If you're having a bad day, take comfort in the fact that it's probably not as bad as Jeremy Hotz's day.
The 49-year-old comedian from Ottawa is known for being miserable onstage - his whole act is observational humour, taking jabs at the bad things that come his way. And yes, his day-to-day life is often as comically miserable as he makes it out to be.
"I'm just trying to get my printer working," said Hotz at the start of his interview with the Now. "You know those wireless ones? They're really hard to set up, man."
Whether it's fixing his printer, getting a new prescription or assembling furniture from IKEA, Hotz always has something new to moan about for a few laughs. He's set to take the stage Thursday, March 21 at Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey, one of the last stops on his "Magical Misery Tour," which kicked off Feb. 19 in St. John's, NL.
"I like the performance part of it, but all the other stuff like flying around, that gets me in the right kind of mood to perform," said Hotz, noting that he becomes anxious before getting onstage.
"I'm riddled with anxiety because I'm thinking about nine different things at the same time. It's common, I think. Isn't it?"
Hotz stumbled across his nervous shtick more than 15 years ago in preparation for a performance at a comedy festival. A big part of his trademark comedy is how he holds his hand to his face, almost as though he's shying away from the audience.
"I was having a difficult breakup and I put my hand in front of my face because I was feeling kind of insecure," he said. "It just changed the whole thing.
"Even in real life, when I have anxiety, it's not so far from the truth, it's just a nervous thing. Some people bite their fingernails, I cover my eye or mouth with my hand."
Since then, Hotz has toured the world, headlining sold-out theatres and clubs across three continents. He's performed at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal nine times, and received a standing ovation at his debut. He's appeared on Leno and Letterman, he's had specials on Comedy Central and CTV, and he's received numerous awards for his comedy.
"I guess I've done OK for a white man," said Hotz.
He's also acted in such feature films as My Favorite Martian and Speed 2 - though he doesn't care much for Hollywood.
"I'm not a big film guy, I don't like to do that that much," said Hotz, noting he likes how TV productions allow him to get to know his co-workers better. "Movies are kind of cold - you work intensely with somebody for three months and then they're gone out of your life."
Hotz is content to keep doing stand-up because it allows him to engage with the crowd, adding that improv sometimes makes up 75 per cent of his act.
"It's more interesting for the audience," said Hotz. "If you come to see me on Thursday and then come back on Friday, it won't be the same show because I can't remember what I did on the previous night."
And Hotz isn't alone on his Magical Misery Tour: fellow Canadian comic Frank Spadone is joining him on the 21-date tour. Spadone pokes fun at his Italian background and has a more rigid, stick-to-the-script style of comedy.
"I've worked with him before, I'm really happy that he's going to come across the country with me," said Hotz, adding that they met on a previous tour and hit it off.
"That's what you really need when you're on the road, you need someone that you can get along with."
At least Spadone can't possibly make Hotz more miserable.
Tickets are $42.50 for Hotz's stand-up show March 21 at the Bell, plus facility and service charges. Tickets can be purchased in person at Tickemaster outlets, by phone at 1-855-985-5000 or online at www. ticketmaster.ca.