Kenny Hotz is many things: comedian, documentarian, photographer, diabolical genius. Oh, and cannibal.
If you’re not familiar with his work, a good place to start would be the awesome, underrated and deeply-missed Kenny vs. Spenny. The concept was simple yet genius: two friends have a new competition each week. Most of the time, Kenny would find a loophole in the rules (or just plain cheat) resulting not only in him coming out victorious but also driving his competitor Spenny crazy in the process. After KvS ended it’s run, Hotz went on the create the show Testees, and after that the amazing Kenny Hotz’s Truimph of the Will. Kenny was nice enough to take time out of his day to answer some hard-hitting, Nerd City-style questions.
Audiences probably best know you from the TV show Kenny vs. Spenny, which ended it’s run in 2010. In every episode the friendship between you and Spenny always seemed ready to fall apart at any moment. Given the chance, would you want to resurrect the show and go through the insanity again? Are you past all that?
I LOVED DOING THE SHOW, TOTALLY LOVED IT. I WOULD DO 500 MORE EPISODES. I get tons of emails and comments from fans (constantly) about doing season 7. Fans don’t seem to understand that it’s not up to me or Spenny. We need a broadcaster to do the series. We can’t just go into my backyard and see who can knit a sweater the fastest. The series is held by broadcasters who will not do more episodes. Comedy Central owns it in the U.S. and Shaw owns the right to produce it in Canada. Egg their building, bother them, send angry comments to their Facebook page. I’m sad that we can’t do the show! I want to do more!
Were there any competitions ideas you never got to do for KvS that you really liked/wanted to?
So many, including “who can smoke more crack?” and “who is the best?” Some I wished I didn’t do like “dump in pants”; I’m kinda embarrassed about that. It was hard picking competitions, very hard for me. I was the guy who presented Spenny with them. I would think of a show I wanted to do and then take it to director/cameraman Sebastian “Sebi” Cluer. He really is the unsung hero of the series. I couldn’t have done it without him. It was him and I that did most of the conceptual work, then we’d present it to Spenny would decide to agree do the competition or refuse it. If he agreed then he’d go off and work on how he could win it. But there are pages of episodes I wanted to do and still do. I was only getting warmed up!
You only occasionally appeared onscreen for your show Testees. Do you prefer producing and the behind-the-sceens work rather than being on camera all the time?
I don’t like doing lines and acting. I could’ve gone into it; I decided it wasn’t for me. I don’t really want to do others peoples stuff unless it’s incredible – like South Park – but those gigs are rare. I love being on camera but I prefer writing, directing, and producing. Doing Testees was a dream and much more rewarding than KvS even though I think KvS is the best and funniest show in TV history!
Going along with this, it seems like the bulk of your work has been TV oriented. Aside from your documentaries, you’ve only been in one studio film (that I’ve seen). Is this intentional?
No, cuz I’m really a film guy – movies are where my heart is. But I love TV and short form content as well. I never thought I’d be on TV, it just happened after Spenny and I saw how audiences reacted to us in (our movie) “PITCH”. It was a tangent we stuck with and it worked. We made cash, made people laugh and made a great show that showed the world Canadians are still fucking funny and cool! But I pitch a lot of things – film, tv, digital, clubs, real estate, restaurant ideas…I take what I can get. In the end I need someone with cash or a network to keep working. That’s just the way it is. I wish some super rich sheik would just give me money to keep making my content. That would be my dream! If anyone out there can help…I’m in! I just want to do great things.
As a documentarian, what are some of your favorite documentaries?
I just love good shit. Oh, and super bad car crash shit as well. Both ends of the spectrum, I guess. Some of my fave docs are “Marjoe”, “When We Were Kings”, “The Kid Stays in the Picture”, “Chicken Hawk”, “My Best Fiend”, “Cocksucker Blues”, “Heart of Darkness” and anything at all to do with the Nazi’s!
You’re also an esteemed photographer, covering subjects like the Gulf War, and vacation hotspots such as Waco, and Auschwitz. Is photography still an important part of your life?
No not at all, I’m done with it. Spent endless years of my life walking around with a camera on my shoulder. That’s an all or nothing thing for me, either I do photography 100% or I don’t do it. I love photography, that’s why I can’t do it half assed. That’s kinda why I don’t do a lot of things like stand-up or host some shit show. Fuck it – I’m not really into money like some people. I don’t want to sell out. Right now, I love my life so much! No reason to ruin it for cash. Why? So I can buy some lame fancy car? I don’t want or work my ass of for money. I’m pretty set, no reason to ruin my lifes work! I produce because I’m driven to do something. If I’m not inspired, no reason to work.
As a photographer, do you have any favorite photographers or inspirations?
A lot. Anyone good who does amazing shit inspires me. Also, people who do crap inspire me too. They inspire me to do great work. I’m not saying I do great shit, I just really care – probably too much sometimes. But I’m inspired by a lot of the influences I had as a kid. Too many too mention. I just want to say that I do comedy because of SCTV and film because of [Leni]Riefenstahl.
Working on any current projects? What’s next?
There’s always talk of a Kenny vs. Spenny movie. If we did one it would be insane. But I just signed a partner deal with Google for a premium Youtube channel. It’s the first premium Youtube comedy channel in Canada – I’m super excited. I’m making cool digital shorts again for AUXMODE, a viral ad agency I started with some pals. I also have a movie I’m working on. I’m off to L.A. to pitch some TV with my new agent, the guy who sold Kenny vs. Spenny a decade ago – funny how life repeates itself sometimes. Very excited right now, fingers crossed! Sacrifice a few virgins for me! I can use all the help I can get.
Be sure to check out more of Kenny at his site kennyhotz.com. And buy all the Kenny vs. Spenny DVDs. And check out his shows, including Testees and Triumph of the Will.