Meet Dan Levy
The bespectacled offspring of comic legend Eugene Levy is taking MTV -- and its legions of fans -- by storm
REBECCA ECKLER | October 22, 2007 |
Dan Levy, the co-host of MTV's The Hills After Show, doesn't like talking about himself. It makes him queasy, he says, which definitely sets him apart from the reality stars of the show he comments on every week, The Hills(also on MTV). Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, privileged twentysomethings who spend their time balancing friendships, boyfriends and trendy jobs in L.A., are all about being talked about.
Unfortunately for the Toronto-born Levy, the 24-year-old is making a name for himself in the entertainment world both here and south of the border. The tall, handsome offspring of comedic actor Eugene Levy is becoming almost as famous as his famous father. "I've never talked about it," he says about being the son of one of Canada's most beloved actors. "I don't really volunteer that information."
That's not to say his father hasn't had an impact on him(or that they don't look remarkably the same, down to height and choice of eyeglasses). "It's a weird thing. I guess the gene got passed down or that I always saw what was around me. From a young age, I knew I wanted to do something in theatre or film. It just felt natural," he says.
And Levy does seem to be fitting into the role of television personality nicely. "I love you Dan!" a twentysomething screams out during a commercial break at the Masonic Temple in Toronto one recent evening at a taping. The Canadian-made After Show, hosted by Levy and quirky co-host Jessi Cruickshank, airs immediately after The Hills on Monday evenings. The show has done so well that MTV's American website recently picked it up.
The Hills After Show is brilliant in its simplicity. MTV invites 50 viewers into the studio(need I add that 98 per cent of these viewers are women; the other two per cent are boyfriends who've been dragged along)to watch the show, and then Levy and Cruickshank discuss it. Other viewers can call in with their thoughts or appear via webcam on air. Part of the appeal of the After Show is that Levy and Cruickshank understand that what goes on during The Hills is, as Levy puts it, "just completely high drama that's also completely unnecessary." The duo make fun of the drama while at the same time taking it completely seriously. "At first, when the show aired, I was like, 'Why must people show up to a party when they know it's going to cause insane drama?' But after watching the show so many times, I feel pretty in tune with it. I'm a far more well-rounded person because of it," he laughs.
Levy studied film at university but admits he should have gone into theatre: "I was just scared of doing what I really wanted to do." He was working as a production assistant at Canadian Idol when a friend who worked at MTV mentioned there was an open audition for on-air personalities. "I didn't expect to get the job," he says. "I had never auditioned for anything." His family didn't expect he'd get it either. "When I told them I was auditioning, they told me, 'You know, you probably won't get it,' " says Levy.
Even when he got a callback for a second audition, his family warned him not to get his hopes up. But then, two years ago, at a Christmas party, he got the call asking if he'd like the job. "When I told my mom, she broke down. Full-on waterworks. It was a very cool holiday," says Levy, who is also one of the hosts of MTV Live.
About four million North Americans tune in each week to watch The Hills. And that includes Eugene. "My dad thinks it's hilarious. He's just a big fan. Both my parents are. And so are my grandparents." In fact, Eugene has been stopped on the street and asked if he's "Dan's father." "He loves to tell that story at family dinners," Levy says. "I think that was the first time he really realized how far-reaching the show was." Far-reaching? "People have named babies after me and Jessi," he says. "The show is a phenomenon."
Being on a "really great television show as an actor" is certainly a goal for his future, he says. "I'd love to do comedies." But, right now, he has 50 young women wanting his attention. The Hills After Show has just finished and the women are hanging around. "It's a crazy estrogen-filled room," Levy says, as his fans walk up to take photos and ask for his autograph. "They all dress up and do their hair to come here to watch the show with us. That's what really warms my heart."