20 years ago we met Jay. Today, the lovable Jason Mewes turns 40. He and his good friend Kevin Smith will be celebrating the big day at the Comedy Store in Hollywood rehashing old birthday stories on their hit podcast, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. Mewes and Smith have been friends for 25 years. Since the podcast’s launch in 2010, they’ve created 144 episodes. The two talk about random stories in their lives over the years and Mewes also uses the podcast to stay accountable for his sobriety, as he always tells his listeners how many days he’s been sober. Mewes recently sat down with the LAist to talk about his career and life.
On being cast in Clerks
[Kevin] had mentioned it to me. I knew he liked to write and stuff, but it really wasn’t something like here when I have buddies in California that are like, “Hey I’m writing a script.” I believe they’re writing a script and I understand what they’re trying to do.
Then, I was roofing when I graduated high school, Kevin was working at the Quick Stop and he’s like, “I’m writing a script and I’m writing a character for you,” and I was like, “Yeah, okay cool.” And even when he was done and he’s like, “I want you to be in the script. We’re going to shoot and I used my own my money…” I just thought, “Oh yeah, so like 10 of us are going to get one of those big VHS shoulder cameras that families used to use to videotape Christmases and stuff and we were just going to shoot some fun stuff.”
It wasn’t until I went to New York with him and he rented a camera and started getting all this equipment and we actually started shooting when I was like, “Wow, you were serious—you want to make this.” But even after that, we shot it and I didn’t know the process. I didn’t know he could bring it to a film festival and hope that people could see it and they could buy it and it could be on a big screen at some point…
And I went back to roofing and it wasn’t until Mallrats where I was like, “Wow, this is something that maybe I could do.”
Clerks: Mostle improvised or scripted?
Clerks was scripted. As the movies went on, I started to get more comfortable and starting doing more ad-libbing. I was super nervous. When we did Clerks I used to make everyone go inside — we talked about that on the podcast, actually. When we started shooting, I didn’t realize how nervous I would be. Because when he wrote that script and wrote that character, it was exactly how I might have come off when I was 13 or 14, and that’s exactly how I acted all the way up until I was 17 or so. I’d yell obscenities, I’d pull my business out and I would dance and do really obnoxious stuff. That was exactly how I was. Even though I acted that way, I don’t know why when I got in front of a camera and it was like “Action, we’re ready to go,” I couldn’t do it. I would get really nervous and would be like, “Can everyone go inside that doesn’t need to be here?”…
If you see Mewes on the street, don’t make him your monkey!
People will just come up and be like, “Hey, you’re that guy and I love your stuff” and all that. And they stand there sort of quiet and I think they expect me to do a little dance. Some people will just come straight up and say, “Hey, can you say ‘snootchie bootchies’” and stuff like that. I think people either ask me to say something or they’re waiting for me to do something and I’m not [acting] obnoxious. When I meet someone for the first time I’m not pulling my stuff out or doing a dance for them and I think they think I’m going to.
Mewes and Smith’s friendship and their podcast have made a huge impact on his own life – getting sober and for many of his fans too.
Kevin and I have known each other forever and we’ve always been close, we’ve always hung out. It’s also been a sort of an older brother type of relationship where I’m doing something, messing up, or whatever, maybe not trusting me with business stuff because I’ve always been sort of goofy and silly and not very responsible. But I feel like over the past four years, we’ve spent so much time together and I’ve shared so much stuff, so now we’re actually best friends and partners in a company and our business and touring business. It hasn’t just helped him and I but it’s also helped me by sharing all the different stuff with the drugs, the struggles with the drugs and going back and forth. [It's] getting things out and not holding it in and being accountable to all the people who listen to the podcast.
I’ll go to Starbucks and someone will be like, “How many days have you been clean?” One out of every ten shows, someone will come up and tell me [something like], “I have a brother who struggled with drugs and got out of rehab and struggled and the podcast has helped him stay sober.”
It’s just surreal and amazing. If it’s me just talking about all these stories and talking about how much I struggled…and to keep even one person sober, like, I don’t know, I didn’t expect that and that’s just amazing…
In the beginning first six months—the first year even — of us doing the podcast, I remember you just have dreams about drugs or drinking or whatever and I would wake up and be like, “Oh my gosh, we have a show this week. Now I have to tell everybody.” And I’m like, “Wait, that was just a dream.” And I’d wake up in a sweat.
Jay & Silent Bob Get Old: Jason Mewes’ 40th Birthday Show will be at the Comedy Store located at 8433 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood on June 12 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. More information can be found here.
Next up: Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. Jay and Silent Bob hit the lottery jackpot, and use their cash windfall to become crime-fighting superheroes. Read more about it here.
- Jay uses Silent Bob's Russian cousin, a would-be metal singer, to impress girls. In this scene: Jay (Jason Mewes), Silent Bob (Kevin Smith)
- The guys hitch a ride with a van full of hot girls, and Jay gets a little too excited about hitting it off with one of them. In this scene: Chrissy (Ali Larter), Jay (Jason Mewes), Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Justice (Shannon Elizabeth)
- Holden needs advice, and surprisingly, Silent Bob has a few words to say about chasing Amy. In this scene: Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), Jay (Jason Mewes)
- Dante and Randal discuss which Star Wars film they think had the better ending, with a little help from a local roofer. In this scene: Randal (Jeff Anderson), Dante (Brian O'Halloran), Jay (Jason Mewes)