Can’t accuse Mewes of being unamusing
Jason Mewes has never been considered for an Oscar, nor is he in competition for roles with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, or even with his friend Ben Affleck.
But he is a film star nonetheless.
The vocal half of the popular Jay and Silent Bob duo, who have had many adventures in Kevin Smith movies such as Clerks and Mallrats as well as a plethora of comic books, Mewes is a beloved star in the hearts of many who have embraced the “Askewniverse,” the world Smith created and in which Jay and Bob live.
Mewes has a lot of stories to tell about his three decades of portraying the stoner icon. He is bringing them to the new Summit City Comedy Club in Fort Wayne as part of the Jay Mewes and his A-Mewes-ing Stories Tour on January 13-15.
Mewes shot to unexpected stardom in 1994 as the scene-stealing stoner Jay in his friend Smith’s low-budget hit Clerks and has kept the persona alive through seven more Smith films.
The pair met in grade school, and although there wasn’t an instant connection, their friendship began to form when Mewes began helping Smith at the local Quick Stop store.
When Clerks was released in 1994, it changed their lives. Smith became the guy who could make a movie with virtually no budget and Mewes established himself as a low-key comedic genius.
“It’s been pretty surreal,” Mewes told the Buffalo News in a recent interview. “I didn’t plan on doing it. It wasn’t like I was planning on being an actor and got lucky. Kevin said, ‘I wrote a script for you. I want to find out if people find you funny like I find you funny.’ Then we shot the movie, and I went back to roofing and didn’t think anything of it.”
Smith sold Clerks to Miramax and it became one of the most influential and popular independent movies ever, launching the writer-director’s career.
Thirty years later, the film is still being discovered by new generations of fans who identify with the characters, recognize the heart of the film, or simply enjoy the brash and sometimes lewd dialogue.
Mewes readily admits he never expected anything to come of the film. Even after it was released nationwide, he was unaware of what they had created. Based on the success of the movie, Smith got a three-picture deal, leading to the filming and release of Mallrats, which also included Mewes and Smith as Jay and Silent Bob, building upon what would eventually become the View Askewniverse.
“Even after Mallrats, I went back to work delivering pizzas and doing other stuff,” Mewes told a Western Carolina University television station. “It wasn’t until (Smith’s third film) Chasing Amy that people started offering me other things.”
Unabashedly loyal to his friends, Smith kept putting Mewes and other recurring characters into his films, creating a familiarity for a devoted fan base that, over the course of three decades, have followed the actors to their films, online forums, television shows and their podcast network, Smodcast, where Mewes and Smith have really shined.
The award-winning Jay & Silent Bob Get Old has been on the air over a decade, delighting fans and allowing for a weekly platform where they can say whatever is on their minds.
Touring and Storytelling
Mewes and Smith periodically tour together, bringing Jay and Silent Bob Get Old to live audiences in which they typically go in without an agenda and simply answer questions from information-thirsty audiences.
For his solo outings, Mewes has developed a slightly different format.
“It’s similar and not similar,” Mewes said of his show. “Kevin does a three- to four-hour show with five questions. My goal is to just tell stories and no Q&As. It’s not standup comedy and me telling jokes. It’s more storytelling like him, but he just starts his stories based on the questions he’s asked.”
Fans who expect a certain raunchiness won’t be disappointed by Mewes’ unfiltered speech as he runs through plenty of anecdotes filled with tales of inappropriate behavior, real and imagined, along with behind-the-scenes accounts from his films.
Plus, be ready for several references to that wacky weed that helped make him famous.
For those who still think of him as that teenage stoner, the now-sober Mewes might surprise some with his uncanny ability to tell his stories in a way that are both funny and unassuming.
Mewes is a very genuine person with a wife and family, and although he may routinely use language that would make a sailor blush, he is still endearing.