The Next Chapter

Jay Baruchel reveals a few of his favourite things and biggest regrets in the Proust questionnaire

The Montreal-raised actor and director is the author of the memoir Born Into It.
Born Into It is Jay Baruchel's first book. (HarperCollins Canada)

Better known as a successful actor, Ottawa-born, Montreal-raised Jay Baruchel is also a lifelong hockey fan. His favourite team is the Montreal Canadiens, a fact he explores in his humorous memoir, Born Into It.

Below, Baruchel takes The Next Chapter's version of the Proust Questionnaire.

Name your favourite writers.

"I adore Stephen King because he has this kind of God-given ability to describe a kind of terror using very recognizable reference points. He has a way of of making you feel the grossest stuff by comparing into stuff that we all know. I adore Hugh MacLennan because Two Solitudes is my favourite book and as important a book as Canada has ever produced. And then what I like about Dylan Thomas, aside from the surplus of worm imagery in his poems, is the rage of the individual against civilisation. There's a sort of darkness and purity and a belief in good and evil that permeates all of Thomas's poems. I also just like his words a lot."

Tell me about your favourite character in fiction.

"My favourite character in fiction would probably have to be Homer Simpson. No fictional character is as consistently hilarious and compelling as Homer is. Homer can be plugged into any situation and it will yield amazing results. He has evolved over time. There are a few characters that just by looking at them in a certain scenario you know how it's going to unfold and yet it can still surprise you. They still find ways to make them new and funny and surprising."

What phrase do you most overuse?

"'How are ya?' Or, 'large fries.' I'm definitely a terrible culprit when it comes to using the word 'literally' too much. I'm literally the worst at it. I fall in and out of love with turns of phrase and I end up using them to death. So I've been using the phrase 'in earnest' more than I'm comfortable with."

What do you value most in your friends?

"Their ability to donate organs to my body? No, I would say loyalty, goodness and shared sense of humour."

On what occasions do you lie?

"Wherever possible. I will lie if I have to. If there's a fib that is part of the path of least resistance then I will definitely tell it. Or, if it's to spare somebody feeling crummy, I'll maybe fib again."

What is your greatest regret?

"I will answer this in earnest. My greatest regret would be not doing any time in the army or going to the Royal Military College in Kingston. There's still a residual kind of self-shame about that. As quaint and outdated as this term is, I'm a patriot and I adore this country and I was raised to do so. My mom's family is pretty much a military family. My granddad was a career soldier. My mom grew up in an army base. Most of her sisters married soldiers. I grew up with a real sense of pride in this country and an obligation to serve it."

Who are your favourite heroes in real life?

"My mother. Roméo Dallaire. George Beurling, Canada's Greatest World War II ace."

What is your favourite occupation?

"The one that I currently have. I got to direct two movies. I've gotten to do a bunch of writing. It's all I've wanted to use since I was little kid. So it's pretty cool."

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

"Approaching the end of this? No, perfect happiness would be having a good book to read and a good movie to watch and hanging out with my lady. Having a good meal and knowing I will get to see my friends and family."

What is your greatest extravagance?

"You said that like you're hitting on me. Are you undressing me with your words? My greatest extravagance would be I buy a lot of Blu-ra​ys and movies of various formats. And I buy weed."

What is your greatest achievement?

This. No. I would say it's a toss up between having a book published and having been allowed to direct two movies. And convincing my lady to stick around with me.