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Comedy scene: Jeremy Hotz more miserable than any virus

Howie Nave
Special to the Tribune
Howie Nave (right) with comedian Jeremy Hotz.
Provided

It’s not often you find a comedian who is so miserable that he barely knows there’s a pandemic happening around him. And it’s not an act, either.

Jeremy Hotz feels like the rest of the world is starting to catch up to him.

“Exactly. Now I’m really popular and they called stand up off,” he laughed. “You know, that Hotz guy was right. He warned us about this. Gee, I wish we could hear him on stage but he can’t go on. I guess he knew about that too,” said Mr. Positive Energy.

Hotz has single-handedly turned being miserable into an art form.

“I work hard on being miserable, I really do. I knew that my face wasn’t going to get me the prettier women so I figured I’d make them feel sorry for me,” he said.

Originally from Canada, Hotz started out in Ottawa in the late 80’s and generated a lot of notoriety appearing in a number of local productions.

Hotz won the equivalent of an Emmy, the Gemini Award (nominated four times), winning two of them for his role on the television series “The Newsroom.” I love that show. He made his American debut appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and followed that up by making five appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

He has appeared on Comedy Central with his own stand-up special and filmed two others for CTV.

Hotz was also a staff writer and performer on the critically acclaimed “The Jon Stewart Show” and when I saw him up in Montreal he killed it at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. Hotz also won the Dave Broadfoot Comic Genius Award (Canada’s most prestigious comedy award). His DVD, “What a Miserable DVD This Is…” became an instant hit and, until COVID-19 came along, he was working on a new one-hour comedy special called “Profoundly Disappointed.”

When I asked if he was up in Canada at this very moment he said, “No, or else I’d have to quarantine for two weeks. Am I gonna do that in the future if this thing continues? Yeah, I think so.”

Hotz is one of the few comics I read on social media on a daily basis because his posts are not only genuinely funny but he gets hundreds of replies.

That led to his Sunday night online show, “Jeremy Hotz Live” on Facebook that gets thousands of viewers. I think in part because his dog, ‘Shack’ has a huge following so Jeremy is capitalizing on his dog’s popularity.

It’s a half hour show that airs pretty much every Sunday at 4 p.m.

“I like doing my show once a week,” he said. “It’s online, I think it’s great and it rises in numbers every time so I’m actually having fun doing it.”

His show is the perfect format for him being miserable (even when he doesn’t realize it) but has been able to take on other roles when offered parts for pay from major studios. He appeared as a regular in the final season of HBO Canada’s, “Call Me Fitz,” as a guest star on “Unusually Thicke” and a guest on “Jay Leno’s Garage.” He also appeared in the feature films “My Favorite Martian” and “Speed 2” and starred in the four-part mini-series “Married Life” on Comedy Central. And, Hotz was nominated for a Gemini Award for the CBC’s “OH CANA-DUH.”

Hotz is obviously concerned about this pandemic with regards to our business and doesn’t have an issue at all wearing the face mask either like so many here in the states do.

“Have you seen my face, Howie? It’s not like I have a shot at leading man roles (laughs) so the mask for me is an improvement,” he said. “I’m really counting on people wearing their masks so we can get back to legitimate stand up again in theaters and clubs where there’s people sitting next to each other but I don’t know how it’s going to look here (in America). Look at Canada right now. Man, they’re clearing out the virus. Maybe they’re gonna open up the clubs sooner.”

When you look at his body of work and how much he has toured it is pretty staggering. His last huge tour was “Jeremy Hotz – International Man of Misery” which was his most successful tour to date. vMy favorite tour of his is still the Magical Misery Tour where he toured Canada non-stop for one month

I didn’t know that he always had anxiety though and how he kept his mind in check but as Hotz puts it, “I had it for years but they didn’t know what it was. It went undiagnosed for years but now they know.”

I told him he should get a pharmaceutical company to be a sponsor since he probably knows more about prescription medication than those who administer it.

“Well, when you know the medical name of the drug by heart, yeah. When you can have a conversation with a pharmacist you’re on a lot of medication,” he said.

But what of stand up? What will it look like? I actually had this nightmare where comedy was allowed to return but with no crowds.

“Well, okay. Let me just say. Have you seen professional wrestling without an audience?” he asked. “It looks like assault (laughs hysterically). That’s what it looks like.”

During our chat I didn’t know that Hotz was on the drug, Flexeril. When he said it was for his back I just figured he threw his back out lifting something or twisting it. You know, something drastic but no. It turns out he messed up his back from standing too long in one place. I think I was starting to come down with something just talking to him.

He did say when his arm or shoulder hurts he’ll smoke a little weed but he’s paranoid because he doesn’t want any of his neighbors to smell it.

“I’ll burn toast after I smoke weed. I’ll always burn toast afterwards. My neighbor is a pretty girl and I didn’t want her to think I smoke too much weed or anything. So, she’s walking by the door with her hot friend and I see them through the window and they’re talking. And she goes, ‘That’s that guy I was telling you about.’ And her friend goes, ‘Oh, the comedian?’ And she goes, ‘Yeah, but forget about him.’ And she goes, ‘How come?’ And she says, ‘He doesn’t even know how to make toast.’”


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