Comic Jeremy Hotz allows his anxiety to work for him. Which is convenient because otherwise, he says, he wouldn’t work at all.
“I was pretty aimless as a teenager, I didn’t want to ‘do’, you know? And that hasn’t left. A perfect day for me is when I just wake up and stand there and I don’t have to do anything. That’s a great day,” he says.
“If comedy hadn’t worked out for me, what would I be doing? I would be … umm … homeless. I would be a homeless man,” he deadpans. “But I would be the funniest fucking homeless guy you ever met.”
Hotz grew up in Ottawa and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was a staff writer for the now defunct Jon Stewart Show and appeared in the feature films My Favorite Martian with Elizabeth Hurley and Speed 2 with Sandra Bullock.
He says he was kicked out of school as a kid and didn’t really gain acceptance until high school.
“They sent me to see a psychologist when I was about eight because they thought something was wrong with me and his brilliant diagnosis was, ‘he’s eating too much catsup.’ It’s ridiculous at that level. That guy was just scamming people.”
Once out of school, Hotz got his first acting gig as a teenager.
“I was the jester at one of those (Medieval feasts) and I had to read a poem and these old women – because I had to wear tights – these old women, when I walked by, would pinch my ass. It was completely demeaning. No lawsuits, no nothing. They were allowed to do that back then,” he says. “It’s one of the few jobs I had because, I guess people just don’t like the look on my face.”
The 52-year-old who lives in California with his pet bird, Monkeybird, claims to be unemployable.
“I’ve never had a day job, never, no, no. No one would want me, what would I be gainfully employed as during the day? A waiter? I don’t think so. You want some soup? Get it yourself.”
His quick wit is natural, has earned him Gemini and Canadian Comedy Awards and is what he relies on when he’s up on stage.
“I keep a loose base of notes and I create stuff,” he says. “Mostly on stage, right there in front of your face and if it works I keep doing it. Once in a while I sort of jam out ideas. I’m not the kind of guy that gets up every single day and sits there and writes something – I can’t do it. I did that in school, I’m not doing that now, forget it.”
He eschews sitcom work and says he’s finished writing for other comedians.
“I hate writing. I’m a performer first, I’m a writer second, I can’t stand it. It’s a job and I hate it.”
His all-new show, Jeremy Hotz International Man of Misery, is his fourth major Canadian tour and he’s included Victoria each time. “I love Victoria. The McPherson Theatre; am I wrong? It’s a great venue and I love playing it and I have a huge (fan) base there. It’s really great, I love Victoria.”
As a performer, Hotz’ frequently turns his back on the audience, covers his face with his hands and focuses on life’s sour moments, but he says, he’s not really miserable.
“I’m a man who is profoundly disappointed. I should get some t-shirts made up. If I had the courage and belief they would sell, I would do that. But I don’t.
“Everything I say is hilarious. I do everything completely wrong. I put my back to the audience, I put my hand in front of my face and somehow when you do everything wrong – it’s right.
“I’m complaining, but that’s ‘cuz it’s my job.”
Jeremy Hotz McPherson Playhouse, Feb. 28. rmts.bc.ca