Today’s Podcast: Jay and Silent Bob Get OldDecember 3, 2010
I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith. I just don’t like his movies.
I don’t hate them. They’re fine for what they are. But if you were to ask me which of his films I would take to a desert island, or New Jersey, I would say An Evening With Kevin Smith and its sequels, because I would rather watch Kevin Smith talk about making movies than actually watch Kevin Smith movies. While I may have liked some of them when I was younger and less tasteful, I look back now at Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri Make A Porno, that dumbass Bruce Willis cop movie that came out this year, Clerks II, Chasing Amy … no, these movies will not be played again in my house. Except maybe for that part in Zack and Miri where Elizabeth Banks makes that face.
Before I get into the little meat and big potatoes of today’s podcast, I am going to offer five facts about Kevin Smith and me.
- I went to see Clerks at a film festival with a posse of fellow reporters. Later, we referred to our editor as Snowball, to his face, and he had no idea what it meant.
- My first actual exposure to Kevin Smith was probably the column he wrote for Details about his love of Canadian strippers and Degrassi. It was fine writing and an interesting look at how Canadian culture affects Americans, and had no mention of bacon.
- An Evening With Kevin Smith features his talks about (a) Prince and (b) Superman, two of the best examples of how to tell a story you will ever find.
- I once pretended to have a pager during Dogma in order to get out of a crappy blind date. “They need me at the newsroom!”
- Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is my favourite of Smith’s films, mostly because he indulged his absurdist take on things and was clearly having great fun. I like the part where Tracy Morgan calls Jason Mewes “Lil’ kid.”
Jason Mewes is the Jay in Jay and Silent Bob. He’s a teen-era friend of Smith’s from New Jersey, and the two of them cultivated a weird sequence in Clerks into an ongoing onscreen partnership, playing a loudmouth small-town Jersey dope dealer and his stoic, taciturn hetero life partner, Silent Bob, played by Smith. After brief appearances in Smith’s first three films, they played major roles in Dogma and took the lead in JASBSB, which is probably the worst acronym since All-Star Squadron.
A couple of years ago, Smith started podcasting with producer Scott Mosier: SMODcast, a weekly smoke-fuelled free-range conversation. Like the rest of you podcast-discovering Internet slaves, I signed on and listened faithfully every week, until the summer of 2009, when I realized I was downloading twice my allotted bandwidth each month in podcasts, and some had to go, and I really didn’t need to hear Kevin Smith talk about his weed, his weiner and how the Hollywood system was screwing with him. So I unsubscribed. Life went on.
Cut to a few weeks ago: I saw a mention of something called the SMODcast Network, and checked it out. Jaysis H. Murphy, Kevin Smith is running a podcast network. (Clearly, he stole this idea from El Commandante, but we won’t make a stink). So you can now listen to a show called Tell ’em, Steve-Dave, which is apparently based on one line from one movie starring two guys who didn’t do anything else. There’s also a show with Kevin’s gay friend and his mom, but it’s about Toronto, so to hell with that.
I did start listening to Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, expecting drug schtick and vulgar humour. I got that. But I also got more. A lot more. And what I got is the purest form of what Smith does: conversation, crass but wise, silly but informed, lowbrow but insightful.
Jason Mewes is a drug addict. This is no secret. And for the past two decades, Kevin Smith and his friends and family have fought the Mewes demon to keep him straight and sober or to defeat him when he isn’t. Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, which is very raunchy and very, very funny, is also a horrifically honest account of drug addiction and what it does to the people who care. Each week, Smith interviews Mewes in front of a live audience as they rehash their relationship, exploring the things Mewes did, the drugs, the lies and the crises, the sour days that ended the Jay and Silent Bob partnership, and the good days that brought it back to life.
What shines through, despite all the talk of drugs, sex and failed movies (Mewes says he knew Smith was done with him when he wouldn’t let him see dailies during the filming of Jersey Girl, to which Smith replies “It’s okay, nobody wanted to see Jersey Girl), we learn what made this friendship work and see why, despite it all, Mewes and Smith are still Jay and Silent Bob: a deep and mutual love that’s part friendship, part father-son, part business and part art — but, in the end, pure brotherhood.
Those of us who have done our best, but failed, to help a loved one wage war against addiction can draw hope from stories like these.