The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – May 21, 2014
Slamming drinks in Chatham with some middle-aged comedians
“Every show was the fucking worst,” exclaimed Kenny Hotz while sitting beside Spencer Rice backstage at the Capitol Theatre while on the Chatham leg of their national comedy tour. I sat down to interview the comedy duo over vodka and Red Bulls.
“We created a show where we tortured ourselves… you fucking assholes, you’re such a sick fucking audience that you demanded the most disgusting horrible shit.”
The two stared in Kenny vs. Spenny, a Canadian reality comedy series in which the duo competed in outlandish competitions in order to humiliate the loser. They’ve been friends since they were children and both joke that their experience on TV ruined their friendship.
Playing as foils, Hotz explained that his intention on the program was to avoid doing the humiliation rather than seeking to win, while Rice explained that he sought to compete with integrity.
“I like to think I try to have integrity, I fail like most people at times, but I don’t really like being the good guy, but that’s what I’ve been saddled with and I’m going to run with it,” said Rice.
Hotz said, “The reality is I’m the good guy, I’m the happy guy, he’s the unhappy guy… the angry, neurotic, paranoid, violent person and I’m the fun loving [one]. I like myself, he hates himself.”
The show lasted for six seasons and Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, became executive producers in 2007 after seeing the “genius” that is Hotz and Rice’s creation, which bolstered their entry into the American marketplace.
Hotz explained that Parker and Stone got involved immediately after meeting Rice and realizing that they weren’t acting but rather being themselves on screen.
“That’s why Matt and Trey really loved us, because if we did [the challenge] ‘Who do gays guys love more?’ we both would’ve done anything to fuck the gay guy,” said Hotz. “If there was a down syndrome kid that I wanted to teach [that] Spenny molested him, I never called him a fucking retard, we became friends in the show! We were self-deprecating, I never exploited him, I was never mean, crossed a line or exploited anybody else ever and I’m really proud of that.”
While noting that there were some exceptions, Rice agreed that the “joke was always on us.”
At times the show did go too far which Hotz credits to the fact that two “normal fucking idiots ended up being caught in this hurricane of fame,” allowing them to do anything they wanted. “[It] created a Catch-22 where we couldn’t not do it and some of it’s embarrassing.”
When the show wasn’t renewed for a second season on CBC, Rice thought that their prospects had ended but Hotz knew from the outset that the show was special and going places.
“I knew that the second we started it was a fucking full on go. We did little things… when I made him think that he had AIDS, that fucking popped… this is the fucking real deal.”
The Kenny vs. Spenny vs. Canada tour has spanned the country with virtually sold out shows at every venue and Hotz is loving every minute of it. “I love meeting the fans… Who wouldn’t go in front of a thousand people that love you with tons of muff wanting to bone you and go show your shit and be loved?”
Many fans hope the tour will act as a catalyst to bring back the show for another season and both stars maintained that they’d be interested in getting back into the proverbial ring.
“It’s not up to us. People say bring back Adolph Hitler, especially Spenny,” joked Hotz. “We would do it, I would love to do 500 more shows. This to me is the greatest show in the history of all of television. I think there’s more laughs per minute than any other show. Call me a fucking egomaniacal narcissist, whatever you want.”
“You’re an egomaniacal narcissist,” responded Rice, who went on to explain that the genius of the show was that it was project based and that the duo played off of a comedy dynamic that was “as old as Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis… it was the reality version of it.”
With possible talks of coming to Windsor in the fall for a repeat performance, Hotz joked that he used to sell “more weed than anybody else” in Toronto that he would purchase from Windsor.
“We used to go to Windsor and like, I’d come here, I haven’t been [there] in. 32 years. We used to score cylinders of weed [and hash]. It’s a nice town, wicked houses…”
When the tour concludes, the duo would like to make more cash. For the time being, they’re focused on bringing the show to their fans.
“I’d do it again. I want more money. I’d like to sell out… Commercials anybody?” joked Rice. “Guys who shit their pants? [Representatives aren’t] lining up for us to do Disney.”
“We’re Jews, of course we want to [sell out],” joked Hotz. “We want the cash baby.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.