A native of Canada who began taking acting lessons at the age of 12, Baruchel was first introduced to television audiences through his numerous appearances on the popular small-fry chiller series Are You Afraid of the Dark? Baruchel would next receive his first taste of sitcom life with a leading role on the short-lived sitcom My Hometown (1996). Though he equates his subsequent stint as host of Canadian television's Popular Mechanics for Kids with his mother showing a date his naked baby pictures, the exposure it gave Baruchel got him stateside attention and he soon made his feature debut, as an obsessive Led Zeppelin fan, in director Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.
Relocating to Los Angeles from his hometown of Montréal, Québec for the filming of the cult favorite Undeclared proved an exciting experience. After appearing alongside an impressive cast of young actors in director Roger Avery's The Rules of Attraction (2002), Baruchel made his directorial debut (in addition to producing, editing, writing, and photographing) with the romantic horror-action film Edgar and Jane (2002). Baruchel would continue to find success with comedies, like Knocked Up, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, and She's Out of My League.