Jeremy Hotz is a Canadian actor and standup comedian. He is best known for his completely original confused, yet somehow very accurate, observational comedy. He’s toured and performed all over Canada, United States, Europe, and Australia. He’s appeared on Comedy Central Presents, Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, the Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Hotz filmed a standup special for Comedy Central, as well as 2 others for CTV. His current DVD What a Miserable DVD This Is… is his latest special and he is planning on recording a new one-hour special called Profoundly Disappointed in 2018. He is coming to the Algonquin Commons Theater on Friday, November 23rd, 2018 for 2 shows that will be filmed exclusively for that special.
In the build up to his new special, Apt613 got the chance to talk to Jeremy about his career to date, and what people can expect in his new special.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Apt613: I have read online in various places that you were born in Canada and that you were born in South Africa. Where were you really born?
Jeremy Hotz: I was born in South Africa and moved to Canada when I was one. That’s the truth. Well, I didn’t. My parents actually moved to Canada. The rest is unfortunate history (laughs).
Where did you grow up?
Right here in Ottawa. We moved out from Cape Town in South Africa. I think we went to Ottawa, right from South Africa, on a ship.
A guy came up to me in the autograph line and said his name and said he bought my house from my parents.
Where did you live in Ottawa?
The house I grew up in is on the backdrop of (the upcoming DVD). I’ll tell you something that’s amazing: it happened by chance when I was doing the (recent) mini (comedy) tour. (One stop) was Burlington (Ontario). A guy came up to me in the autograph line and said his name and said he bought my house from my parents.
So did you start comedy in Ottawa?
Yeah, with the old Ottawa Yuk Yuks, right in the basement of the Beacon Arms Hotel, now Capital (Hotel Hill and) Suites.
Was your first time at an open mic night?
Yeah, it was an old club on Elgin St, called The Roxy. And it’s now the Yuk Yuks. Ironically, that’s where the Yuk Yuks moved into. It was a (comedy) contest and I won 4th place. It was the first time in my life I did stand up.
How long did you do standup before you thought: I can make a go at this?
I went to Toronto on a bus and I went on (Yuk Yuks) amateur night, in their club on Bay St. And I went on last, after everybody, and the show had been on for three and a half hours and I fucking destroyed. The owner was there, (Mark) Breslin at the back and he came up to me and said, if want to do this professionally. And because no one had ever given me a job in my fucking life I said, “Yeah, alright.” And so I decided to do that and that’s how I become a standup comic.
And because no one had ever given me a job in my fucking life, I said, “Yeah, alright.”
There’s an art to crowd work. How did you develop your crowdworking skills in standup?
I think that the most difficult thing to do is to make shit up on the fly right then and there, especially on TV. Because I hate myself so much, I think I constantly challenge myself to fucking do that, that’s what’s going on there.
I also think right now, well because the crowd knows me. Even in theaters, (the crowd) knows I do it, so the seats up front are (sold) immediately because people want me to (do crowd work). I’m not an asshole about it, you know what I mean? They actually become a part of the show. Where you become a star. Like, when you walk out of the show, people yell, “There’s the guy with the blue hat!”
Because I hate myself so much, I think I constantly challenge myself to fucking do that, that’s what’s going on there.
I like how you specifically said: “I’m not an asshole about it.” I also feel like you don’t have to hurt the audience’s feelings when getting a laugh through your interaction with them.
You don’t have to be a jerk. I hate the (comics) that do that, because they ruin it for people that know how (to do crowd work). It’s a cheap way to get a laugh by being mean to the person. You’re not Don Rickles!
Do you have a set plan or time frame for when you record a comedy special?
No! I do it when my manager goes: “Do a special you lazy bastard! It’s been way too long!” That’s how that process works.
Jeremy Hotz will be in Ottawa on Friday November 23 at Algonquin Commons Theatre. There will be 2 shows: one at 7 pm and one at 9:30 pm. Tickets start at $40 ($30 for Algonquin students).