King Bach has been popping up in a lot of places this fall. The Florida-bred Vine star-turned-actor plays the grail-obsessed Bobby on Sneakerheads, the new sitcom by Complex Networks on Netflix. He also appears in Drake’s “Popstar,” music video, turning up with Justin Bieber in a supercar-littered parking lot. And you can currently catch him in Holidate, Netflix’s silly new seasonal romcom.
But the place Bach yearns to be the most this holiday season? Rexdale.
Little-known fact: Bach was born (as Andrew Bachelor) in the humble neighbourhood in Toronto’s northwest corner, before moving to West Palm Beach when he was 2. It’s a cool tidbit—or at least it is to me, seeing as I’m from Rexdale myself. We’ve only got a handful of celebs to call our own—Nav, P.K. Subban, and Rob Ford being a few. Bach, it turns out, can be included in that esteemed list.
“My Christmas holidays, I always spend in Rexdale,” says Bach, whose parents were Jamaican immigrants to Canada. “My family still lives there. A lot of them are in Scarborough now, but yeah, everyone’s still out there.”
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, he won’t get a chance to visit them this year. Still, Bach takes his low-key Canadian heritage seriously. During our Zoom chat, there’s a painting behind him that’s about as on-the-nose as it gets: a dude ripping his shirt open to reveal a red maple leaf. “That’s hometown, baby!” he declares.
"I've been to Drake’s house once. It was at NBA All-Star Weekend and I remember, he has a basketball gym in his house.... And he and Kevin Hart, they picked two random people and they were betting $10,000 per shot."
Bach shot to fame in 2013 when his uproarious, self-deprecating videos on Vine started going mega-viral, eventually making him the most popular user on the now-defunct platform with 15 million followers. He was able to parlay his social media success into a spot on talent agency UTA’s roster, and recurring roles on House of Lies and The Mindy Project. He insists acting was really the endgame all along.
“Social media actually happened by accident,” Bach remarks. “You know, I did the social media to make a reel to show other producers and directors what I could do, what I could accomplish. And then, along the way, I started to get a little fanbase and I just went with it.
“But my mindset was always to do movies and television. I never lost focus. A lot of people, they kind of get trapped in the social media stage of just like, ‘Oh, look how many followers I can get, look how many likes I can get,’ which for me, that was never really the case. I was always trying to perfect my craft and be the best actor I could be. I mean, I guess it's shown by the amount of work I've been doing.”
“Dating without titles, that's what 2020 is all about. That's what everyone's doing nowadays."
It’s easy to see why casting directors have been coming for the King. On Sneakerheads, he steals every scene he’s in, winning you over with his kinetic, half-improvised, class-clown energy. You can’t help but love him, even if his character Bobby is ultimately destructive, leading protagonist Devin (Allen Maldonado) on a series of fool’s errands in search of a mythical pair of Jordan ‘Zeroes.’ “He’s not good,” Bach says of Bobby. “He’s a toxic kind of guy. He’s very passionate, but he’s passionate for reasons that aren’t really logical.”
He’s a force in Holidate too, giving a side-splitting performance as Luke Bracey’s spastic best friend. Though he doesn’t get the most screen time, he still gives it maximum effort. When asked about the movie, Bach even takes a moment to meditate on the romcom’s subtext about modern-day situationships. “Dating without titles, that's what 2020 is all about. That's what everyone's doing nowadays. I mean, it gets complicated—it gets very complicated. But that's just what people are doing now: getting to know each other for a very long time.”
One person Bach himself has gotten to know for a very long time—in a strictly platonic sense—is Director X. Any time he’s in Toronto, Drake’s go-to collaborator is one of the first people the actor hits up. “I’m mostly chilling with him all the time whenever I’m there,” he says. “We just go out to different clubs, different bars, we go to his office—just really vibing in the city.” That friendship is what led Bach and his crew to appear in the “Popstar” video, which X helmed. “Julien (Director X) hit me up and said, ‘Yo, we’re doing this music video for Drake. Bieber’s gonna be Drake. Can you call up some of your boys to be your boys in the video?’ And then we just made it happen quick, since we’re in a pandemic. It was easy.”
Of course, Drizzy himself wasn’t present at the shoot. However, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that every real Torontonian has a Drake story, no matter how tangentially related to The Boy it may be. And Bach’s certainly does not disappoint.
“I've been to Drake’s house once. It was at NBA All-Star Weekend and I remember, he has a basketball gym in his house—like a full court in his house, downstairs. And he and Kevin Hart, they picked two random people and they were betting $10,000 per shot. And I was just like, 'Oh, you guys… You guys spend money. You guys got moneyyy'. And they were just two random people! They didn't know no background about them, they didn't know if these guys played high school ball, college ball, nothing. [Drake] just said, ‘I pick you, and then Kevin, you pick him.’ And they just did it.”
Just for the record, he adds: “I think Drake actually won.”
Every successful person has a moment they can point to where it felt like they'd "made it." Perhaps this wasn't Bach's, but it might as well have been. From Rexdale to Drake’s house to Hollywood, the guy's come a long way. Started from the bottom, now he’s here.