The People magazine headline, “Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes Reunite for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’ Wedding,” painted an inaccurate picture three months ago. “Reunion,” Mewes said, chuckling. “Yeah, right. We hadn’t seen each other in four days back then. That was not exactly a reunion.”
Smith and Mewes are a rare contemporary tandem. The pair have been best friends since their teen years and have worked with each other for three decades. Smith and Mewes, aka Silent Bob and Jay , who have their hand and sneaker prints in cement on Hollywood Boulevard, are like chocolate and peanut butter.
“We definitely go together,” Mewes said by phone from his Los Angeles home.
The irony is that verbose Smith plays Silent Bob and Mewes is Jay, the wise-cracking dope dealer, who has stolen many a film. When the tandem meets the press, Smith is usually the mouthpiece and Mewes often chimes in succinctly.
“Kevin is hilarious and he’s such a great writer,” Mewes said. “It’s always a good idea to let him do the talking.”
When Mewes, 48, read the script for “Clerks 3,” Kevin Smith’s latest film, the quirky actor/stand-up couldn’t help but crack up. “How could I not since it’s just so funny, but it’s more than just funny,” Mewes said.
“Clerks 3,” which was released in September, has a lot of laughs and the most heart of any Smith film. The film is a valentine for Smith diehards, particularly those who love “Clerks,” the low-budget indie film that launched the career of the New Jersey auteur. “Clerks 3” revisits such rough around the edge characters as obscene and selfish Randall and good natured Dante, who still work at a Jersey convenience store a generation after scoring jobs at the little shop.
“Clerks 3” is a meta film, which is kind of like experiencing the making of the original film. Randal has a heart attack and almost dies, just like Smith, who suffered a widowmaker in 2018. Randall realizes he’s been watching films his entire life but never made his own, so he and Dante write and direct “Inconvenience,” which is essentially “Clerks.”
Mewes and Smith also return as Jay and his co-conspirator Silent Bob.
“I just find Jay to be so funny,” Smith said. “That’s how I felt when I met him. I had to find out if the rest of the world found Jay as funny as me.”
Mewes loves Smith, 52, and was thrilled to be back in another “Clerks” production.
“It’s always great to work with Kevin,” Mewes said. “I think everyone would like to work with their best friend. It’s great if we can do a movie together every year and now we do a podcast (“Father’s Day,” which is part of Smith’s Smodcast network).”
Mewes, who also auditions for work not related to Smith, doesn’t have a lot of spare time. But when the married father of a 7-year old, with another child on the way, has a break in his schedule, he delivers stand-up.
“I go out on the road and tell what I call ‘ankledotes,’ ” Mewes said. “I tell my amusing stories.”
Mewes, who will perform Friday at the Spokane Comedy Club, has lived a fascinating and unlikely life, and has endless stories.
Early in his career Mewes augmented his income by working roofing jobs and delivering pizza. “I remember dropping off a pie to somebody and they said, ‘You were in that movie ‘Mallrats,’ right,” Mewes recalled. “I said yes and then they said, ‘Well, you don’t need a tip!’ That was just terrible. I can talk about that period or all of the amazing people I met because of acting.”
Mewes admits to being intimidated by George Carlin, who stole the film “Dogma.” “When we were working on ‘Dogma’ George Carlin and Kevin would be talking about things and I just didn’t feel comfortable talking since both Carlin and Kevin are so smart,” Mewes said. “But it was incredible working with Carlin and meeting (comic book legend) Stan Lee. It’s been an amazing life and so much of it has to do with meeting Kevin.”
If Mewes never met Smith he believes he would have stayed in New Jersey. “I probably would be working as a roofer,” Mewes said. “I worked for a guy who had a great house, drove a BMW and had an attractive wife and he owned a roofing company. I thought if I owned a roofing company, maybe I could have that life, too.”
However, Mewes acknowledges that life could have gone in another direction. “You know I’ve had issues with drugs and who knows how things would have gone without Kevin’s help,” Mewes said. “Kevin helped me get to where I need to be personally and he has faith in my acting chops. I owe him so much.”
Smith has been as much a mentor as a friend to Mewes. “When I met Kevin he introduced me to comic books and great films,” Mewes said. “He showed me movies like ‘Blue Velvet’ and television shows like ‘The X-Files’ when I was watching Jean Claude Van Damme films and Sylvester Stallone movies. Kevin changed my life. ”
Mewes certainly wouldn’t have been part of the Affleck-Lopez wedding if it weren’t for Smith.
“That’s absolutely true,” Mewes said. “That was such a great time. We were all dressed in white at this really intimate ceremony. When I was invited I thought there would be so many people but it was pretty small. It’s been a great life so far and I love talking about all of it at my shows. I have plenty of ankeldotes to share.”