By Lianne Beland
Successful, talented, and charming, actor J.P Manoux has appeared on numerous T.V shows, sitcoms, commercials and movies throughout his career. He is best known for his roles in Phil of the Future, Euro Trip, The Emperor’s new Groove and Community. Although J.P is a born and raised Californian, he spends his summers in Toronto. Fortunately, he was able to take the time to chat with us about his exciting career, summers in Toronto, and his most recent work.
What projects have you recently worked on?
I just finished shooting the first season of Spun Out, a multi-camera sitcom for CTV starring David Foley that will premier in either November or January.
What’s it like being on set for a TV show versus being on set for a movie?
There are a lot of different kinds of TV Shows. Production of a single-camera comedy or drama doesn’t involve an audience, only the actors and the crew. You shoot bits and pieces of scenes and then assemble it all together later, in editing. Spun Out is a lot more like doing theatre than filming a movie or single-camera TV show. It plays out in real time with more than two hundred people sitting in an audience (hopefully eager to laugh). The audience is integral to the process. I prefer what we do on Spun Out. A multi-camera sitcom with a live studio audience is thrilling. We get a big adrenaline rush on show night, just like stage actors get when their curtain goes up. We know immediately if people like what we’re doing or not, and adjust accordingly. Making movies is more of a private event between the cast and crew and they are largely shaped in editing. After that, it’s a private event for the audience.
What’s it like getting to meet other A-star celebrities in Hollywood?
It’s exciting! I still get nervous and starry-eyed when I get to meet one of my idols. We did an episode of Spun Out with all five of the Kids in the Hall, and that was a phenomenal experience for me. I’ve had the opportunity to work briefly with big stars like George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Robert DeNiro. Doing scenes with Glenn Close on Will & Grace and Tony Shalhoub on Monk was pretty fantastic.
Did you always know that you wanted to be an actor?
If I didn’t know it long ago, I certainly demonstrated an early interest in it. I did some children’s theatre in Santa Barbara and suppose I was the proverbial class clown. It wasn’t until college, however, that I realized sketch and improv comedy could actually lead to a career. SNL’s Ana Gasteyer was one of my off-campus roommates when we were both undergraduate theatre majors at Northwestern University, just outside of Chicago. She had a much better understanding about where we were headed than I did. Even though I grew up in Southern California, I never really had any connection to Hollywood, besides knowing that I wanted to be on TV. When I was sixteen, I drove myself to L.A. without my parents knowing and auditioned for Wheel of Fortune: Teen Week. I won a trip to Tahiti! A few later, I “cheated” my way into becoming a contestant on an episode of Jeopardy. On the actual show, I ended up with negative $1300, but got some good stuff for a comedy demo reel. That day on set with a suspicious Alex Trebek was probably my first real test as an actor.
What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Pursue your dream, of course! But, if you’re not already rich, try to keep thinking of acting as a passionate hobby, not a succeed-or-fail situation. Because, if you really do hope to become a WORKING actor with your housing, car payments, and three-meals-a-day paid for with the money you make from acting, good luck. People are not kidding when they say it is the most competitive career path you could choose. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I still feel like I’m constantly scrambling and hustling and desperately competing with my peers, with more famous people who have “dropped down” to work at my level, and with amazingly talented new people. There is never any security. You work for one day, week, or month, you do everything right and everyone loves you… guess what? You’re still fired. Each audition is a new job interview, and I’ve had to interview for more jobs than anyone I know with a more civilian career.
What do you like to do in Toronto on your spare time?
I’m very fortunate that I get to enjoy Toronto in the summertime and run back to Los Angeles as soon as it gets really cold. My neighborhood is Queen West West. I like strolling Ossington and meeting friends at the amazing bars and restaurants that have opened up there and in Parkdale over the past few years. I always look forward to the Toronto International Film Festival and had a blast during TIFF13. Nuit Blanche, an all-night contemporary art event that happens all over the city, is around the corner and is usually a fantastic night. I’m also a season ticket holder for TFC, the Major League Soccer team in town. Even though their record is pretty terrible this year, I’ve enjoyed attending every home game.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Whatever girlfriends didn’t make me throw out.