When Clerks first appeared in 1994 with it’s wiseass attitude laden convenience store shtick it demonstrated a writer/ director with talent to burn. The script was witty and funny as hell, equally laden with insight and profanity. It was also the first appearance of Jay and Silent Bob. Bob being director Kevin Smith in a non speaking role and Jay being Jason Mewes a young obnoxious foul-mouthed dope dealer with a truly original turn of phrase. Whilst at times the acting in Clerks was questionable, Jay felt truly authentic, rarely had there been such a rough-hewn character on film. He felt real.
Is it weird to you that that Jay & Silent Bob have gotten old?
Myself getting old and Kevin, the whole situation is surreal, being friends for so long and still working together and moving to a different state right down the street from one another. I never want to think about it of course but when people say out loud oh wow it’s been 20 years since we shot the first movie. And now when I wake up in the morning and my back is hurting and I think jesus and thinking about the risks I used to take and the ones I avoid now, not just because I’m getting old but because I have a wife and a house and I have to worry about this and that. The whole process of everything, at the same time it’s amazing. I love what I do and I get to do it with my best best bestest friend and I get to do it with my wife who is partners with Kevin and she travels with me and we work together, the whole process is amazing and its great.
How much of you is in the character of Jay?
Definitely a piece. Because back then it was exactly what I was like. I mean Clerks was an exact replica of things I had said, done and acted like, minus the selling weed. I was very obnoxious and used to speak my mind and do what I wanted to do. As I got older I have to be more aware of what I say because I can get in trouble. I say the wrong thing to the wrong person there’s harassment, sexual harassment. Now I don’t want to influence the younger, a 13 year old back in the day I wouldn’t care if I said F U to someone in front of them, but now I don’t want to influence them. I’d say I’m 30% that Jay, because I’m still obnoxious but now I know when to say something and when not to. I’m 70% Jason Mewes and 30% that Jay.
Yes but Kevin’s daughter introduced you guys when you played in the UK, isn’t it weird her being exposed to your profanity?
She hears some of that stuff. I mean we don’t deliberately be walking down the street and go, ‘you fucking whore,’ to someone. Usually when she announces the shows and you see her at the start, she doesn’t stay in the audience for the whole show. In the beginning we’re not talking about sex stories and stuff it’s usually tweets and stuff. The Fu’s and stuff like that. I have to say she’s a really well mannered good kid.
Does it surprise you the amount of people coming to hear you guys talk shit with each other?
Every time we do a show and we get the attendance of people coming. It’s an interesting thing to me that people will sit down and watch our podcasts or get on itunes and listen to this thing. When I talk to people the reasons I’ve given as to why they listen is the honesty, you’re talking about drug abuse and all the stuff that’s gone on throughout the years, people pull me aside and say ‘my friend is six months sober now and he listened to your podcast and it really inspired him. Kevin talks about shooting movies, and people say I just made my first independent movie because I listened to your podcast. People say that they come because its so honest, from two guys coming from pretty middle class or in my course poor, trying their best and making the best of it. And then trying to through some humour in there as well. Who doesn’t want to hear about someone teabagging someone right? (Big throaty chuckle)
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a 2,000 seat theatre and we put a show on and it sells out in 10 days, each time I like wow this is amazing. People as far out as Australia are digging the show and ready to come out and see us after all these years.
Has your relationship with Kevin changed much over the years?
Back then I was a young obnoxious teenager, where at 21 he was already writing a script and working everyday and doing his thing. He was definitely more grown up than I was, thinking about going to college, where I wasn’t thinking that. And now I think it’s more levelled out. We were older brother younger brother where now we work together, we’re in business together and we’re friends. Back in the day if he was upset about something he wouldn’t necessarily come to me for advice or vent about something because I was younger and that’s how he saw me, and even when I was older I was irresponsible I was doing drugs and he was trying to help me. Now we work together on a daily basis and we’re in business together, we’re brothers closer in age now.