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October 10, 2015

Spenny Searches For Love on 'Single White Spenny'

by Annette Bourdeau, posted May 30th 2011 3:50PM

Spencer 'Spenny' Rice is heading back to the tube with a new show that's absolutely nothing like 'Kenny vs Spenny.' Rice is trying his hand at scripted comedy with a sitcom called 'Single White Spenny,' set to debut this week on Showcase. The show chronicles the dating misadventures of Spenny, a goofy man-child who's desperate to find love.

Spenny's quest for love is hindered by his own outrageous acts of self-sabotage. In one episode, for instance, he thinks he's found 'the one,' but then has 'revenge sex' with dozens of women who have wronged him over the years. Spenny is supported by his BFF Chelsea (Amy Matysio, 'Corner Gas'), his self-absorbed mother (Deb McGrath, 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'), his ill-tempered assistant (Nikki Payne, 'Last Comic Standing') and his weird neighbor, Phil (Wayne Thomas, 'Meet the Fockers').

We caught up with Rice to chat about everything from his unique relationship with his real-life mother to how a tidbit about foreskin he learned on 'Penn & Teller's Bulls--t' made its way onto 'Single White Spenny.'

AOL TV: How did you come up with the concept for the show?
Rice: I was born. I lived my life and realized what a putz I am and I created a show about it, basically. That's the fancy answer. I've cultivated a comedic persona that's tragically close to my real life and I've learned how to make comedy out of it in different forms.

Why did you decide to try your hand at a scripted show?
I did a movie called 'Confessions of a Porn Addict,' which was a faux-documentary or mock-doc. I really enjoyed the process of being more make-believe than I had done in my other series. It was a gradual progression. I'm a real comedic geek, I've loved comedy my whole life. That encompasses anything from Tom Green to Charlie Chaplin to Bill Murray, Andy Kaufman, and it was just another area. You know you want to keep interested when you're creative. You don't want to get stale.

I love the [vain, egocentric] mom on the show. How did that character develop? Is she inspired by anyone in particular?
Yes. My actual mother! Here's the thing. I love my mom, she loves me, we've got a great relationship. I would say that if June Cleaver was the prototype of a 1950s mom, my mother would fall to the other end of the spectrum, which is extreme self-absorption, hedonistic to a certain extent, very independent. I think that the character that Deb McGrath brilliantly plays on the show to a very reasonable extent is based on my real mom, but of course Deb takes it to her comedic level, which is fantastic.

I find it interesting that your BFF on the show is a woman. Why did you decide to do that as opposed to having the typical male wingman?
It's funny, because first of all, I have a couple of best friends and one of them is a woman. That character is definitely based on her in that my friend Sarah is a person who knows me extremely well and is not afraid to call me on my s--t, which is basically what Chelsea does on the show. She's a bit of a sounding board, but she also knows what a mature-deficited person I am and will call me on it. So that was the reason. I am surrounded by a lot of estrogen on the show.

The funny thing is the Phil character, he's the only other main character that's a male. He wants to be my best friend, but I don't want him to be. What we love about that character is we didn't really want to do a 'Kramer wacky' character, so we went the other way and made him 'wacky normal.' He's just trying to help and wants to be nice and kind and sweet, and he just irritates the living hell out of me, but I don't know what to do with him because what do you do with someone who's just too nice?

Are any of the storylines inspired by your own dating experiences?
No. Not really. In one episode, I lie to girl that's vehemently anti-circumcision and tell her that I'm uncircumcised. I find myself in the classic sitcom dilemma of the lie, and I find out that there's a process a circumcised man can go through, a quite painful process using weights and gravity and you can actually re-grow your foreskin. The idea for that came from something I saw on 'Penn & Teller's Bulls--t,' which was on Showtime.

Very consistent with the character of Spenny is the idea of overreaching and desperation. Spenny is someone who's absolutely desperate for some kind of normal male existence, but he's trying so hard and is so overreaching in his desire that it can never quite happen for him. If he maybe just relaxed a bit it might happen for him, but then it wouldn't be funny.

Will there be any notable guest stars?
Yeah, we had Colin Mochrie ('Whose Line is it, Anyway'), who is incidentally Deb McGrath's real-life husband. Improv legend. We also had Amanda Walsh, who was a long time ago a VJ on MuchMusic and now a really great actress.

Who do you think the show will appeal to?
Here's what I'm hoping for: I've obviously gained quite a following from my last show. I'd like to take as many of those people with me to this show. Beyond that, I'd like to appeal to maybe an older demographic than that show, and certainly women. I think the female cast is dynamite. I think this show will appeal to women. A wider audience. The other show is about the three p's –- puke, pee and poo, and this is not that at all.

'Single White Spenny' premieres Thursday, June 2 on Showcase at 9:30PM ET/PT.

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