Jeremy Hotz (opening act Frank Spadone)
Where: McPherson Playhouse
When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $53.75; 250-386 6121
When he’s walking the streets in his homeland, comedian Jeremy Hotz tries to keep the public at bay.
“In Canada, I just look at the ground when I walk on the street and stuff. You try not to make eye contact,” said Hotz.
It’s not that he’s unfriendly. It’s just that Hotz — who’s famous here — doesn’t want to do the stop-and-chat every 10 metres. And he still hasn’t forgotten one unfortunate episode involving an over-zealous groupie.
Hotz performs at the McPherson Playhouse Wednesday night as part of his Magical Misery Tour, which also hits Surrey and Vancouver later in the week. The Ottawa-raised comedian, who turns 50 in May, says his show examines the miserable side of getting older. In one bit, he talks about his 16-year-old dog, Samson, whose various ills cost his owner $400 a month.
“He’s so old, they didn’t have pet insurance,” Hotz joked from his West Hollywood home. “He’s so old, he looks like he’s in black and white.”
Here’s the groupie story: Hotz once chatted to a female fan after a set at a California comedy club.
Some days later, when he was on the road, she broke into his house and stole his favourite gray sweater.
“It was the sweater I was wearing that night. That’s a little creepo,” Hotz said.
The police reprimanded him for being listed in the phone book. Hotz is now unlisted.
Most of his encounters with audience members are positive, however.
And some are very good, indeed.
Recently, after performing at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, singer Rihanna approached Hotz to tell him he was “amazing.”
Hotz, keeping his cool in the presence of the pop star, replied: “Thanks, sugar.”
The encounter — and the compliment — even made it into an edition of Rolling Stone last month, where the comedian was described as a “sad-looking Canadian.”
It gets better. At the same club, one week later, Hotz ran into Jerry Lewis in the lobby.
“He pointed at me and said, ‘Oh, you’re great. That face, that face. What a great face.’ Then I said, ‘Can I get a picture?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ ”
A favourite at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festivals, Hotz headlines at clubs in Canada and the U.S. Some recall him from CBC television’s comedy series The Newsroom. Lately, Hotz has travelled to Halifax to film episodes of the HBO series Call Me Fitz, in which he plays a gay, middle-aged social worker.
The producers of Call Me Fitz were interested in Hotz but wanted to see video before making a final decision. He persuaded his friend Tanya Allen (who’d also acted in The Newsroom) to record him on an iPhone and upload the clip to his computer.
“This took a couple of hours,” Hotz said, “because we’re so stupid.”
The comic hopes to appear in further episodes of Call Me Fitz, which stars Jason Priestley. He’s also working to develop a TV show with his friend Brian Hart, who wrote for The Kids in the Hall.
Despite his miserable public persona, which calls for a fist-biting delivery, Hotz said he’s looking forward to returning to Vancouver Island.
“I like Victoria. It’s a nice place, actually.”
© Copyright 2013