ArtsComedy

Canadian comic Jeremy Hotz’s daily misery the gift that keeps on giving to lovers of laughs

Calgary comedy fans should be happy.

Because Jeremy Hotz is not.

Perennially.

And even on this day when the Canadian comic’s chatting to promote his current cross-country tour there are enough annoyances in his world to make for a lively and incredibly entertaining conversation.

For starters?

“There’s a guy from (city in Ontario redacted for professional courtesy) who fucked up,” Hotz says of a missed interview. “He keeps trying to get in, you know what I mean? He was late and now I’m in a whole series of them, so I’m kind of confused. I don’t know what to do.”

An offer to switch to accommodate the fellow journo, understanding that it can happen to anyone (cough, cough), is met exactly how one would expect.

“It’s his fucking fault, I’m not going to move it around, no way.”

Hotz’s mood lightens when he’s told this particular interview is to preview his Grey Eagle Event Centre show in this city on Friday, Feb. 1.

“Calgary’s one of my favourite spots. I love Calgary … I know a lot of people say that bullshit, but they supported me from the very beginning. (Alberta) is one of the first provinces that climbed onboard way, way back in the day.”

That would have been a long time ago.

Hotz’s 25-plus-year career has been a lengthy and extensive one in the world of funny, as an award-winning standup, performer and writer.

Highlights of which there have been many, including: appearances on both The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; acting roles in everything from Speed 2 to Call Me Fitz and a Gemini-earning run on CBC’s The Newsroom; a writing stint on The Jon Stewart Show; and of course his own acclaimed comedy specials including OH CANA-DUH. 

He remains busy and connected, with couple of TV shows in development, one in Canada and another in the U.S. (neither of which he can discuss), and he has a role in the upcoming feature film James the Second, which is in post-production.

But for now, his focus is on his standup life, more specifically his cheekily titled Dangerously Handsome tour.

“It’s about time — I’ve been told this on one occasion,” he offers self-deprecatingly when told he suits it, before getting to the real reason for the name.

“Well, you know what it is? It’s a comment on the flood of young comics that are coming up that are really good looking and really not that fun …”

He laughs. “So why don’t you go do soap operas where you fucking belong.”

As for the content of the show, that will be less about the pretty, unfunny boys and more about, obviously, his ongoing misery.

This is a man who famously travels with a support dog — Shackleton, a long-haired chihuahua — due to his diagnosed anxiety, and has been more than open about the fact that he turns his mental health issues into comedy as a coping mechanism.

“Mostly I do what I think are the tiny things that are going wrong lately — not in politics or anything like that, but in my life, and all these little tiny things are destroying me,” he says of the current show.

“And then also I usually talk about what else has been happening that particular day to me, this is the new thing now.”

Well, we’ve already mentioned dealing with idiot writers — present company included — but that’s only one particular part of his suffering on this day.

Others?

“I have ants today,” he says. “I have fucking ants coming into the bathroom right up to the side of the toilet and then leaving on the other side. 

“And they’re smaller than regular size ants. I think these are piss ants … I’ve got piss ants, for Christ’s sake.”

As long as it’s something comedy lovers, as well as his long, storied career, are much the better off for it. 

That said, Hotz also notes that in his mid-fifties, he may just be hitting his sweet-spot — the humour he’s always been building his laughs off of now suiting his age. 

“I think I was born a bitter old man and now I’ve grown into it,” he says, acknowledging the state of the world in 2019 has been more than happy to inspire and oblige his misery. 

“It’s gone my way, I called this all day long. At least you have to give me that.”

He laughs again. “I’ve been saying this is shit for years, come on!”

Jeremy Hotz performs at the Grey Eagle Event Centre on Friday, Feb. 1. For tickets please go to ticketmaster.ca.

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