Kenny Hotz

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Kenny Hotz
Kenny Hotz photo for Wikipedia.jpg
Born Kenneth Joel Hotz
(1967-05-03) May 3, 1967 (age 49)[1]
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Residence Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actor, director, screenwriter, and producer
Years active 1994–present
Awards Gemini Award and Canadian Comedy Award winner

Kenneth Joel "Kenny" Hotz is a Canadian producer, writer, director, actor, and comedian. Hotz is a South Park consultant and writer, creator/star of the Comedy Central television show Kenny vs. Spenny, creator and writer of the FX series Testees, and the creator/star of Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will. He has received awards for his television work—including Gemini Awards and Canadian Comedy Awards—and is a multiple-time film festival award-winner. He is also an award-winning Vice contributor and Gulf war photo-journalist.


"Mannequins in wedding dresses", taken during the 1991 Gulf War by Kenny Hotz

After graduating high school from the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute,[2] Hotz began as a documentary filmmaker and news photographer, creating photo essays on subjects including Auschwitz, Dachau, and the Gulf War.[3] Additional photo essays of his have included Needle Park in Zurich, Switzerland, David Koresh, Mount Carmel, Romanian orphanages after Nicolae Ceauşescu and New Year's Eve 2000 in Times Square. Both national and provincial archives have purchased his work for their collections. In 1992 Hotz graduated from Ryerson University. Later he was a columnist for Vice, and won the publication's best fiction article of the year award in 2006.[4]

Early film work[edit]

Hotz was the writer, producer, director, cinematographer, and editor of the short film It Don't Cost Nothin' to Say Good Morning.[1] The film is an 18-minute short co-directed by Spencer Rice, the man with whom he would co-star in their award-winning show Kenny vs. Spenny premiering in 2003.[5] Rice and Hotz have been friends since childhood.[6] In 1997 he co-wrote an episode of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation with Spencer Rice, titled Truce or Consequences.[7] In 1999 Hotz moved with his long-time writing partner Rice to Los Angeles, where they worked on the development of the show Kenny vs. Spenny.[4] In 1996, he created and starred (with Rice) in the documentary Pitch which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1997. The film had numerous cameos including Al Pacino, Samuel Z. Arkoff and Neil Simon.[1]

The Papal Chase[edit]

Hotz starred in his second feature film titled The Papal Chase, a related documentary about Hotz trying to meet the Pope John Paul II, released in 2004.[1] The film received the Phillip Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2004 Whistler Film Festival, and in 2005 won the People's Choice Award for Best Canadian Feature at the Canadian Filmmakers Festival and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.

Kenny vs. Spenny[edit]

Main article: Kenny vs. Spenny
Kenny vs. Spenny Season One DVD Cover

Kenny vs. Spenny was first aired on CBC Television in 2003 and went on to be nominated for 8 Gemini awards. The original pilot had been commissioned by USA Network, but never aired before the show was picked up by the CBC for 26 episodes.[8] The series centered on Hotz and friend Spencer Rice as they competed against each other in competitions, the loser of which would perform a "humiliation". The show was embroiled in a deliberate controversy with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission for Hotz's actions in the episode Who Can Piss Off More People, where he paid to have a plane fly over Toronto dragging a banner that reads "Jesus Sucks". Though he claimed his friend Jesus was getting married and it was not directed towards a religion.[9] The show moved from CBC to Showcase television in Canada after the nationally run CBC censored two episodes of Kenny vs. Spenny, refusing to air them on their network.[10] Censored episodes of the show aired in the United States on the Game Show Network before the show was officially relocated to the Comedy Central network, moving from Canada to the US.[6]

The last episode, ("The Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special"), was aired in 2010.[11] The series produced 89 original episodes, over six seasons. Each of the main characters of the show would go on to have their own shows the following year.[12] Hotz also created the concept for the videogame Versusville to accompany the television show, which was nominated for a Canadian New Media Award for Excellence in Gaming.[4]

In 2009 Maclean's magazine named Kenny vs. Spenny the number eight pick in its list of the top ten Canadian television shows of the previous decade. The magazine said of the show and Kenny's on air role that, "Many episodes feature the evil Kenny destroying his supposed friend through deceit, trickery and blatant cheating."[13] Hotz also produced the series Elton vs. Simon, a German remake of the series Kenny vs. Spenny that aired between 2004 and 2006.[14] Kenny vs. Spenny show was broadcast in over 25 different countries and licensed globally, with remakes including Cenk vs. Erdem in Turkey, Juan vs. Roman in Colombia, Katja vs. Bridget in the Netherlands, and Ed vs. Spencer in the UK.[15] This resulted in the show becoming the largest selling comedy format in Canadian television history.[16] The show was named #8 among the top 10 Canadian television shows of the 21st century.[17] In July 2013 the show was ranked as the highest rated reality television show by IMDb.[18] In March 2014 a fan campaign to have the show return to production on Netflix began, following Hotz's announcement that he and Spenny were planning the live comedy tour Kenny vs. Spenny vs. Canada.[19] In reaction to the campaign, Vice Magazine called the show "the best thing that Canada has ever made".[20] Since the close of the show, clips from its episodes have received more than 200 million views on YouTube.[21]

South Park and Comedy Central[edit]

Kenny Hotz, Spencer Rice, and Kenny vs. Spenny executive producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, backstage at the Game Show Network

Hotz worked as a consultant and writer on South Park, providing material for episodes including Follow That Egg! and Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow. Between 2004 and 2006 Hotz was a consultant writer, and sometimes staff writer, for 42 different episodes of the show, returning again in 2012 to write for the episode Cartman Finds Love.[22] Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, joined to help produce future episodes of Kenny vs. Spenny in the fall of 2007, when the show began airing on Comedy Central becoming executive producers.[23] They stated that they first came across the show while staying up late finishing their movie Team America: World Police, when they viewed the episode Who can stay awake the longest? from the show's first season.[24] The Writers Guild of America named him and the rest of the South Park writing staff as the 63rd best writing team in television history.[25]


Main article: Testees

In 2008, Hotz created the sitcom Testees for FX Networks, producing 13 shows centering on two roommates who work as guinea pigs for a mediocre product testing facility.[26] The show produced 13 episodes and started airing in October 2008 on FX.[27] Hotz stated that the inspiration of the series was Woody Allen's character Fielding Mellish in the film Bananas. The show starred actors Steve Markle (as Peter) and Jeff Kassel (as Ron).[28] The show's title came from the name of the testing facility where both main characters worked: Testico. The premier episode starred Ron and Peter believing that Peter has become pregnant, although his condition is actually just a hormonal imbalance from the medical testing he underwent earlier in the episode.[29] Tom Shales of the Washington Post said of the show upon its debut, "the comedy doesn't push boundaries so much as trounce and trash them. Even the show's title is a trifle problematical for a family newspaper. There are few lines or situations that can be readily quoted here – but who wants jokes spoiled anyway? ... 'Testees' is wall-to-wall uproarious."[30]

Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will[edit]

In 2011, Hotz starred and produced a new series Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will, which premiered on Canada's Action network on July 22, 2011.[31] The series produced six episodes[22] and showed Hotz attempting to complete major tasks that challenged the social assumptions of both his audience and himself, including the building of a Jewish funded mosque for Muslims,[3] and finding his widowed mother a new boyfriend.[32] The show was shot on location in countries including Canada, the US, and France.[33]

Recent work[edit]

In 2012, Hotz was in negotiations to produce a feature-length cartoon that was written by Phil Hartman entitled Yogi and the Kid as a part of the ongoing production of the late actor's written work.[34] That year he also signed a partner deal with Google to produce Canada's first premium YouTube comedy channel. His prior television shows also entered several new syndication markets, including Poland (Kenny vs. Spenny) and Russia (Kenny vs. Spenny and Testees).[35] He recently penned a deal with Sirius Radio in the U.S. for a weekly radio show that airs in Canada and the United States.[36] In 2013 the official Google Canada Blog stated that Kenny Hotz's channel was one of the top ten Canadian Comedy Channels on YouTube.[37] He is also known for helping online videos become viral through his social media platform.[38] In November 2013 he was nominated for the Digital Personality of the Year at the Canadian Digi Awards.[39] In 2015, Hotz had a role in the film The Chickening,[40] which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.[41] He also served as the film's producer.[42] In 2016 Vice Media aired a TV special starring Hotz, entitled Getting an Election executive produced by Spike Jonze.[43]


Hotz also had cameos in Kevin Smith's 2008 film Zack and Miri Make A Porno, Degrassi Takes Manhattan, as well as a cameo in the Pure Pwnage television series.[1]

Kenny vs Spenny tours[edit]

In 2014, Hotz and his partner Spencer Rice designed a traveling stage show based upon their show Kenny vs. Spenny, and took the show on a world tour of approximately 100 dates.[44] Part of this tour included the Canadian national Kenny vs. Spenny vs. Canada tour. According to Jenny Jay, "The pair began the show by telling the audience about their roots and the premise of how the show began, which kick-started the slew of uncut footage that never aired ... In between showing the video footage, Kenny and Spenny displayed their genuine distrust and dislike for each other through their constant, bitter bickering ... Contrary to their passionate dislike for each other, however, slips of a seemingly brotherly love were seen. Even though the two may despise each other, the audience was allowed insight into the possibility that Kenny and Spenny may still be incomplete without each other."[45]

Other ventures[edit]

Hotz is the owner of The Hoxton[46] and Dog & Bear restaurant and bars in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[47] In December 2013 The Hoxton was the site of an impromptu post-concert performance by Kanye West and Drake.[48] He is also the Comedy Chair of the Banff World Media Festival Advisory Boards for the Banff World Media Festival.[49] In 2013 he cofounded Aux Mode, an online content distribution and monetization firm.[50]


Year Format Film Role Character
1994 Short film It Don't Cost Nothin' to Say Good Morning Director, DOP, Editor
1997 Television cartoon Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Writer[51]
1997 Feature-length documentary Pitch Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Actor Himself
2003–2010 Television comedy Kenny vs. Spenny Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Actor Kenny (himself)
2004 Feature-length documentary The Papal Chase Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Actor Himself
2004–06, 2012 Television comedy South Park Writer and Consultant
2005 Television comedy Elton vs. Simon Executive Producer
2007 Television comedy Odd Job Jack Voice Clay Shogen
2008 Television comedy Testees Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Actor Larry
2008 Feature film (comedy) Zack and Miri Make A Porno Actor Zack #2
2009 Television comedy Pure Pwnage Cameo
2010 Feature film Degrassi Takes Manhattan Cameo
2010 Television comedy special Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Actor Kenny
2011 Television comedy Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will Executive Producer, Creator, Writer, Director, and Actor Himself
2015 Vice Media Me On You Creator, Executive Producer, Director, and Host Himself
2015 Short Film The Chickening Producer, Actor Lady in Bathtub
2016 Viceland Special Getting an Election Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Host Himself
2017 Viceland Special All Things Human Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director, and Host Himself

Appearances in other media[edit]

Date Media
September 30, 2004 Late Night with Conan O'Brien
2005 Lingo[52]
January 23, 2007 George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight[52]
January 29, 2007 Tom Green Live![53]
September 18, 2007 George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight[52]
October 9, 2007 George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight[52]
March 14, 2008 Jimmy Kimmel Live![54]
March 18, 2008 Last Call with Carson Daly[55]
March 21, 2008 Ed's Nite In[52]
2008 MTV Cribs[56]
2010 MTV Cribs[56]
February 12, 2013 The Adam Carolla Show[57]
April 2014 Coffee Run with Deadmau5[58]
April 18, 2016 Getting an Election: A Canadian Trolls America[59]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Year Project Award Awarding Body Result
1996 It Don't Cost Nothin' to Say Good Morning Best Canadian Documentary Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival Won[1]
2002 Kenny vs. Spenny Golden Rose of Montreux Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival Nominated[1]
2004 The Papal Chase Phillip Borsos Award Whistler Film Festival Won[1]
2004 Kenny vs. Spenny Best Comedy Program or Series Gemini Awards Won[1]
2005 The Papal Chase Audience award (best documentary) Brooklyn Film Festival Won[1]
2005 The Papal Chase Audience award (documentary) Canadian Filmmakers' Festival Won[1]
2006 Kenny vs. Spenny Best Comedy Program or Series Gemini Awards Nominated[1]
2008 Kenny vs. Spenny Best Comedy Program or Series Gemini Awards Nominated[1]
2009 Testees Best Comedy Program or Series Gemini Awards Nominated[1]
2009 Testees Best Comedy Writing in a Program or Series Gemini Awards Nominated[1]
2010 Kenny vs. Spenny Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series Gemini Awards Nominated[1]
2010 Kenny vs. Spenny Best Director in a Comedy Program or Series Canadian Comedy Awards Won[60]
2010 Kenny vs. Spenny Best Writing in a Comedy Program or Series Canadian Comedy Awards Nominated[61]
2012 Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will Best International Comedy Series Banff World Media Festival Nominated[62]
2012 Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will Best Director in a Comedy Program or Series Canadian Comedy Awards Nominated[1]
2012 Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will Comedy Person of the Year Canadian Comedy Awards Nominated[1]
2013 Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will Best Comedy Program or Series Canadian Screen Awards Nominated[63]
2013 Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will Best Photography in a Comedy Program or Series Canadian Screen Awards Nominated[64]
2016 Kenny Hotz's Getting An Election Best Short Canadian Comedy Awards Won[65]
2016 Kenny Hotz Comedic Artist of the Year Canadian Comedy Awards Nominated[65]
2016 The Chickening Short Film Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival Nominated[66]


Year Project Award Awarding Body Result
2006 I Told My Friend He Had AIDS First Annual Story Awards Vice Magazine Won[67]


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  9. ^ "B.C. man files human-rights complaint over 'Jesus sucks' banner". The Vancouver Sun. August 2, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Team North America: Kenny, Spenny, Matt and Trey get together to gross out". National Post. March 31, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
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  13. ^ Jaime Weinman (December 10, 2009). "Top 10 Canadian TV shows of the decade". Maclean's. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Elton vs Simon". IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
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  18. ^ "Highest Rated Reality-TV TV Series With At Least 1,000 Votes". Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  19. ^ Leland Dieno (March 10, 2014). "Kenny vs. Spenny Versus Netflix". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Behind the Scenes of Kenny and Spenny's Reddit AMA". Vice Magazine. March 25, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
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  27. ^ The Toronto Star, News: Testees Cancelled By FX; Canadian Future Still Up In The Air
  28. ^ Rob Salem (July 17, 2008). "Kenny `testees' the waters". Toronto Star. 
  29. ^ Robert Lloyd (October 9, 2008). "'Testees' hits below the belt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  30. ^ Tom Shales (October 9, 2008). "'Kath & Kim' Is a House Of Mirth". Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will". Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  32. ^ And Pop (July 21, 2011). "KENNY HOTZ TRIES TO GET HIS MOM LAID". Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  33. ^ Elan Vlessing (January 20, 2011). "Showcase Picks Up Kenny Hotz Comedy From Entertainment One". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  34. ^ Scott Dunn (October 23, 2012). "Hartman now on Walk of Fame". Owen Sound Sun Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  35. ^ Matthew Sylvain (November 19, 2012). "Entertainment One reports roster of factual sales". Real Screen. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  36. ^ Emma Teitel (January 27, 2013). "Kenny Hotz has a new job and he doesn't care if he gets fired!". Macleans. 
  37. ^ Wendy Bairos (May 16, 2013). "LOL – Countdown to Comedy Week". Google. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  38. ^ Marc Weisblott (May 28, 2013). "Rob Ford 'leaked' crack videos being removed from YouTube for 'depiction of harmful activities'". Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Digital Personality of the Year". Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ Ben Dungan (December 16, 2014). "Kenny vs Spenny: Catching up with the groundbreaking Canadian comedy duo (Interview)". LaughSpin. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  45. ^ Jenny Jay (October 17, 2014). "Kenny vs Spenny entertains plenty". Western Gazette. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  46. ^ Brian Towie (September 16, 2011). "Buzz on bars: The Hoxton". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  47. ^ Naphtali McKenly (July 20, 2012). "KENNY HOTZ: HOT FOR GIN". TORO. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  48. ^ John Semley (December 23, 2013). "Kanye West and Drake were at the Hoxton". Now Toronto. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  49. ^ "2012 ADVISORY BOARDS". Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  50. ^ "Team". Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  51. ^ ""
  52. ^ a b c d e "Filmography by Genre for Kenny Hotz". IMDb. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  53. ^ "Episodes cast for "Tom Green Live!"". Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  54. ^ "Filmography by TV series for Spencer Rice". IMDb. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Last Call with Carson Daly Episode dated 18 March 2008". Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  56. ^ a b "Kenny Hotz TV Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  57. ^ "Episode: Sasha Grey and Kenny Hotz". February 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  58. ^ "Deadmau5 Takes Adam Savage on his Latest Coffee Run". DJ Magazine. 
  59. ^ "Getting an Election: A Canadian Trolls America". VICE. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  60. ^ "Awards for Kenny Hotz". Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  61. ^ "Kenny Hotz Awards". Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  62. ^ "Rockies Program Competition Nominee Showcase". Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  63. ^ "Nominees for the Canadian Screen Awards". Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  64. ^ "2013 CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS: Television Nominations" (PDF). Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  65. ^ a b
  66. ^
  67. ^ Kenny Hotz. "I Told My Friend He Had AIDS". Vice Magazine. Retrieved October 31, 2012. 

External links[edit]