People love Dan Levy — especially Canadians. This is less of an opinion than it is an observable, material fact of life. You can see it in the obvious effect he’s had on the million-something Canadians who watch “Schitt’s Creek,” this little award-winning TV comedy that Levy both co-created and, brilliantly, stars in. (Maybe you’ve heard of it.)
And his belovedness doesn’t stop where David Rose (Levy’s “Schitt’s Creek” character) does. It turns up everywhere, makes you want to know him more, or be more like him. In a recent interview with GQ magazine, for example, the Canadian was asked to discuss the show’s central love story, which — unlike the fate of many other queer love stories on television — is never interrupted or soured or mutilated by homophobia.
“In a way, I wrote it as a response to my own growing up: trying to see myself on television, and really not seeing gay characters represented casually,” Levy said.
“Every time there was a gay character, it was the butt of a joke, or they were a caricature, or they were in trouble, or they were killed. All of that is representing different elements of the culture — but I never saw a gay character just fall in love, and have it be OK, and become a better person for it.”
And as if his sensitivity and his candour and his charisma weren’t enough, Levy also gave the magazine a look at some of his most treasured, most essential items — all the things he can’t possibly live or work or breathe in this world without.
So if you’re interested in getting to know Dan Levy a little bit more, or in finding new ways to be more like him, here are a few things from his list that might help you to satisfy whichever desire you might have. (Warning: you can’t buy his dog, but you can certainly go out and find your own.)
Bubble tea (or “boba tea,” he can’t tell which one)
“When I am in dark times, oftentimes, I will turn to bubble tea,” says Levy. His favourite is a traditional black milk tea (with tapioca, obviously).
This tracks. Levy is from Toronto, which may as well be the nation’s capital of the Taiwanese tea-based drink. When Toronto’s first bubble tea shop opened in 1993, it set off a chain reaction that would leave the city sprinkled with Chatimes and Real Fruits and Royalteas. Some people love it, some people hate it. (The latter people are wrong.)
“I don’t know what to say,” Levy says in the GQ video. “I always turn to a bubble tea when I need one the most.”
Travel mist (to disinfect everything)
Out there in the internet ether, there’s an incredible video in which the glamorous supermodel Naomi Campbell casually runs through her disciplined, regimented pre-flight routine. “I love travelling,” she says, “I was born travelling” — then vigorously disinfects everything around her seat.
Levy shares a similar habit with the fashion icon, not only because he also loves fashion, but because he’s religiously cautious of his health. “For those of you that aren’t plagued with a fear of germs and getting sick, skip past this item,” Levy says in the interview.
It’s a travel mist, one that you can use to disinfect not only your seat, but also the air around it (apparently). He doesn’t know for sure.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
“Slouching Towards Bethlehem” is an iconic collection of essays by the evermore iconic writer, Joan Didion. It’s a slim and at times devastating book, one that expertly gazes at the complete fragmentation of the American dream throughout the 1960s.
Levy is — if you haven’t figured this out yet — a writer, so it’s no surprise that one of his most essential items is a book written by one of the best. (Interesting, though, that one of his most enduring qualities is his levity, where Joan Didion can scarcely be imagined ever making a joke.)
“She is someone who inspires me a lot. She’s able to articulate her life and observances in very thoughtful and interesting and left-of-centre ways,” Levy explains. “I always like to have one of her books around, because, in times of need, I will turn to it for inspiration and motivation.”
His dog (whose name is Redmond)
He calls him “Red,” but the full name is “Redmond.”
“Would we call him a life partner? I don’t know,” Levy says. “Best friend, confidant.” Redmond is a rescue dog, and you may have seen him before if you follow Levy on Instagram, since he claims a fair amount of the real estate there.
Not only is Redmond a de facto Instagram star, he also has some distant royal blood (distant like Beyoncé, really). Redmond is a dachsund-corgi mix (a “Dorgi”), which is the same breed that the Queen famously owned.
Leather-bound notebook (for thoughts and ideas)
Again: we’re talking about a writer here. And as much as most people today have a phone or a laptop they could easily type things out on — when was the last time you wrote something by hand, anyway? — Levy sometimes prefers the analog, the tactile.
Levy always keeps a leather-bound notebook perched by his bedside, ever-present so that, when he wakes up in the middle of the night and has a thought, he can scribble it down in the pitch dark, only to wake up the next morning completely incapable of reading what it was that he jotted down in the blackness.
“There’s about 10 pages in here of top secret ideas,” Levy says. “Let’s see if they go anywhere.” (They probably will; he recently signed a three-year deal with ABC.)
Loafers and slim-fit, technical fabric slacks (to wear on any occasion)
David Rose, the character, is as much of a fashion buff as Daniel Levy, the real-life person. The latter is known to have had a heavy involvement in dressing the former, and was instrumental in creating some of the show’s most iconic looks.
Levy would scour the internet, sift through vintage shops, and tear through consignment stores all in the hopes of uncovering the perfect, unique items that he knew in his bones his characters would be wearing if they were real, human people.
All of that is to say that Levy is probably trustworthy when it comes to deciding what to wear, and he likes loafers (by Loewe) and pants (by Prada) because they’re versatile enough to wear in any scenario. On loafers: “For those of us who don’t know what we’re doing, these are a great investment to trick people into believing the opposite.”
On trousers: “Not only are they incredibly flattering — they’ve certainly given me an ass, and I normally just have a back that splits into legs — but also they are an amazing dress pant and a great everyday pant.”