Photog-ing Spencer “Spenny” Nolan Rice
On an extra-sticky day in July, we found Spenny at a Toronto bar, drinking Guinness and flipping through a newspaper. The 6’3 Canadian–most known for playing the “lovable loser” in the monster-hit reality competition show opposite “evil genius” and frenemy Kenny Hotz, “Kenny vs. Spenny” (K vs. S)–was casually stylish in blue sneaks, Diesel jeans, a red and gray pullover, and aviator-style Ray-Bans propped atop his windblown hair.
Frank, and completely down-to-earth, the 38-year-old gave us over an hour of his time, sharing the deets behind his new Showcase series, “Single White Spenny” (SWS), which made its debut early June, and has been airing weekly at 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Now five episodes in, the first season of the sitcom–which follows a romantically clueless Spenny in his rocky search for love–will wrap in just a few weeks, ringing in at 8 episodes. As of now, Mr. Rice has no idea as to whether the network will pick it up for a second season. He joked that he may be working at Starbucks. Now really, can you imagine Spenny in that little green apron, handing out lattes?
As a recent K vs. S fan (I only got into the show, and whipped through all six seasons earlier this year–I may be one of few females who actually appreciate its at times crazily vulgar humour), I was looking forward to seeing Spenny back on Showcase. Although I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the SWS pilot (which offers up the bizarre concept of “revenge sex”), after the first few episodes, it started to win me over (this may very well have a lot to do with the cameo of a cute little monkey, and its adorable interaction with a divorce-grieving Spenny).
Especially after meeting, and spending some time with the guy, I learned that Spenny is not altogether different from his amplified K vs. S alter-ego, or the naive, love-searching lead of SWS. Likening his persona to that of Woody Allen and Larry David, Spenny explained that no matter what he portrays, he has to be able to find a little bit of himself in it. He loves Howard Stern, and he appreciates the outlandish antics of pal and former co-star Kenny, but he wouldn’t trade places with them. And the verbal abuse he endures for being “lame” and a “loser” on Facebook (and on the streets of T.O.) from obvious members of Team Kenny, doesn’t get to him. He’s proud of his work, and his inevitable role as the underdog or neurotic straight-man.