do any stand-up show. You just have to get people to come to your theater. And it’s free! It’s f*cking fantastic to have a creative outlet like that.
Is this why you rarely update your Twitter account?
I just don’t have that instinct yet. Sometimes I’m thinking, "Oh, I should Tweet something. What’s the last thing I Tweeted?" I usually Tweet when I’m taking a shit. I’m sitting there on my phone and I’m like, "Oh, I should Tweet something." And I come up with a joke or something. I don’t think people need to know if I went and bought a Vitamin Water at CVS or if I walked by a restaurant and the food smelled good. LOL! When I have something to say, I’ll say it on Twitter, but a lot of the time I don’t have a lot to say.
I read that you were a big "Kids in the Hall" fan growing up. Did you have a favorite sketch?
A ton of favorite sketches. I have one that I always quote. It’s just a monologue by Bruce McCulloch about how he’s wearing a bikini inspector T-shirt. It’s so funny. He was probably on the beach and saw a guy with a “bikini inspector” T-shirt. But he wrote this monologue about how he’s an actual bikini inspector and he doesn’t understand why guys pretend to be bikini inspectors when they’re clearly not. He’s like, "It’s a normal job. I got to take the bus there every day. Seven bucks an hour — that’s ain’t good. Shit work." He talks about how being a bikini inspector sucks. Then he talks about this other job that he had when he was on the Beaver Patrol. He talks about breaking up beaver dams in the forests of Canada. It’s a tough job. And then I go into the bar at night — proud of my work, wearing my T-shirt that says ‘I’m on the beaver patrol’ — and women just stare at ya. His last thing is like, ‘I’m going to quit the beaver patrol and become a muff diver. I don’t know what that is, but I read it on a T-shirt once." That’s one of my favorite things.
I didn’t really know it as a kid watching Bruce McCulloch sing the song, "These Are the Daves That I Know," but I thought it was hilarious as a kid. As I got older and started writing comedy songs, I was like, "This mother f*cker just wrote a song about the people he knows named Dave." It’s hilarious and crazy. Almost brave in a comedic sense.
Also I’ve heard you consider Wu-Tang pretty high up there with your influences.
When I was in high school I listened to a lot of rap and Wu-Tang was one of the groups that I listened to. They especially influenced “MC Confusing” in the “WTF Collective.” It’s definitely like Wu-Tang clan. If you actually listen to the Wu-Tang Clan when they’re rapping, it makes absolutely no sense. They’re just trying to follow this story about Shoin temples and martial arts, but they’re saying nothing. But they’re still a big influence. I just listened to them so much that they’re a big influence on the hip-hop side. “WTF Collective” was basically my Wu-Tang Clan, if I could do a Wu-Tang Clan thing.
One last question. If you were to give advice to someone who wanted to become a YouTube sensation and transition it to Hollywood, what would you tell them?
Say f*ck a lot and show titties in your videos. That would probably help a lot. Honestly, you can’t really look at it that they’re that different, because in five years they’re not really going to be that different. Already TV and the Internet is the same thing: It’s just people watching a screen. To not treat when you’re making videos like it’s just a thing you’re going to do. You have to treat it as if it’s television. People are going to sit down and watch this, so it has to be good. I have to spend time on it doing something I really enjoy doing and want to do. Even if you have a camera that’s worth like $300 and you’re using stolen editing software. It doesn’t matter. You want to make a product that people can enjoy whether it’s on a big screen or a small screen. And then that transition will be salient.
Some people are amazing on YouTube and I love them to death. Some people you can just see that they’re like, “I got nothing. I got nothing to say! But I’m trying to get people to watch my videos and stuff.” Really, you have an opportunity to do what you want to do. Pretend that it’s television. But don’t take your audience for granted and say, "this is just an Internet video. It doesn’t have to be perfect." If you’re going to do something, do it right. Hopefully.
If not, you can always blow homeless people for cocaine. Which is a weird thing. Like, I’ve done that before, and I’m like, "Why am I blowing homeless people? They only have change. I should be blowing people with jobs."
What about the homeless dude with the voice who now has a job because of YouTube?
That’s actually f*cking AMAZING. I actually love that story. It’s pretty awesome. Where the f*ck did he get that voice, dude?
He’s a genetic mutant. It’s unbelievable.
How f*cking crazy would it be if you smoked a joint and got high and went out in the street and this homeless guy with that voice asked you for change. In Ted Williams’s voice: "Excuse me, do you have any change?" You’d freak the f*ck out. You’d be like, "I don’t know man, I’m tripping out. This homeless guy came up to me with a newscaster voice, dude. WHAT THE FUCK?!"