Jonah Hill on the Myth of the Dark Artist and the Secret to Happiness

I was curious to bring it up because we’re literally—both of us are engaging, technically, in a movie profile piece. 
Yeah, because we’re not special, and we’re not evolved above anybody else. We’re just lucky. We’re still playing the same game.

Okay, I’ll be totally real. My neighbor here is 92. His name is Geoff. And he’s the reason I moved to the beach, because I was talking to him one day on the deck—I would have lunch with him once a week on the deck. I said, “What’s the deal, man? You’re the happiest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. Why are you so fucking happy?” And he’s like, “I don’t look around at what anybody else is doing. I just live my life, and I don’t look at what other people are doing.” And he passed away two days ago. And the reason I bring this up is because my hero used to be Mike Nichols, but now my hero is Geoff. Literally, if you said, “Who’s your hero?” I’d say Geoff, because this guy lived happy, not giving a fuck about the stupid rat race, and then died at 92 at the beach.

And so for me, I’m not dissing anybody. I’ll post a selfie on Instagram. I don’t give a fuck. I’m just as hypocritical as everybody else. So the point being is it’s all maybe a work in progress to get towards happiness. But the real truth of it is we’re out here selling a movie. You like me, but you can get lunch with me. You’re doing this to help your movie out. I’m doing this because they asked me to be on the cover of a fashion magazine. And ultimately I think that’s cool. My ego is stroked in some way, so I said yes. And cool! Today I’m playing a different game. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be less self-involved.

These social media things have turned our exchanges into, like, slot machines. But guess what? Slot machines can be pretty fun. I’ve played video poker before! I still cheat and have a cigarette occasionally. You know what I did two days ago? I went through a Del Taco drive-through. You know why? Probably because I saw some ad that made it look way better than it is. And I was like, Fuck it, I’m getting a Del Taco.
This is something that I do. I have two boards in my house. [Hill walks to another room in his house and trains his phone camera on two dry-erase boards.] One is a gratitude list: meditation, surfing, therapy, Josh, Chuck, Dana, Bond, smoothies, creativity, and Fig, my dog. And here’s a positive-actions list: pray, meditate, steam, vitamins, wellness shots, surfing with friends, check in with my buddy Tim. So that is all the shit I’ve written down and done today to be positive and healthy.

And at the same time, I smoked a cigarette and did an interview for the cover of GQ. So I’m all of it, dude. I’m all of it. I’m not perfect. I’m not a monster. I’m all of it, dude. But I’m out here trying.

A version of this story originally appeared in the GQStyle Fall/Winter 2021 issue with the title “SuperGood.”

Moderated by Sam Schube
Photographs and artwork by Ed Templeton
Styled by George Cortina
Hair by Johnnie Sapong using Leonor Greyl
Skin by Holly Silius using Retrouvé
Tailoring by Susie Kourinian
Set design by Evan Jourden
Produced by Hinoki Group
Special thanks to Ezra Woods at Pretend Plants & Flowers, and to Paradise Cove, Malibu, California