But they’re imbued with the spirit of the old seats.
Well, there I was in the room itself. I didn’t even need the seats. You know, that screen in that room – maybe not that screen…they probably replaced it since then – but that room! My whole life changed, and I walked into that room thinking one thing and walked out of it thinking another, but regardless my life was changed forever sixteen years ago in that room. I just felt like I should go, I should go, I should be there and see what happens, and it was pretty fucking emotional. I gotta tell you, because I just sat there, going down the escalator going, “Do you know how many things have to go right in order for Bob Hawk to be there that day, and if he’s not, that’s it?”
Because I wasn’t like, “Well, we could do this with it!” I was a man of limited vision. I’d read an article in the Village Voice that seemed to make sense to me, and was following it as a path. And if it didn’t work, I was like, “Okay. That’s it.” I had no B Plan, no contingency plan. It wasn’t like we could send it to film festivals. I didn’t think it was film festival-worthy. So I don’t know. I certainly respected the power of the day, and the location, and the moment. It was weird because I walked in, and there was no, “It’s him! It’s the fucking Clerks guy!” I was as anonymous as anybody else. Staff there wouldn’t fucking remember me. They’re not even the same staff. They’re kids now, dude. I was older than everybody working there by, it felt like, at least ten years. Everything kinda looked the same. Now there’s more computer shit in there than they had before, and they have a snack counter downstairs which they never used to have. But I don’t know. It was weird. It was nice. It was really nice to go back and just stroll around in that place where sixteen years ago I was at least a thousand times more innocent than I was, and a hundred pounds lighter at least.
That’s probably the best and most meaningful reason to push back an interview that I’ve ever heard.
That was it. You know, I felt bad, and I figured I’d tell them all when I got on. I didn’t want to tell anyone beforehand in case I chickened out and didn’t go through it, or sometimes you let people know and all the sudden you’re sharing your moment with a bunch of strangers. So I was like, I’m gonna do this and see how it goes. And then I didn’t want to talk about it, and I told Cathy, “Don’t tell him where I’m going,” because what if I go there, and it’s a real bust? You know? The dude’s like, “Well how was it?” And I go, “I don’t want to talk about it because my wife and I got in a huge fucking fight, and she’s such a bitch, and she doesn’t understand!” All that shit.
You don’t want to talk about it beforehand because you don’t want to ruin the pure moment by being overly aware of it.
Yeah, if I’m going in there with expectations? The moment’s gone. The expectation is the moment. So you kinda go down pure and wonder, “Well, gee, I wonder what it’s going to be like,” and I really thought that I could make it through. And I smoke – as I’ve said before – I smoke a lot of weed now, and it tends to make me more emotional anyway. Which I’m all for. I like that. I’m secure with myself. I’m not like, “Oh, men can’t cry!” I did cry. I love laughing. I love crying. It’s the other side of the coin, and one fuels the other, so when it happens and happens for a good reason – I hate crying when something bad happens – I love those happy tears. I love getting high, watching Gretzky videos and I just bawl because look at it! They put it all together! They were kids! They were kids and the won the Goddamned cup! That kind of thing.
So, I’m going down the escalator and that’s where it hits me like a fucking wall where I’m like, “Oh my god. One thing. Just one thing falls out of order, and I’m not going down this escalator to walk down memory lane. I’m going down this escalator to see some other mother fucker’s movie at the Angelika again.” Because it never would have left me. It would have still been in my blood. It wouldn’t have been something I could have put down even if it cost me a shit ton of dough and nobody ever watched the movie. So, yeah. It was pretty cool.
That’s beautiful. Great. So you want to start the interview? Talk about the book a little?
The first question I have is why you’d put SModcast in word form. Is it a situation like when Monty Python released all the words to their shows or was their a clamoring from the deaf community for it?
[Laughs] If only. It came as the previous book did. It came from Adam Newell over at Titan. Adam was the guy who got in touch with me and said, “We’re Titan in the UK” – and I knew their name ’cause they buy our comic books sometimes and publish them over there. So they were like, “We’re thinking about doing a book of your blog,” and I was like, “What do you mean?” and he says, “You know, your online blog. We’re thinking about publishing it. We think it would make an interesting read,” and I said, “It’s an online blog. It’s free. Nobody’s gonna buy it. You put it between book covers, and nobody’s gonna buy it. I mean, I have hardcore fans that will buy t-shirts with my fat ass on them, but asking them to buy a book for a free blog that they could read and have read for free online is just ridiculous. It’ll never work.”
And, of course, it became a New York Times Bestseller. So after that happened, Adam got in touch with me immediately, and said “Dude, you’re a New York Times Bestseller. We don’t know how it happened. Let’s not investigate too fucking deeply, but you know it means we need to put out a second book almost immediately if for no other reason to just put on the cover ‘From New York Times Bestselling Author,’ and that’s hysterical.”
Is that jarring to you at all?
It was weird. We didn’t expect it. I mean, honestly dude, I felt like they’d sell a hundred copies to the hardest of the hardcore, and I was into doing it. I mean, there’s no money in publishing so it wasn’t like, “Hey man! Let’s get rich!” You know? It was more about holding something. It was more about having a book up on the shelf that had my name on the spine. You know, and Titan did a great job of putting that book together. It was a beautiful-looking book. A great cover and shit. Made my mother proud. Made my wife wet. Because she don’t get into the movies that much, but like, she’s into books and shit. So she’s like, “Mm..You’re an author” and all that shit. So that made her very excited. Even for that alone it was a great reason to do it.
But when it worked, and Adam was like, “We gotta do it again,” I was like, “Dude, I don’t have anymore blog left or anything like that.” He just said, “Well, let’s look around. Maybe we do an interview, because that would be the first book you do in which it wasn’t generated from old material.” I had done a book through Mirimax Books back in the day called “Silent Bob Speaks” and that was Harvey’s idea because he wanted to take a bunch of newspaper articles and magazine articles I’d written over the years and compile them into a book. Because Michael Moore had published a book, and it did insanely well – but, you know, it was a political polemic and whatnot – but Harvey was just like, “Hey! You’re fat like Michael Moore and funny. Why don’t you write a book like Michael Moore?” I said, “I don’t have a book in me,” and he said, “Nah, I read an article where you’re talking about taking shits with greasy pills and shit like that. That’s a funny thing! Let’s put those all in a book.” So it was his idea, and his idea to call it “Silent Bob Speaks,” and then Boom, there was this book, this kind of back door back that I didn’t intend to write, but it was book that I’d written nonetheless.
So Titan was talking about doing it again. This time it seemed more egregious by virtue of the fact that it was the online blog. It worked. All the sudden we’re in this world where he’s like, “Let’s do an original book. We’ll do an interview book, we sit down, talk about your entire career. Do a coffee table book.” And it just struck me as fucking retarded. You want a coffee table book about Kubrick, Spielberg expounding on his work and themes. You don’t want a coffee table book of me talking about fucking Mallrats. What I was thinking when I made Mallrats. What Mallrats really meant. You know. Just, those movies are fun, but…
But to be fair, you were also part of a serious indie film movement.
Which is great, but then I could be in that book, but talking about my career – eh – talking about me in terms of other filmmakers or that movement, I understand. Talking about me and my body of work, it’s just weird because they’re not films. They’ve never been judged on the same curve as regular films because people never saw them as films. Even the people, both sides of the coin, people that love those movies don’t see them as films. They see them for what they are. It’s me ripping my chest open, ripping out fatty chunks of my heart, putting them between two platters and projecting it.
You don’t think you could expand on some of the stuff you wrote in “Spike, Mike, Slackers, and Dykes”?
Eh, that was John [Pierson’s] book. I was involved in that book and John’s whole idea was to sit down and do chapter intros. He’s like, “You’re the voice of the young filmmaker, so let’s do that.”
See! “The Voice of The Young Filmmaker: A Coffee Table Book”
I know! But that was then. I’m not a young filmmaker anymore. I’m 39! I’m old!
From New York Times Best Selling Author Kevin Smith!
I know…but it’s just too legit, dude.
When it gets too legit, I get uncomfortable. The moment people start treating it all seriously, I’m like – egh – come on, dick and fart jokes. Let’s keep perspective.
So the podcast book made more sense. I mean, at first he brought it up and was like, “What if we took the SModcast and then transcribed that?” And I was all, “I don’t know man. That could be even worse than the blog book because it’s gonna look like I really want their money. I know the podcast is fun to listen to, but a book companion that’s probably not nearly as funny as the podcast? You don’t hear voices or anything? It’s so bad!” And he said, “Just read the sample.” They had a sample made up, and I read it, and I chuckled. It made me laugh, so it actually did read kind of funny, and I was shocked at how well it translated. So I told them, “Let me send it to [Mosier],” because Mosier’s like the Mikey – The Life Cereal Mikey of the operation. Mother fucker hates everything. Including SModcast. He doesn’t like the sound of his own voice. So he read it, and he was just like, “You know, dude, I don’t like listening to the sound of my own voice so reading this is awesome. I think it’s funny, but maybe it’s just me because I know you, and I think you’re funny.” And I was like, “No, dude, I read it, and I thought you were funny. It’s not because I know you. It’s because what you said was funny. So its actually – maybe it does work.”
So we went from there, but I gotta tell you, I did nothing but record the podcast. That’s it. And then make approvals all the way down. Like, Adam was heading up the operation. It was his passion project, his baby, and he was the guy that believed in it even when I was like, “I don’t know, Adam. That seems like a rip off.” But Adam was like, “Do you want to pick the episodes?” and I was in the middle of this fucking Dicks picture, so I didn’t have time. I said, “Go to Ken,” because Ken Plume, the guy who does all the music under the SModcasts, Ken has listened to every single episode of SModcast probably three times a piece. Without music. with music, he hears them. He has to deeply listen to them because his mix comments on what we’re talking about. So this dude is well-schooled in all the SModcasts.
We get him to do the list, so he did the list, and Adam hit me back saying, “What do you think of the title ‘Shooting the Shit with Kevin Smith’?” I said, “It almost rhymes. Good enough.” So he did that, too. They do everything, dude. They said all I had to do was the intro. I said okay, and waited until the last fucking minute. They pulled their hair out until finally I turned it in, and then Boom. We had a book. But I didn’t really write the book. I feel like the people that transcribed the book wrote it, but really Adam is the true engineer. Adam had the brilliance to take New Media and turn it into Old Media. Twice! And it worked!
Expect Adam Newell to be writing me any day now with the Twitter Book proposal.
“Twenty-Four Hours with Kevin Smith.”
“Tweeting the Shit with Kevin Smith.”
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