Jeremy Hotz Massey Hall, Toronto ON, February 11

Jeremy Hotz Massey Hall, Toronto ON, February 11
"I'm 5'8'' on a good day. I never have a good day." Hotz speedily quipped after finding out he was shorter than the 14-year-old boy in the balcony. This joke epitomizes what makes Jeremy Hotz great: he's endearingly self-deprecating, yet commands the respect of his crowd with his playfully quick comedy. Fittingly self-proclaimed as an "International Man of Misery" in the name of his nation-wide tour, Hotz was a neurotic delight. He definitely earned the standing ovation of the packed crowd in Massey Hall.
Though Hotz maintained his distinctively timid delivery, including the bashful face touching that is a hallmark of his style, his stage presence was very lively. Hotz took full advantage the huge stage at Massey Hall, often pacing across it, always with the entire mic stand in his arms. This choice was subtle but very impactful: the ease with which he carried the mic stand added dynamism to his stage presence, while his moments of stillness with the stand in his grip reinforced his uniquely nervous persona.
Hotz's material was filled with familiar topics, but was still comically compelling. His illustration of his frustration with the banalities of air travel was as hyperbolic as it was vivid, as were his descriptions of how bizarre sexting can get and how men trim their pubic hair. Similarly, his contention that women enjoy sex more than men was as unusual as it was funny, as were his grimly amusing description of how his previous dog was so old that he almost wanted it to die and his joke about how he wished babies came out of a different orifice.
Additionally, his anecdotes about the Canadian cities he had visited on tour and his material about receiving terrible gifts from good friends were both hilarious in their honesty. His explanation of the stupidity of the name "Newfoundland" was detailed and compelling, while his story about getting a referee jersey for Christmas was pessimistically relatable.
Opener Matt Molchen was unfortunately unremarkable in comparison. Molchen's observations seldom ventured beyond the basics of their premises, which were mostly low hanging fruit. Namely, his material about pot smokers found unimaginative humour in little more than the statement of stereotypes and a drawn-out impression. However, Molchen's use of water to create a spot-on sound effect for that joke was impressive, and his material about his Fitbit earned solid laughs.