“You realize in the olden days with my anxiety and all this stuff, I would probably have spent my life in a mental institution, right?”
– Jeremy Hotz
Guy MacPherson: Hey, how are you?
Jeremy Hotz: I'm all right. Everything's okay. We just got back from the vet. I thought the dog got stung by a bee or something because he was all weird, do you know what I mean? I took him in. It looks like he stepped on some sharp piece of plasticky glass that they removed from his paw. He's all right. Nothing wrong with him. He's fine; he's running around again.
GM: He's a chihuahua?
JH: Yeah, he's a long-hair. He's the guy I rescued. I'll tell you something about chihuahuas, he really over-reacts. If you step near him sometimes he'll screech. Or even touch him. He's like an asshole that way.
GM: They're yappy, aren't they?
JH: Not him. It's really weird, until the squirrel or a cat or something comes by, he's dead quiet. And then out of nowhere, so it's more jarring than anything else. And it goes on. You tell him to stop and they don't. That's the way it is.
GM: When I first spoke to you, pre-911, back in 2000, you talked about your pizza-eating dog. I assume he's no longer around.
JH: He lived until he was 19. So he went forever. That's the oldest dog I've ever had. He eventually died of natural causes, just like in the wild – in an oxygen tent at the vet $5000 later.
GM: The dog in the plastic bubble.
JH: That's kind of the way it was at the end, man, yeah. But whatever, he put in his time. He was a good guy. And now I've got the little one and it's so different because I didn't even know these dogs existed. I never had any desire to get a small dog. I didn't realize it's a completely different thing. Like, he's a dog and that's the only similarity he has. He's part of the same family but they're completely different. At the beginning, I would take him for a walk but he didn't really want to go half the time. He just didn't really want to go. Then I realized, okay. Then the throwing of the ball, he would bring it back halfway – drop it and give up.
GM: Have you lived in the same town all these years, Studio City?
JH: No, I live in West Hollywood. I bought a house in West Hollywood. It was after 2011. So I live here now. It's right in the middle of all the clubs. It's perfect because I don't even have to go very far. I can walk to the Hollywood Improv, I can take an Uber – it takes about two minutes – to get to the Laugh Factory. And those are two clubs that I frequent, so there you have it.
GM: When I spoke to you eighteen years ago, you said, 'If I make it, I'm moving back" to Canada. So is it safe to say you haven't made it?
JH: No, what happened was I fell, you see, and my shoulder popped out. I had an operation and they had to put it back in and there's no way I'm fucking moving to Canada again in the freezing cold with this bad shoulder that hurts in the rain. No way.
GM: You also talked about your sister's baby who must be 18 or 19 by now.
JH: Yeah, that's amazing. He goes to school in London and he came to the show. Now that little baby is 6-3. He dwarfs me.
GM: Well, most people do.
JH: Oh, come on, man! It's more than that. He came with his roommates, these kids. He's 6-3, my nephew, and he's the shortest guy. The football team came to see me. These guys were monsters. Whatever they put in the food, we didn't have that shit. Now I know why my dog lived for so fucking long, all the preservatives or something. I don't know.
GM: Were you ever on The Green Room with Paul Provenza?
JH: No, I'd love to do that. No, I never was. He's a great guy.
GM: Did you watch it?
JH: I've seen it, yeah. Is it still on?
GM: I don't think so, but I've just started watching it. They're from 2010 and boy comedy has changed!
JH: Yeah, I know.
GM: The things they could and did say, even though it was purposely out there pushing boundaries. These days they would be boycotted.
JH: Yeah. But here's the thing about it. Let's be honest, fans that come to see, well, certainly me; they've come to see me for years. I've been doing this a really, really long time. At this time, they're abundantly aware of what I do before they show up so I haven't run into any of that nonsense. You know what I'm talking about, the free speech bullshit. Hopefully that continues but in this odd world at this point in time, which is very unstable, there's no guarantees. But I am doing nothing different than I have been doing all these years.
GM: I can't think of you ever being considered offensive, even though I have looser definitions of 'offensive' than many people, it seems.
JH: Exactly! What you just said. And because of what you just said, of course there are people. Me walking out on stage incorrectly offends some people (laughs). I mean, Christ, you know? How come the comic can't be offended by those people? Why can't we say anything and go, 'Well, I'm offended by you and I don't bother you.'
GM: Well, you could but I think maybe it's in the DNA of comics that you don't really get offended. Do you?
JH: Well, we are human beings and the things that they call you sometimes on social media is ridiculous. It's just crazy. And I think part of this whole thing that's happening right now is because of social media. It's gotten incredibly mean. It all filters down from who's running the country. And look who it is. (laughs) I always go there... You know what? There's a squirrel behind my house that keeps screaming every morning. That's on Trump, too. (laughs)
GM: Are you getting political on stage?
JH: A little bit, not much. Just when it comes to things that are bothering my tiny existence, my tiny things that I like to do every day. If it comes in there, then yeah, of course. But it has to affect me personally. Also, I'm dangerously handsome; you've seen the poster. I mean, come on.
GM: But a lot of things bother you, though.
GM: So everything's going to come into your orbit.
JH: That's right. But so what? That's what makes it funny. For some reason, when I get upset about something, people find that extremely amusing. And I think I understand it now. When I was a kid and my dad got really upset, I thought it was hilarious. I think that's what this is.
GM: Comedy has evolved – or devolved; whichever way you want to look at it. And certainly comedians grow or change over the years. You say you're doing the same kinda thing. If you look more microscopically, how have you evolved or changed over the years?
JH: Well, I tell them exactly everything that's happened to me every single day in my life and it's based on reality. A. And B, as you know if you've ever seen me, I go off-book all the time and I'm hearing a lot of it for the first time, too, thank you very much.
GM: I've seen you many times here. And I saw you in St. John, too.
JH: Yeah, it's not going to be the same. I don't fucking remember it.
GM: It's that crowd work.
JH: It's more than that, though. I don't do, 'Where are you from?' or anything like that. They're part of it. It's their show, man. That's why they come and run to the front. They want to be part of it. I get it.
GM: Is your Dangerously Handsome show about an hour?
JH: Yeah, it's an hour. Live I'll do about an hour-ten. About seventy.
GM: You can't have an hour's worth of material if you're doing stuff you've never even said before. You have to save room for whatever comes up or comes into your head.
JH: Of course. That's what you have to do. And vice versa, right? You gotta understand, most guys don't work like that. Most guys have the whole thing in a row and they work it in the same thing in a row and that's it and there's my show, thank you very much, good night. It's essentially a script. I don't really have that. When I shot the DVD, the guy on the prompter was great, but he was out of his mind – he had to jump around all over the place because even though there was a prompter I was still running around, you know me. Jesus, I'm not going to follow any rules! Christ! That's why I do this in the first place. I don't really follow rules. But he was great. He kept finding the ones I hadn't done. He was really good. Wow.
GM: You don't use a prompter for the tour.
JH: No. But that was because it was a DVD that sells and shit. It'll be available at that, too. That's a real important thing to say because what I do is when I do my DVD, I always tour on it first. I release a first edition that only the people that came to the show can get. That's it. I always do that. So that's going to happen this time, too. I never say it but I'm doing it. The DVD is Dangerously Handsome. The pre-release will be available to get at the show.
GM: What do you think of really good looking comics?
JH: Depends if they're good standups. That's all that matters. I don't care what they look like. 'Dangerously Handsome' is a comment on the new phase of comedy which is, 'Hey, here's a really good looking person that's a standup' and that's all that they care about. They don't even listen to the jokes. That's what standup's turning into. So I did that, a picture of me saying I'm dangerously handsome and it was the ugliest fucking photograph we could find, that my nephew took. And we found it. And we did it. So that's more of a comment on the state of what comedy's becoming. For an old guy that's been in it for a really long time, it's really sad, honestly. I don't think it's going to continue. I can't think it's going to continue. It really can't. Because if it does, then it's going to turn into, 'You can always say this and you can always say that,' well then I don't fucking really want to do it anymore, to be honest with you. So if that's the way it's going to be, then fine.
GM: How long have you been doing standup?
JH: Over thirty years.
GM: There used to be a thing that comedy wasn't for the pretty people. It's for the people that can get out of a fight or being picked on by using words and things like that.
JH: Yeah, it was for the downtrodden. And now it seems to be just a bunch of good-looking people wanting to [find] the other good-looking people, and the ugly people can just fuck off. (laughs) That's kinda a little Nazi Germany for my liking. (laughs) Yeah, 'We're the master race.' Sure you are. I remember that shit in high school. How about you fuck off? (laughs)
GM: Who's the best looking good standup?
JH: Probably Sebastian.
GM: Oh yeah. He's a handsome fellow.
JH: Probably. Probably. And he's not even dangerously handsome. Some of these guys look like models. Sebastian doesn't look like a model.
GM: He's devilishly handsome.
JH: Yeah, he's ethnically handsome. There you go. He's Italiany handsome.
GM: Do any of your specials go on the streaming sites?
JH: Yeah, I think this one will, probably. Because I produced it. I've never done that before. This is the first time. We did that on purpose.
GM: They just released Comedians of the World, 40-odd comedians doing half-hour specials. It just seems like a little much.
JH: Who did?
JH: Oh yeah, they're saturating... Thank God for Netflix, eh? Because they put on so many of these specials that are just not so good, then more people come to my show. It's great. Thank God.
GM: Oh really?
JH: Oh, yeah.
GM: So they come to your show because they're seeing not-so-special specials?
JH: I don't know. Why am I still around and my numbers continuing to rise? You tell me. I don't know.
GM: So it's because standup's become so popular?
JH: I don't know.
GM: That's weird, isn't it? You'd think there'd be a backlash where people see a bunch of meh standup and they go, 'Okay, I don't need to see anymore standup.'
JH: I remember this in the eighties before I started when all those shows were coming on and all the comics looked and sounded exactly the same. And it's happening again. I'm seeing it again. Here it is again. Same topics, they wear the same clothes, they have the same haircut. Oh yeah, I've seen this.
GM: There are so many comics now, it's hard to stand out.
JH: They all look the same.
GM: But you still enjoy doing it.
JH: Yeah. I like it. I do it. I mean, I don't like anything, you know that! It's not so much of an act. Like, I'm a really miserable fuck. So I don't like a lot of stuff. My best day is when I don't have to do anything and I wake up and I just get to fucking stand there. That's the greatest thing that can happen. So whenever I have anything to do, it annoys me on some level. You get it, right? So the fact that I have to work bothers the shit out of me. There it is.
GM: Until you're up there.
JH: Then they agree and everything's okay. Yes, yes! It's therapy. It's therapeutic. Yeah. You realize in the olden days with my anxiety and all this stuff, I would probably have spent my life in a mental institution, right?
GM: If you say so.
JH: They wouldn't have known what was wrong with me. You should have seen what my teachers said about me in fucking school, for Christ's sakes. They thought I was mentally challenged.
GM: Have you spoken to your teachers since you became a standup?
JH: No, but my mom brings them up from time to time. I always say, 'Why do you bring her up? I don't like her. She tried to fail me! They tried to embarrass me in that school.'
GM: Has your anxiety improved with age or gotten worse? Or stayed about the same?
JH: Oh, it is what it is. That's a good question. You're just used to it. It's up and down. No, there's no judging it. I would say it works on an even unpleasant keel for me waiting around the corner to jump out and grab me when I'm not paying attention. That kinda shit.
GM: That sounds so pleasant: 'An even unpleasant keel.'
JH: At least I've got a reason to be miserable.
GM: You have a couple series in development?
JH: I do. Yeah, there's a couple series in development. I got one in America and one in Canada going right now but I can't tell you themes. They won't let me. They said, 'All you can say is you have one in each and you're developing these shows.' I just shot a movie which will be out in about six months called James the Second. And that's where I'm at. And I'm doing my big national tour across the thing. And then I'm going to do a couple more big shows, like casino shows, again at the end of the year that I can't announce yet but they're going to be announced very shortly. You know what it is.
GM: Anything else you want to say about the tour or the show?
JH: I'm looking forward to going to Calgary. Don't snow on me. And remember, we can't have any drifting, either. No snow drifts because the dog is very short and I don't want to lose him in Calgary in a snow bank.
GM: Jeremy, I'm in Vancouver.
JH: Oh, okay, so you're in Vancouver. Change everything I said and put the word in 'Vancouver' and say 'Don't snow for the first time.' Okay? There. (laughs) I did Calgary right before you. You get it, right?
GM: Does your sister still live here?
JH: Yes, she does. And I just saw her. They went on a vacation with her family and they stopped by for one day. They came and had lunch with me, then went back to where they were staying, then they phoned and said they were too tired to continue their vacation and they're going back to Vancouver.
GM: Is that a reflection on you?
JH: My sister and her family lasted one day with me and went running home. That's what happened.
GM: At least she phrased it nicely.
JH: (laughs) She's always been very political.
GM: Okay, Jeremy, thanks a lot.
JH: Okay, have a good day, man. Thanks. Bye.