Critically acclaimed TV show Kenny vs Spenny may have ended nearly a decade ago, but the two broken best friends are back to antagonize and humiliate each other once more.
“Everything’s money, motive-wise,” says Spenny.“I don’t think we’d be doing this for free! Beyond that, I think we see the value in our dysfunctional relationship, and we love the comedy that comes out of it.”
Kenneth Hotz and Spencer Rice’s TV series, which debuted in 2002, consisted of weekly challenges between the roommates that resulted in a humiliation to be performed by the loser of the competition. Early seasons featured episodes like “Who Can Stay Awake the Longest?” and “Who Makes the Most Convincing Woman?,” while the comedians upped their stupidities in later years with competitions like “First Guy to Get a Boner Loses” and “Who Can Get Further With the Other Guy’s Mom?”
The comedic gold lay not in the challenges themselves, but in the exchanges between the two childhood friends. Kenny’s compulsion to humiliate Spenny oftentimes led to elaborate schemes to gain a competitive edge, if not outright cheating, while the latter would only find out after his humiliation. Spenny’s commitment to winning in an honest manner was arguably his biggest downfall, leading to a final series count of 59-21 wins for Kenny. The series went on to pioneer many international spinoffs, none of them as successful as the original.
“There’s something very vulgar about what we do that, somehow, we don’t get much credit for,” says Spenny.“They don’t see past the spit, and the puke, and the shit, and anything else. But what it was, it was a real relationship going on. As corny as it was, if the point of a comedy is to make people laugh, I would argue our show was one of the greats.”
Now in their 50s and able to live a normal life outside of the public eye, Kenny and Spenny continue to take pleasure in being able to tour across Canada and make their fans laugh in a live setting. However, Spenny promises that this tour, things will be a little different.
“Kenny never did a humiliation live, ever,” Spenny says.“I always did it. I did it not because I like it, not because I’m a masochist — I did it because the fans wanted to see it. So as much as I’m grumpy and can be a bit of an asshole to the fans, I’ll do what I have to do to get them their money’s worth. That’s over now. I’ve done enough of those things. Now we’re going to pull people out of the audience and have them do it.”
Kenny vs Spenny hopped around from network to network throughout the show’s lifespan. They gained their fame on CBC Television with a poorly planned timeslot, as viewers would tune in minutes before the nightly news and witness the show’s absurd humiliations. The show aired its finale in Sept. 2010 on Showcase, though fans were later gifted with one final Christmas special before its demise. Despite the show’s turbulent run, Spenny has no regrets.
“Kenny and I are stunned that we’re still schlepping this shit, but we both know it was funny and that’s really what we wanted to do to begin with,” he says.“The typecasting part of it is a little tough because I’m a serious musician — I play solo, and I play with a band, and you know, I’ll always be Spenny who shit himself on TV with an octopus on his head, right? B.B. King never really had to deal with that side of things.”
The planned Kenny vs Spenny show at Theatre Fairmont on March 27 was of course cancelled.
For more Kenny vs Spenny info, please visit them on Facebook.
For more coverage of TV and film scene, see our film section.
To read the latest issue of Cult MTL, click here.
To vote for your favourite Montreal people and things in the Best of MTL readers poll, click here.