Kenny Vs Spenny Live is a train wreck of a show. In the best way.
Tillsonburg, Ontario will be host to two of Canada’s most at-odds comedians on January 27. Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice of Kenny Vs Spenny fame are taking their dynamic live show through southwestern Ontario. I sat down with Spenny to chat about his show, the infantilization of comedy, and good old Tillsonburg Ontario.
First off, what’s your least favourite question to get asked during an interview?
Oh, there’s so many. It’s not whether it’s my least favourite, but it’s the repetition. “Is Kenny Vs Spenny live or is it scripted?” That one bothers me because we bent over backwards to make it real, we fought networks.
It’s as real as it could be given the constraints of television. Or when people ask if we really took LSD. It’s fundamentally asking, “Is the show real?” But I don’t hold too many people responsible for it, they’re curious. What else are they gonna ask, who’s your favourite fascist dictator?
Who is your favourite fascist dictator, out of curiosity?
I don’t think I have one. I’m pretty anti-authoritarian, I was just making a ridiculous statement. If there was some benign, good dictator, but by its very nature fascism runs counter to my beliefs.
Good stance. In some of your social media videos, you invite people to see your train wreck of a show. What makes it a train wreck?
Kenny and I have a train wreck relationship. The show was a train wreck show. And then my interaction with the audience, that’s where things can get pretty train-wrecky.
Yeah, I noticed that a lot of the comments were pretty mean.
It’s people channeling Kenny. I actually enjoy it.
Maybe at the very beginning I was a little put off by it. Now I fuel it because it creates interaction. And it gives me a chance to be funny and smarter than most of them.
There’s a few of the haters that I really love because they’re hilarious. My back and forth with them is oddly friendly. They love coming after me because they know I’m going to come back with something and not ignore them. There’s nothing you can do except enjoy the haters and fight back.
What are some of those interaction moments?
We were in Montreal about four weeks ago. I like getting heckled onstage, but I give them a warning once someone starts interrupting again and again.
This one guy wouldn’t shut up and I had warned him, so I told security to throw him out. Nobody did anything, so I waited about three minutes and jumped off the stage and grabbed him by the collar and threw him out of the theatre. The crowd loved it, it was probably the highlight of the show.
But that’s the kind of train wreck moment that you don’t really get with most live shows. They’re not all like that, but it’s capable of getting to that point. I think there’s a lot of philosophical underpinnings to our show, but there’s also a very infantile aspect to the show that people tend to grab on to.
Which bit, the philosophy or the infantile?
No, never the philosophical!
Kenny will show a slide of a rhinoceros with a big hard-on and people just think that’s hilarious. Okay, if that’s what they want, let Kenny do that. I don’t really care, I’ll just call them stupid.
I find Kenny fans in the audience and ask them basic questions about World War II. Sometimes I get burned, but I would say 80 per cent… they can’t name one of the axis powers. I can only fight against it, but I’m not going to be a hypocrite.
I make money off it, so I’ll just let it roll.
If you could have someone walk away from the live show and have them feel like they’ve learned something, what would you think they learned?
From my perspective, they’re not going to learn anything.
I’m sending a serious message, but it’s almost like hitting my head against a wall. But they’re going to have a good time. And as much as I pontificate and talk about teaching and education, I really believe the primary function of what we do is to entertain. It’s just endemic to my personality and my character that’s come out on television to do that more for comedy than to affect any real change.
I might reinforce the people that are already on team Spenny, but I’m not going to change any Kenny fans to Spenny fans. The more I pontificate and educate, the more pissed off they get. And I’m very conscious of that, so that sets me up for where I want to be comedically.
We have a very unique relationship. You have half of the comedy team, albeit the straight man, telling people that what they’re laughing at isn’t funny. That in and of itself is a bizarre thing that works for us. Kenny just keeps cracking the infantile jokes.
It’s a classic comedy duo run amuck in the modern world.
To wrap things up, what’s your favourite thing about Tillsonburg, Ontario?
I have no idea.
Oh, my first time being on the cover of a newspaper was in Tillsonburg. It was a picture of me and my guitar, I was playing music there. I’m thinking I remember the club, it was like a sports bar. It wasn’t the main story, it was down at the bottom. But my picture was there!
It’s not the New York Times, but I’ll take what I can get.
Kenny Vs Spenny will be live in Tillsonburg on Saturday Jan 27 at Sammy Krenshaw’s. Grab tickets at OurEvent! The duo will also be coming to the London Music Hall March 9.