Gemini nominated comedian Jeremy Hotz will be headlining Comedy Night in Canada at the Crackup festival this week.
Ahead of his Ottawa date, I had the chance to speak with Jeremy over the phone.
Apt613: Hey Jeremy, you’re going to be at Crackup on Saturday, talking about anxiety. That’s courageous.
Jeremy Hotz: Yeah, I’m a comic so that what I do, I talk about my life. It took years to figure it out, I was misdiagnosed with depression. I don’t have that at all, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder which is completely different. They tried a series of medication on me that didn’t work, when I was a kid they told me I ate too much ketchup but they didn’t know what they were talking about. But now I talk about it and I’m not ashamed.
“Now I have an anxiety dog that has as much anxiety as me.”
Years ago you explained to me that you love stand-up, but the difficulty of staying consistent was what made you anxious.
Everything I do gives me anxiety. Thinking about going to the store gives anxiety. Ordering a pizza… thank god they came up with online ordering because I don’t want to talk to the guy you know what I mean? Some days are worst than others.
Wow. How did you handle then, traveling to another country?
You just do it man. You do it and you work through it and that’s all there is. You have to, or else I would’ve just stayed here and done nothing.
I heard you had already accomplished everything there was to do in Canada, within a year.
No no, it took a couple of years. I started headlining because no one wanted to go on after me. I went from hosting to headlining. I never got to middle, I never got the easy spot.
Two years ago you told me that standup is about the people, not about you. I’ve interviewed many headliners and haven’t heard that since.
Yeah that took a few years to realize. You’re there to entertain them, once you remove “me” from the equation… that’s when you become a better comic.
In your act you talk about Shackleton, a long-haired Chihuahua who’s changed your life.
Yeah he’s right here with me. He’s a therapy dog, he had some difficulties at birth but he survived. He had a tough start to life and I took him and the rest is history! Now I have an anxiety dog that has as much anxiety as me.
— Sue Hincenbergs (@sueblime) January 26, 2016
Is the process of caring for Shackleton the healing aspect?
Yeah he gives me a reason to go outside. My anxiety disorder has Agoraphobia attached to it which is quite common. But I have to take him out, so I take him out. I have to feed him so I feed him. It’s something to do, instead of staying inside your head, staying inside your place thinking monsters are real.
Are you taking medication?
Yeah, I’m on a low dosage. I can’t do the high doses because I would be comatose, I wouldn’t be able to perform. What I’m on is a very manageable dose. It enables me to still be creative, but the side effect is that I still have pretty bad anxiety. But I don’t want to be that person walking around with a melon head. You’ve got to feel. If you stop feeling you cease to being a human being at that time.
Do you take Shackleton everywhere then?
Everywhere! He goes everywhere with me and no one can say a damn thing. If I bring him on a plane and someone is allergic, they have to move that guy. That’s the law.
Shackleton really helps you live a normal life.
I mean I’m not a normal guy. You’ve seen my act, there’s nothing like it. I’m not trying to think outside the box there is no box, somebody burned it.
Thank you Jeremy for the interview!
Thanks for calling!