Much has been written about Jeremy Hotz's unusual comic delivery his signature style of cracking jokes by placing his right hand to the side of his mouth, ready to catch any laughter that slips out. He's like a schoolboy snickering at the rude comment he just let loose in class or a kid who sets up a booby trap and watches as the prank unfolds. But Hotz doesn't act this way on purpose. It's not some calculated affectation he devised. It's just, you know, how he rolls.
"It just developed that's the way I do standup," Hotz tells New Times. "My character on stage is a very neurotic, repressed individual. It's almost like everything he's saying he's holding back. You hear it through his hand because he's not so sure of what he's going to say next. I didn't expect it to turn into this thing that [journalists] talk about, you know, 'the guy who puts his hand in front of his face.' OK, that's better than 'the guy with the really big fuckin' forehead. '"
Of course, if Hotz ever becomes known as the latter, he'll have to take some of the blame. Hotz's standup act is thoroughly self-deprecating, full of references to his facial features and the personal anguish he experiences in daily life. You won't hear any holier-than-thou ramblings about the world's social problems. Hotz has his own problems, damn it.
"I'm more interested in why my Internet connection is slow or how I took my dog to a grooming place and they shaved him," he says. "The 'world' thing is second to my own personal grief."
And just who is responsible for Hotz's grief? Well, supermarkets, for starters, namely "how they take your name and how it prints out on the receipt," he says. "Also, I'll be noticing things when I get to Fort Lauderdale that'll piss me off. I make up half of it every night."
While finding stuff to bitch about in Broward County is an easy enough task, Hotz can't complain about the way things have been going for his career. After making a name for himself in the Canadian comedy scene in the 1990s, Hotz moved to Los Angeles, where he has lived for the past eight years. It's a move many an actor and comedian makes, but for Hotz, it paid off. He's been in movies (Speed 2, My Favorite Martian), had a special on Comedy Central, has a DVD in the works, and is currently working on a new TV show, Jeremy Hotz: My Life and a Movie, tentatively scheduled for fall 2006.
And in case that's not enough to keep him busy, Hotz says that between this week's shows in Hollywood and next week's shows in West Palm Beach, he will be flying back to L.A. to film an upcoming standup special for TBS. And you wonder why Hotz giggles to himself on stage this guy's loving it, big forehead and all.