Men of action: Ennis Esmer and Kenny Hotz talk about the things they’ll do for a buck

Men of action: Ennis Esmer and Kenny Hotz talk about the things they’ll do for a buck

The place: Dangerous Dan’s Diner on Queen East. The people: Wipeout Canada co-host Ennis Esmer and Triumph of the Will star Kenny Hotz. The subject: the things people will do for a buck

Our collective craving for thrill-and-spill television is boundless. If it weren’t, we would have long moved beyond watching complete strangers and D-list celebrities lose their heads, hearts and dignity over cash prizes, skeevy bachelors or a shot at fame. The comedy stunt film Jackass 3D opened at number one across North America last fall, a stat that bodes well for Wipeout Canada, our very own version of the popular American game show on which contestants must complete the ultimate obstacle course to claim $50,000. As co-host, actor Ennis Esmer (seated on the left) is expected to dish out quips while players do their best not to plummet into a mud pit or get socked in the face/gut/groin by giant red balls. Kenny Hotz is a bona fide cult TV hero, having created and starred in the lewd and crude hit Kenny vs. Spenny. His new comedy series, Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will, is about accomplishing tasks that most people would think are insane, from building a mosque at Jones and Gerrard (“I must be the first Jew to ever give the gift of a mosque to Islam”) to asking recent moms for their placentas—and getting one. In keeping with the reigning spirit of sadism, we sat the funny guys down at the viciously greasy east-end diner Dangerous Dan’s, bought them artery-busting burgers and listened in.

EE: The conceit of Wipeout is simple: people fall down and we make fun of them. It’s not as if we’re crushing lifelong dreams. I think people apply because it seems like the easiest way to get on television. The $50,000 cash prize is almost incidental.

KH: The contestants are so hokey and ridiculous that you almost want to see them get hurt. I like laughing at idiots who would do anything for money. I used to be one of them, so I’m allowed.

KH: I like to think of Triumph of the Will as a documentary-style comedy. A cockumentary. I’m going back to my photojournalist roots. I see myself as a sort of amoral Anderson Cooper—someone in the thick of things who doesn’t
get caught up in the rules.

EE: Whereas I’m like a Daily Show version of a sportscaster. I get to use that ridiculous game show voice that I would never get away with in real life.

EE: A show like Wipeout is review-proof. People won’t stop watching it because some critic says it’s bad—just like they haven’t stopped watching Jersey Shore or Transformers.

KH: Critics are a dying breed anyway. Reviews are given by millions of people, not one.

Wipeout Canada
Premieres April 3, TVtropolis

Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will
Summer 2011, Showcase

(Images: Daniel Ehrenworth)