Hotz on the trot

Justin Brake
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Popular comedian bringing tour to St. John's Feb. 1

When I called Jeremy Hotz I didn't realize we'd be going shopping together.

But when the celebrated Canadian comedian - now living (and shopping) in West Hollywood - sought my advice on a new jacket it became clear that for him trust is the foundation of any successful relationship.

"I don't usually do the shopping thing until the third or fourth call," I tell him, disguising my flattery.

"Ah, you've got a system," he says, pausing. "I respect that."

Comic Jeremy Hotz will be performing at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's Feb. 1. Submitted photo

When I called Jeremy Hotz I didn't realize we'd be going shopping together.

But when the celebrated Canadian comedian - now living (and shopping) in West Hollywood - sought my advice on a new jacket it became clear that for him trust is the foundation of any successful relationship.

"I don't usually do the shopping thing until the third or fourth call," I tell him, disguising my flattery.

"Ah, you've got a system," he says, pausing. "I respect that."

After finally settling on a green, extra-large jacket (he's really a large, but likes the "wiggle room") Hotz brings me to a shoe store. I tell him he's going to need warm, waterproof boots for his visit to St. John's Feb. 1, when he headlines a sold-out show at the Arts and Culture Centre.

"What a Miserable Tour This Is (Part Two)" is a continuation of Hotz's 2008 Just For Laughs tour which brought him to many of the country's major cities, but excluded much of Eastern Canada.

"It was successful, so we wanted to come back and get to the places we missed last time," he explains.

The favourable reception he received last year isn't a surprise. At 46, Hotz's career in standup comedy seems to be getting better every day.

Even when things don't go as planned, like his recent collaboration with the CBC on a show he was to write, direct, and star in, called "My Life and a Movie," he emerges unscathed, or at least gives the impression he doesn't care much.

"CBC dropped the ball on that. They decided they didn't want to develop it anymore," he says in an unrelenting, sanguine voice. "I don't want to be in a shitty sitcom ... it's not my thing. There's really nothing funny on TV anymore."

Nothing funny - except when his standup gets air time, that is, on networks like the CBC, Comedy Network, MTV or PBS.

From the amateur comedy nights at the Yuk Yuk's club in Ottawa, where he grew up, to a writing gig on the "Jon Stewart Show" in New York, from stints on Jay Leno and David Letterman to earning "Best Performer" status at Montreal's prestigious Just For Laughs festival, and from his own television comedy specials to headlining his own national tours - Hotz is in demand.

Prospers on stage

His eccentric, confused and dissenting onstage persona, coupled with his side-splitting observational humour, has been successful in winning audiences over. Needless to say, it's on the stage where Hotz prospers.

"With the standup, I'm not in a bad situation - I need a nine or a nine-and-a-half!" he tells the shoe store employee, holding the phone away from his mouth. "I don't know what I am - do you know what size I am?" he asks, bringing me back into the conversation.

Unable to help him on this one, I relinquish my shopping date status and leave him on his own to try on shoes while I continue with my questions.

He's OK with that and unsuccessfully tries on several pairs of shoes while chatting.

I mention his alter ego - the quirky guy who criticizes his daily experiences while holding his right hand over his eye on stage like he's in constant pain - and ask about the shelf life of a his character.

It's not the character that needs to evolve, he tells me, it's the material.

"It's not gonna run dry for me," he says. "It's not like I'm all of a sudden going to be sane one day."

Just then he asks for a size 10 shoe, and then a 10 1/2.

Our phone date ends without future plans and Hotz is still trying on shoes. It's not a fairytale ending. It's just another day for the hapless comic.

"Let me tell you. In my career things are going well. But in my day-to-day life, things are shit," he says, paradoxically optimistic.

Fortunately for us, the stories of "miserable" things are what make Hotz funny. The banes of his existence are our comic relief.

Organizations: CBC, Comedy Network, Yuk Yuk

Geographic location: St. John's, West Hollywood, Eastern Canada Ottawa New York Montreal

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Recent comments

  • Tom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    This guy is amazing. Pee your pants funny. I was not allowed to type the other word. I wish he added another show. I would love to go.

  • Michelle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I think Jeremy is one of the best comics in the world and have always enjoyed every minute of his act.!! Keep up the great work Jeremy!!

  • Tom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    This guy is amazing. Pee your pants funny. I was not allowed to type the other word. I wish he added another show. I would love to go.

  • Michelle
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I think Jeremy is one of the best comics in the world and have always enjoyed every minute of his act.!! Keep up the great work Jeremy!!