Canadian comedy legends Kenneth (Kenny) Hotz and Spencer (Spenny) Rice returned to the Algonquin Commons Theatre the evening of Jan. 28th to a crowd of more than 400 fans.
Hotz and Rice are notorious for their adversarial brand of comedy. Part slapstick, part psychological warfare, their TV show Kenny Vs. Spenny was wildly popular in the 2000’s, airing its pilot episode on Aug, 26th 2003 and running until its Christmas special finale on Dec, 23., 2010, and although the series ended nearly eight years ago, the duo maintains a large fan base.
“I’m trying to expose Spencer,” told Hotz in a pre-show interview with the Times. “Part of me thinks he’s the worst person on the planet.”
For his part, Rice explained that he had asked Hotz to stop spreading outrageous lies, and instead gave his partner permission to tell true stories about Rice.
“That was my big mistake,” explained Hotz. “His memory is incredible.”
Introduced to the stage by XXX Hypnotist Tony Lee, Spenny wore a t-shirt with the name of W.C. Fields’ favourite tavern “New Old Lompoc House.” Kenny wore a t-shirt depicting Adolf Hitler in his pajamas, sledding down a rainbow.
From the moment Hotz took the stage, he went on the offensive, comparing Rice to the offspring of Jar Jar Binks and Marilyn Manson, and warning about the inevitable “Amber Alert” Rice would cause after the show.
Keeping to his word, after a few initial jabs, Hotz began regaling the audience with anecdotes from Rice’s past, like selling fraudulent energy bundles to senior citizens, being arrested for selling acid in high school, and a penchant for incorporating urine into his romantic affairs.
“One in four men enjoy piss-play,” yelled Rice, who had left the stage to look for support among the audience. “Just because a quarter of these dudes are cowards doesn’t make me a pervert!”
As the show progressed Rice made it clear that while Hotz was his antagonist, his true enemy is the audience, reserving his wrath more for the heckles from the audience than the taunts from Hotz.
However, with all of the pranks and antagonizing, Rice and Hotz maintain it doesn’t come from a place of malice.
“There’s a fundamental friendship and love that is the moral code of Kenny vs. Spenny,” Hotz to the Times. “I’m always trying to make him a better person and I still am.”
“There’s parts of him that I envy, parts of him that I respect,” said Rice, “but that’s not going to make for a good show.”
Rice and Hotz are older now and realize the comedy scene has changed.
“There’s chapters; everyone has a period and I don’t know if we’re in that period anymore,” said Hotz when asked about the duo’s possible future. “I don’t think anyone really wants us.”
Yet for the more than 400 fans who came for the duo’s transgressive, offensive and intentionally politically incorrect humour, the show proved these slapstick gladiators still have some fight left in them.
LISTEN: to an interview with Kenny and Spenny by Algonquin Times reporter Stuart Benson.