TORONTO - In this season of peace-on-earth and goodwill-toward-men, leave it to longstanding rivals Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice to flout the holidays with the cruellest Christmas show they can muster.

"The Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special" presents the outrageous frenemies at their festive worst, and marks the duo's final showdown as they wrap their outlandish series after six seasons.

"Spenny killed it. Spenny killed the show -- he didn't want to do it anymore, he's a quitter," Hotz says in a recent interview at a downtown cafe, seated next to Rice.

"Not true," Rice interjects. "I didn't want to do it from season one ... but I didn't kill it.... We both, at the exact same moment and time, decided, 'Enough."'

True to form, the divisive duo can't help but quarrel until the bitter end.

"Kenny vs. Spenny" ends its run after 87 episodes that included crass challenges such as "Who can wear a dead octopus on their head the longest?" (to name one of the duo's less raunchy competitions, many of which are unprintable).

Invariably, the wise-cracking Kenny stooped to underhanded tactics to assure himself victory and the right to inflict the most indignant humiliation he could on his more scrupulous and sensitive partner.

The hour-long finale has Rice's beleaguered alter-ego Spenny setting out to make a traditional, feel-good Christmas variety show. That all goes to hell, of course, thanks to Kenny's compulsive need to undermine everything his hapless co-star does.

After years of public humiliation, the reason for ending the series is also clear, says a dour Rice, who keeps up his down-trodden TV persona for most of the interview.

"We couldn't keep going," he says. "Our relationship is hanging by a thread as it is."

Not surprisingly, Hotz is much more optimistic about the survival of their real-life relationship now that the show is over.

"We're totally fine," says Hotz.

"There's been these rumours that we're not friends anymore but (we've been) living together for so long, and shooting the show for so long.... (But) he would really get mad at me when I did certain things to him in certain episodes -- like, I did slip the guy acid."

"We love comedy and that's, I think, what brought us together," adds Rice.

"When we were kids, it was just Chaplin and the Marx brothers and SCTV and we'll always have that, if nothing else."

Both Rice and Hotz return to Showcase in the new year with solo projects.

Hotz describes his half-hour follow-up, "Kenny Hotz's Triumph of the Will," as a cross between "Dateline" and "Kenny vs. Spenny."

"My new show is kind of like me vs. the world, where I'm trying to accomplish these Herculean tasks and solve the world's biggest problems on an episode-to-episode basis."

"Taking a shower would be a nice thing," quips Rice.

Rice is typically understated in promoting his series "Single White Spenny," describing it as "about a man-child looking for love."

"People will like it or they won't like it, what can you do?" he says. "I hope they like. I like it."

The series is scripted, but the lead character is loosely based on himself, says Rice. It'll be a marked departure from the edgy predilections of "Kenny vs. Spenny."

"I'm not really about envelope-pushing, that's more his thing," he says, referring to Hotz. "I just put the envelope down. I don't push it."

"I'm looking for a more mainstream audience, let's just say that. And I'm looking for a female audience, which would be nice."

"Single While Spenny" just completed shooting and is due in the spring, while "Triumph of the Will" begins production in January.

Rice says he's ready to put the oft-painful rivalry behind him.

"I don't like this whole, 'Now we're competing to see who's got the best show.' It's irrelevant. I wish him well. He probably maybe wishes me well, I don't know anymore. It's not a competition anymore, we've done enough competing as far as I'm concerned."

"Maybe we'll be closer again, Kenny," Hotz says, turning to his old pal. "We could tour, maybe when I'm done shooting in March, after the show airs, I'm going to have some time maybe. Who knows, we might maybe do a movie."

"The Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special" airs Thursday on Showcase.