Jay Baruchel Riffs on Fake Dates, ‘Semen Incidents’ and Other Woes

Love sucks. That much is clear—otherwise it wouldn’t have spawned so many downer pop songs or plotlines over the years. FXX’s latest venture into such well-tread territory, Man Seeking Woman, takes the conceit to a whole new level, turning the most polarizing of emotions into a living, breathing nightmare. The comedy stars Jay Baruchel as Josh Greenberg, a hapless temp returning to the dating world after getting dumped by his longterm girlfriend. What follows are blind dates with actual trolls and nuclear- level anxiety over texting. The 32-year-old Canadian actor of Undeclared fame tackles the role with an understated acuteness, playing the straight man in a world gone mad.

HOW DID SHOOTING GO?It’s a lot of work because this show is incredibly ambitious. We do basically a crazy little movie every week. I’m so in love with what we’re doing. Every day I get to show up on set and be with funny people doing funny shit. It’s hilarious and weird and definitive and unlike anything else on television. I think everyone that watches will have at least one experience in their personal life that they see reflected on our show. And if not, there’s a whole bunch of monsters and aliens and explosions and all sorts of crazy nonsense. It’s a cartoon come to life.

WHAT’S THE MOST SURREAL THING YOU’VE FILMED FOR THE SHOW?I can’t give away too much, but I’ll say I’ve done a scene with Adolf Hitler, and I’ve been covered in semen. But things are looking up.

HOW MUCH OF YOU IS IN JOSH GREENBERG?A fair bit, but he’s more of a sad sack than I am, I hope. He can’t win. His game, his job, everything kind of sucks for him. He’s the prototypical everyman in some ways. He’s a living embodiment of a huge part of me. Hopefully a lot of people will see themselves in him, too. He’s meant to go out there and get his ass kicked by the world so that the audience doesn’t have to.

THE SHOW IS BASICALLY ABOUT ALL THE CRAPPY PARTS OF DATING. WHAT’S THE WORST DATE YOU’VE EVER BEEN ON?I was about 18, going to a children’s theater group production of a British drawing room play with a girl I’d soon find out had a boyfriend. In fact, he was there with us. He wasn’t a huge fan of mine, let’s be honest. But I was privy to all sorts of great conversations about condoms and birth control between the two of them. That was a good time. That was an evening that never ended.

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? SHE DIDN’T THINK IT WAS A DATE, AND YOU DID?That’s the moral of the story. Make sure you both know you’re on a date.

YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING FROM AWARD-WINNING DRAMAS TO INDIE COMEDIES. BUT I CONFESS, AS A FELLOW CANADIAN, I’LL ALWAYS HAVE A SOFT SPOT IN MY HEART FOR POPULAR MECHANICS FOR KIDS [THE EDUCATIONAL SHOW BARUCHEL CO-HOSTED WITH ELISHA CUTHBERT IN 1997].It was the craziest year of my life. I was 15. Some of it was really cool, like hanging out with the guys from Universal Studios’ stunt show in Orlando, Florida, or spending three nights on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier—and then being launched off of it to fly back home was pretty cool. But it wasn’t all great. Often I’d find myself in, say, Bristol, Connecticut, at the Otis Elevator Testing facility, at five o’clock in the morning, having to find a way to pretend I gave a shit about how they test elevators.


By Anna Fitzpatrick. Illustration by Klando.