Hotz was born to a Jewish family and graduated from the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. Hotz began as a documentary filmmaker and news photographer, creating photo essays on subjects including Auschwitz, Dachau, and the Gulf War. Hotz was the only registered Canadian photo-journalist to cover the Gulf War. His additional photo essays also include Needle Park in Zurich, Switzerland, David Koresh, Mount Carmel, Romanian orphanages after Nicolae Ceauşescu and New Year's Eve 2000 in Times Square. Both national and provincial archives have purchased his work for their collections. In 1992 Hotz graduated from Ryerson University.
Hotz was the writer, producer, director, cinematographer, and editor of the short film It Don't Cost Nothin' to Say Good Morning. The film is an 18-minute short co-directed by Spencer Rice, the man with whom he would co-star in their award-winning show Kenny vs. Spenny premiering in 2003. Rice and Hotz have been friends since childhood. In 1997 he co-wrote an episode of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation with Spencer Rice, titled Truce or Consequences. In 1999 Hotz moved with his long-time writing partner Rice to Los Angeles, where they worked on the development of the show Kenny vs. Spenny. In 1996, he created and starred (with Rice) in the documentary Pitch which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1997. The film had numerous cameos including Al Pacino, Samuel Z. Arkoff and Neil Simon.
Hotz starred in his second feature film titled The Papal Chase, a related documentary about Hotz trying to meet the Pope John Paul II, released in 2004. The film received the Phillip Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2004 Whistler Film Festival, and in 2005 won the People's Choice Award for Best Canadian Feature at the Canadian Filmmakers Festival and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.
Kenny vs. Spenny was first aired on CBC Television in 2003 and went on to be nominated for 8 Gemini awards. The original pilot had been commissioned by USA Network, but never aired before the show was picked up by the CBC for 26 episodes. The series centered on Hotz and friend Spencer Rice as they competed against each other in competitions, the loser of which would perform a "humiliation". The show was embroiled in a deliberate controversy with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission for Hotz's actions in the episode Who Can Piss Off More People, where he paid to have a plane fly over Toronto dragging a banner that reads "Jesus Sucks". Though he claimed his friend Jesus was getting married and it was not directed towards a religion. The show moved from CBC to Showcase television in Canada after the nationally run CBC censored two episodes of Kenny vs. Spenny, refusing to air them on their network. Censored episodes of the show aired in the United States on the Game Show Network before the show was officially relocated to the Comedy Central network, moving from Canada to the US.
The last episode, ("The Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special"), was aired in 2010. The series produced 89 original episodes, over six seasons. Each of the main characters of the show would go on to have their own shows the following year. Hotz also created the concept for the videogame Versusville to accompany the television show, which was nominated for a Canadian New Media Award for Excellence in Gaming.
In 2009 Maclean's magazine named Kenny vs. Spenny the number eight pick in its list of the top ten Canadian television shows of the previous decade. The magazine said of the show and Kenny's on air role that, "Many episodes feature the evil Kenny destroying his supposed friend through deceit, trickery and blatant cheating." Hotz also produced the series Elton vs. Simon, a German remake of the series Kenny vs. Spenny that aired between 2004 and 2006. Kenny vs. Spenny show was broadcast in over 25 different countries and licensed globally, with remakes including Cenk vs. Erdem in Turkey, Juan vs. Roman in Colombia, Katja vs. Bridget in the Netherlands, and Ed vs. Spencer in the UK. This resulted in the show becoming the largest selling comedy format in Canadian television history. The show was named #8 among the top 10 Canadian television shows of the 21st century. In July 2013 the show was ranked as the highest rated reality television show by IMDb. In March 2014 a fan campaign to have the show return to production on Netflix began, following Hotz's announcement that he and Spenny were planning the live comedy tour Kenny vs. Spenny vs. Canada. In reaction to the campaign, Vice Magazine called the show "the best thing that Canada has ever made". Since the close of the show, clips from its episodes have received more than 200 million views on YouTube.
In 2014, Hotz and his partner Spencer Rice designed a traveling stage show based upon their show Kenny vs. Spenny, and took the show on a world tour of approximately 100 dates. Part of this tour included the Canadian national Kenny vs. Spenny vs. Canada tour. According to Jenny Jay, "The pair began the show by telling the audience about their roots and the premise of how the show began, which kick-started the slew of uncut footage that never aired ... In between showing the video footage, Kenny and Spenny displayed their genuine distrust and dislike for each other through their constant, bitter bickering ... Contrary to their passionate dislike for each other, however, slips of a seemingly brotherly love were seen. Even though the two may despise each other, the audience was allowed insight into the possibility that Kenny and Spenny may still be incomplete without each other."
Hotz worked as a consultant and writer on South Park, providing material for episodes including Follow That Egg! and Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow. Between 2004 and 2006 Hotz was a consultant writer, and sometimes staff writer, for 42 different episodes of the show, returning again in 2012 to write for the episode Cartman Finds Love. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, joined to help produce future episodes of Kenny vs. Spenny in the fall of 2007, when the show began airing on Comedy Central becoming executive producers. They stated that they first came across the show while staying up late finishing their movie Team America: World Police, when they viewed the episode Who can stay awake the longest? from the show's first season. The Writers Guild of America named him and the rest of the South Park writing staff as the 63rd best writing team in television history.
In 2008, Hotz created the sitcom Testees for FX Networks, producing 13 shows centering on two roommates who work as guinea pigs for a mediocre product testing facility. The show produced 13 episodes and started airing in October 2008 on FX. Hotz stated that the inspiration of the series was Woody Allen's character Fielding Mellish in the film Bananas. The show starred actors Steve Markle (as Peter) and Jeff Kassel (as Ron). The show's title came from the name of the testing facility where both main characters worked: Testico. The premier episode starred Ron and Peter believing that Peter has become pregnant, although his condition is actually just a hormonal imbalance from the medical testing he underwent earlier in the episode. Tom Shales of the Washington Post said of the show upon its debut, "the comedy doesn't push boundaries so much as trounce and trash them. Even the show's title is a trifle problematical for a family newspaper. There are few lines or situations that can be readily quoted here – but who wants jokes spoiled anyway? ... 'Testees' is wall-to-wall uproarious."
In 2011, Hotz starred and produced a new series Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will, which premiered on Canada's Action network on July 22, 2011. The series produced six episodes and showed Hotz attempting to complete major tasks that challenged the social assumptions of both his audience and himself, including the building of a Jewish funded mosque for Muslims, and finding his widowed mother a new boyfriend. The show was shot on location in countries including Canada, the US, and France.
Kenny Hotz is an executive producer, host and columnist for Vice, and won the publication's best fiction article of the year award in 2006. In 2015 he directed and starred in the Vice talk show Me on You. Then in 2016 Vice Media aired a TV special starring Hotz, entitled Getting an Election executive produced by Spike Jonze. It was nominated for the Academy of Canadian Television and Cinema award for Best Original Series produced for Digital Media – Non-Fiction. Focusing on the 2016 US Presidential Election and interviews Hotz performed with citizens on the streets of the US, Buzzfeed called the film the "most honest and objective piece of journalism this whole election". Hotz has also been involved as a spokesperson and on-stage presence at Vice Media project and network launches.
In 2012, Hotz was in negotiations to produce a feature-length cartoon that was written by Phil Hartman entitled Yogi and the Kid as a part of the ongoing production of the late actor's written work. That year he also signed a partner deal with Google to produce Canada's first premium YouTube comedy channel. His prior television shows also entered several new syndication markets, including Poland (Kenny vs. Spenny) and Russia (Kenny vs. Spenny and Testees). He recently penned a deal with Sirius Radio in the U.S. for a weekly radio show that airs in Canada and the United States. In 2013 the official Google Canada Blog stated that Kenny Hotz's channel was one of the top ten Canadian Comedy Channels on YouTube. He is also known for helping online videos become viral through his social media platform. In November 2013 he was nominated for the Digital Personality of the Year at the Canadian Digi Awards. In 2015, Hotz had a role in the film The Chickening, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also served as the film's producer.
Hotz also had cameos in Kevin Smith's 2008 film Zack and Miri Make A Porno, Degrassi Takes Manhattan, as well as a cameo in the Pure Pwnage television series.
Hotz owned The Hoxton which has since closed and Dog & Bear restaurant and bars in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In December 2013 The Hoxton was the site of an impromptu post-concert performance by Kanye West and Drake. He is also the Comedy Chair of the Banff World Media Festival Advisory Boards for the Banff World Media Festival. In 2013 he cofounded Aux Mode, an online content distribution and monetization firm.