Kenny Hotz—the man behind the Gemini-nominated megahit “Kenny vs. Spenny” and “Testees”—is offering up a one-of-a-kind comedy/news cocktail in his return to the small screen.
Premiering on Showcase Action July 22, Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will documents the Torontonian’s six-episode journey as he takes on an eclectic array of challenges—ranging from finding his widowed mother a newfound love, to building a mosque for Muslims—in an ambitious attempt to enlighten himself, and in turn, his audience.
“I call it Dateline meets Mission Impossible, but for those who knowKenny vs. Spenny, I would kind of think it’s like me vs. the world,” Hotz, who likened himself to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, but on acid, told Digital Journal. “It’s just me, I go out and try to accomplish these Herculean tasks that are kind of Zeitgeist-y, and might change the world, or myself in some way.”
With a demonstrated background in photography and documentary filmmaking—including the only registered Canadian photographic coverage of the 1991 Gulf War—Hotz said that the concept behind the unique hybrid came through marrying his passions for journalistic pursuits and making people laugh, something that until now, he felt had never fully been explored.
“I just think that there’s a big hole in television. . . there’s no real comedic journalism, there’s The Daily Show, which I think opened a new door, and then I don’t think anyone’s walked through it,” he said, pegging the new series’ concept as the new news. “Nobody’s ever done a funny Dateline, and that’s kind of what I wanted to do.”
The self-proclaimed antithesis to Canadian TV is no stranger to entering uncharted territory and offering audiences original and groundbreaking content. The 38-year-old knew no boundaries during his six season war against childhood friend Spencer Rice in the reality competition show that was Kenny vs. Spenny—and with Triumph of the Will, he said, the approach was no different.
“I think it’s a revolution in broadcasting,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s doing it. I think it’s very hard to do anything original. That’s something that I was always proud of on Kenny vs. Spenny . . . . nobody ever did what I did on that show, ever, and nobody, in the history of television, has done what I do on [Triumph of the Will].”
Courtesy Kenny Hotz
Hotz attempts the age old American dream of going from rags to riches in a TOTW episode.
Boasting the largest Facebook fan base for a Canadian comedy series with Kenny vs. Spenny—currently pushing 290,000 followers—Hotz said he understands the importance of social media and making content accessible to fans online, adding that promoting the series through conventional means could pose a challenge.
“You know, it’s not the Justin Bieber of television, more of the GG Allin,” he said. “When you do stuff that I feel is great and has meaning, and stirs the s**t, well then you have to suffer by it not being put on a platter.”
Hotz said that if Triumph of the Will succeeds in reaching the desired number of viewers, he's brimming with ideas for a variety of challenges to make up a second season—including undergoing the process of drug addiction and rehabilitation. In any case, he said he wants to keep contributing to the television landscape and adding something new to the mix.
“Canada is built on some of the greatest content ever created: the National Film Board [of Canada], SCTV—and I want to maintain that,” he said. “I’m actually a diplomat for Canadian television all over the world. I just want to keep that going, and people try to stop it because you’re aggressive and abrasive . . . so people don’t really get it or understand it. We do, internationally, and the cool people do, but the only way to maintain it and keep it going is by watching it and sharing it.”
Following Friday’s debut, Hotz will also be making an appearance at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal on July 27, where he will reveal never-before-seen footage from Kenny vs. Spenny, as well as selected clips from his new series, and answer fan's questions alongside his film crew—who have lent their talents to both shows.
Triumph of the Will airs on Showcase Action at 10 p.m. on Fridays, with episodes also available for download on iTunes.
Courtesy Kenny Hotz
Hotz searches for love for his mother, Tzafi Hotz, in the "Take My Mom, Please!" episode.