Kenny vs. Spenny is a new Comedy Central reality show in which two lifelong best friends compete in contests like "Who can wear a dead octopus on his head the longest?" "Who can eat more meat?" and "Who do gay guys like more?" The loser has to do a "humiliation" determined by the other guy. (Once, for example, Spenny was required to eat a sushi dinner off Kenny’s naked rear-end.) Imported to America by Matt Stone and Trey Parker after three blockbuster seasons on Canadian television, the show began its run on Comedy Central a few weeks ago, and it's hilarious. Thirty-six-year-old Kenny Hotz is the nihilistic, cheating sadist, who wins almost every contest over Spencer Rice, 37, the naïve masochist who insists on playing by the rules. To secure victories, Kenny has spiked Spenny’s orange juice with LSD, locked him in a closet overnight, and forged a letter from the Canadian government convincing him he had AIDS.
What is the worst thing Kenny has ever done to you?
Spenny: Spiking my drink with acid would have to be the worst thing, but also in season one where I was whipped by a transvestite dominatrix for a humiliation. I was tied to [an apparatus] kind of like a crucifix. I felt really vulnerable, I was in my underwear, and of course Kenny pulled my underwear down. I got so angry I broke the guy’s cross thing, and production had to pay like $500 to fix it.
Do you still consider yourselves best friends?
Spenny: Yeah. I would say it's like we're from the same family. We all have someone we've known so long, been through so much with, that they become like family. But after doing eight months of the show, yeah, you need a break from each other.
How can you still call him a friend after he made you think you had AIDS?
Spenny: First of all, it was a hell of a relief to find out it wasn't true. The acid was a terrible thing to do too, but I'd taken acid before so I guess he thought I could handle it. No one has a gun to my head to do this show. I know what I'm up against. If I was really afraid of getting hurt, I just wouldn't do the show.
Are you proud of Kenny vs. Spenny?
Spenny: Yeah, 100 percent. The two main things that keep me doing the show are (a) I think it's, sadly, an honest representation of our relationship and (b) it's funny. That makes it worthwhile for me to put myself in these positions. When it’s finished and edited, we both think it's funny. Don't misunderstand me — doing the show is not fun. Seeing how much meat we can eat or who can blow the biggest fart or having goats tied to us is not fun in the moment. You think it would be, but it's not. And you've got Kenny doing God knows what to me on top of that. Producing the show is a nightmare, but watching it later is a different experience. I liken it to writing; it's hard work at the time, but when it's written in the end, it's satisfying. I dread getting the phone call telling us that we're going again [for another season]. But I'll do it because so far I think we've produced a great television show. It could outlive me, which I find interesting.
One time we did "First one to stop standing loses," and it became almost a philosophical argument about what it means to stand, and that's what I like about the show. I think there's a lot more to our show than the toilet humor — which mostly comes from Kenny, by the way. He believes that this is American TV, if we hit it big we're going to be rich, and he associates that with [toilet humor].
Are you recognized constantly in Canada?
Kenny: We're pretty rocking in Canada. But there's not much there for our demographic, or any demographic. A lot of shows in Canada are culturally motivated, whereas Kenny and I are profit-motivated, like American television.
Is your relationship with Spenny outside the show different?
Kenny: No, it's exactly the same. I'm kind of happy — which is weird — that we're being introduced to America on season four. Every single year Spenny gets angry and more paranoid, there's more self-loathing. And every year I get a little meaner, I hate him more, our relationship gets more dysfunctional. Season one I lock him in a closet, season two I tell him he has AIDS, season three I [dose] him with acid, and now we're ramping it up even more — 100 percent.
Were you worried that he was going to commit suicide after you convinced him he had AIDS?
Kenny: I'm always watching him. He said he was just so relieved that that letter was fake, the anger went away. In the end, how can he complain? He's crying all the way to the bank. We're becoming famous.
Do you have a rule that if you cheat but he doesn't discover it during the competition, it stands?
Kenny: Yeah. I love that. Spenny complains about my cheating, but I really enjoy it. Jackass and those guys, Tom Green, they revel in being humiliated. We hate it. A win for me is not having to humiliate myself in front of a national audience.
I like when you do counterintuitive things, like hiring a male stripper to give him an erection.
Kenny: My favorite is when I intentionally lose, yet make Spenny say that he's lost. Like in the "Who can drink the most beer?" contest, when I [put a passed-out Spenny next to my barf] and made Spenny think he puked. I also like tricking the audience as well. We did an episode where we pretended my mom died. There's not a laugh until act three. So many people believed my mother actually died. It's like cinema vérité.
Are you making money off the show?
Kenny: Listen, money and fame are attributes of this entire thing. I don't do it for the money or fame. I do it because I’m driven to do movies and television. But, yeah, I love that chicks want to talk to me on Facebook, and I'm making cash. We're very lucky. Who else has a cultish, cool TV show?