Kenny Hotz from ‘Kenny vs. Spenny’ still commands one of Canada’s biggest comedy fan bases. From Bathurst and Eglinton to being a photojournalist in the Gulf War, to a high-profile writer in California and back, and selling out shows in Germany, Kenny Hotz is one of the most recognizable Canadian TV stars there may ever be.
At the age of six, he started making movies in an NFB film camp in Toronto. He started a serious study of photography at just thirteen which eventually culminated to Hotz becoming a foreign Gulf War correspondent in 1991. Soon after, he began making movies that have won awards and played festivals worldwide. Hotz created and starred in his reality sitcom, ‘Kenny vs Spenny’, before there was reality TV. He was the only Canadian writer of South Park (Terrance and Phillip are secretly Kenny and Spenny, how cool is that?!). Most millennials know him from his hit show Kenny vs. Spenny that first aired on CBC, and later Showcase television. Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice would battle it out week-after-week in competitions such as ‘Who Can Eat More Meat?’, ‘Who Can Stay Homeless the Longest?’, all the way up to ‘Who Can Get Further with the Other Guy’s Mom?’; with the loser facing a humiliation chosen by the winner. Humiliations included being pelted with tomatoes (medieval style) by pedestrians and asking parents if their children were for sale. Wikipedia states that Kenny won 74 per cent of the show’s competitions. Six seasons and 89 episodes later, not only was the format replicated around the world (Ed vs. Spencer in the U.K., Elton vs. Simon in Germany, for example), but it landed Hotz in the writer’s room of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s South Park. Concurrently, Stone and Parker became Executive Producers for Kenny vs. Spenny in the latter years of the show. Hotz’ fan base still clamours for his content nearly a decade after the original show aired. With nearly 190,000 YouTube subscribers, Kenny has an easy 85 million views on his channel. Simply put, there is no shortage of desire for his truly edgy and hilarious content. At our request, Kenny submitted his own editorial and account of life events to ONtheGO, from the perspective of a journalist whom accidentally ran into him in Germany, but the piece wasn’t tame enough for our publication. Among the Hitler and Terry Fox-related jokes, there were many other hidden gems in his written piece, such as the fact Hotz lived with music legend Joni Mitchell, who he says “adopted him as her godson”. We would be remiss to pretend that Kenny’s success didn’t come with a backlog of hard work and hitting the pavement in the time before the internet, which means finding ways to get one’s work in front of the eyes of those that can bring it to life, which is not an easy task in itself. That’s the story behind Kenny and Spenny’s documentary Pitch (1997) which, as Kenny explains, is just one of three films he created. It Don’t Cost Nothin’ To Say Good Morning, Pitch and The Papal Chase were the three films made by Kenny Hotz before his ground-breaking show Kenny vs. Spenny hit the air. He also had his own 13 episode series on FX called Testees, he created and produced a series called Triumph of the Will which was nominated for numerous awards, and trolled Donald Trump in two Viceland specials along side Spike Jonze, who is a huge Kenny vs. Spenny fan. Hotz also recently directed a Deadmau5 music video called ‘Monophobia’, which pulled in a whopping 9.3 million views. What’s next for the Toronto native you ask? He keeps his cards close to his chest so his next moves currently remain a mystery to us, but he certainly has his fanbase waiting with bated breath for his next venture. Fans of course point to a Kenny vs. Spenny reboot, which begs the question, would it be independently produced, or would a network dare to air episodes akin to “Who Can Blow the Biggest Fart?” in 2019/2020? Will he bring back his successful podcast? We’ll have to wait and see. Few entertainers, especially in Canada, can put together almost 620,000 social media followers and hardly post a thing, and with politically-incorrect comedians like Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr and Andrew Schulz reaching huge audiences, there is no doubt there still exists a void for the type of comedy that a Kenny Hotz provides.