“What a shithole this is.” These are the words that began an enjoyable evening of laughs at Centennial Hall from Just For Laughs comic, Jeremy Hotz.
Before Hotz took to the stage in all his wonderful misery, the crowd was treated to a solid opening act courtesy of Perry Pearlmutter. The young comedian has been travelling across Canada with Hotz for the “What a Miserable Tour This Is” show for the past two months.
For the most part, Pearlmutter is your typical high-energy comedian. Jokes about ethnicity and the cold wars of marriage are nothing new for audiences, but his skilled accent impersonations were enjoyable to watch.
Unlike Pearlmutter, Hotz is by no means a standard high-energy comic, so it was a stroke of genius putting a comic like Pearlmutter as the opening act — it was a contrast that highlighted Hotz’s uniqueness.
In stand-up comedy, for some comics, their act is often just that — acting. The character Hotz creates on stage is a fantastic blend of self-loathing and humility.
Aside from his downtrodden performance as a miserable man and his various physical ticks that have become trademarks of his shows, Hotz laughs at almost every joke he cracks. But never does it come off in a smug way — it makes his act seem more natural and off-the-cuff, even when it isn’t exactly new material.
It’s refreshing to see a comedian laugh at his or her own jokes like Hotz does. He isn’t trying to fool anyone — he knows he is funny and that makes it all the more entertaining to watch.
So much of the enjoyment of a comedy show stems from the audience’s enthusiasm. The crowd at Centennial Hall was fantastic, catching even the subtlest jokes, never heckling and often playing along. They were game — like many comedians, Hotz singled out a few audience members in the front row, asking them about everything from their marriages and children, to their physical features and clothing choice. Even if a hat joke seemed particularly insulting for one audience member, the crowd knew it was all in good fun.
A great comedian is one who knows how to relate to the audience. Hotz, a Canadian himself, did so brilliantly Thursday night, referencing London’s mayor and her controversial husband several times throughout the show.
Hotz also had a string of jokes centred on comparing the U.S. and Canada. Targeting George W. Bush and likening his two-term presidency to “failing a test, getting all the answers and then failing again” got a particularly enthusiastic response from the audience.
Hotz is a one-of-a-kind comedian and his wholly enjoyable show proves he should be another source of pride in the entertainment industry for Canadians.