A chat with Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith interview, The Best of the SModcast, Reaper
Kevin Smith

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Ever since Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill in 1995, pop culture writers have been obliged to put serious consideration into whether or not they’re using the word “ironic” correctly, lest someone somewhere sneer at them, “Uh, excuse me, Alanis, but that actually isn’t ironic.” But if you’ve ever listened to Kevin Smith’s podcasts…oh, sorry, SModcasts…with his longtime friend and producer Scott Mosier, then you know that it is, without question, extremely ironic that Smith’s best-known character is named Silent Bob. For those who don’t have the time to listen to all of the audio archives, however, Titan Books has the perfect solution: a transcription of the show’s greatest moments, entitled "Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith: The Best of the SModcast." Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with Smith about the book, the history of the SModcast and some of the highlights from the collection, but we also had enough time to get an update on the status of “Hit Somebody” (based on a song written by Warren Zevon and Mitch Albom), the experience of working on “A Couple of Dicks,” and how directing the pilot for “Reaper” provided the perfect stepping stone to helming a film that he didn’t actually write himself.

Kevin Smith: Yellooooooo…?

Bullz-Eye: Is this Kevin?

KS: Yeah, it is. How are you, sir? Nice to talk to you.

BE: You as well. You and I talked a few years ago, and normally I wouldn’t expect you to remember me, but we talked about something that I’ve never heard come up elsewhere: your real-life “National Lampoon’s Vacation” experience at Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, VA.

KS: (Laughs) Too funny!

BE: Now there’s a topic that I’m surprised has never come up on the SModcast.

KS: Yeah, so far we haven’t gone over that yet. But now that you’ve reminded me, maybe we’ll bring it on.

BE: For those who only know you from your films, they might actually be surprised that there’s really precious little about filmmaking within the SModcasts.

Smith's summary of the SModcasts: "Generally, we just kind of sit around and it’ll be, like, 'Okay, you and I, Scott, we’re on an Oceanic airliner and it goes down. We wind up on the island of ‘Lost,’ it’s just you and me, and nobody else is there…but there’s the polar bear, the black cloud, and all that shit. How long before we start fucking each other?' And we jump from there and extrapolate."

KS: Yeah, the SModcast is…I mean, we don’t really sit around talking about the biz or the industry or what we’ve done. I mean, we talk about what we’ve done by virtue of the fact that it leads to a good story, but not, like, “Yeah, man, we’re filmmakers. Doesn’t that rock? It’s so serious being a filmmaker.” We don’t talk about stuff like that. Generally, we just kind of sit around and it’ll be, like, “Okay, you and I, Scott, we’re on an Oceanic airliner and it goes down. We wind up on the island of ‘Lost,’ it’s just you and me, and nobody else is there…but there’s the polar bear, the black cloud, and all that shit. How long before we start fucking each other?” And we jump from there and extrapolate. (Laughs) I mean, to a large degree, it’s kind of like…remember in “Clerks,” where they’re talking about the Death Star contractors?

BE: Absolutely.

KS: That’s the prototypical SModcast right there, you know? Essentially. I mean, somebody described it once by saying, “It just seems like you spend a lot of time trying to convince Scott or talk Scott into a corner where he admits that he may be gay for a situation.” (Laughs) But, yeah, it’s nothing …like, some folks have asked, “Hey, man, you shot with Bruce Willis and Tracey Morgan, you should put them on the SModcast.” But it’s not really about that, you know? It’s not like a chat show or something like that. I mean, it is strictly a chat show, actually, but not the kind of chat that I guess most people think of. I mean, I don’t want to interview somebody on the show. I just want to have conversations on the show.

BE: So do you go in with a list of hypothetical questions to start the ball rolling, or is it completely off the cuff?

Kevin SmithKS: No, it’s kind of off the cuff. I mean, every once in awhile back in the day, I used to bookmark shit I read online that I could pull up, and that could be a topic, but we’ve done that less and less in the second half of the run, I think. So generally we just kind of sit down and go, like, “Do you have anything?” And, shit, 9.95 times out of 10, he’s, like, “Nah.” And then we just kind of go from there. Every once in awhile, he’s got something that he’ll want to get into, like when he got the vasectomy, or something like that. But, no, there’s no real planning. We just kind of go. I mean, y’know, maybe the secret is that we keep going. Like, the show records for two to three hours, and when it goes up, it’s about an hour, sometimes an hour and change. That’s ‘cause I sit there and take out everything that’s boring. (Laughs) You know? Everything that’s…like, when we go off on those tangents where we start spitting out factoids that aren’t actually accurate or anything like that? Imagine four times the length and sixteen times less the interest. (Laughs) Sometimes shit like that has to get pulled out, or else people would be, like, “Boy, SModcast is terrible!” So I pull that stuff out, and then I give it over to Ken (Plume), and Ken lays the beds down, and up it goes. But there’s not much planning that goes into it. I mean, Ken doesn’t even really get to plan, because when he gets it, he has to listen to it and then kind of figure out how to editorialize or comment on what we’re talking about. So it’s not like he can sit there and go, “All right, I’ve got nineteen songs that I’m going to put in the next SModcast that goes through,” because they’re very, uh, SMod-specific, for lack of a better description. I’ve got to tell you: a lot of work goes into something that’s absolutely free. (Laughs)

BE: It’s a labor of love, then.

KS: Oh, totally. But, like, between me and Mos recording, me editing, and Ken music-editing, then taking it live, that’s a lot of hours going into it, man. I mean, I’d say that we record for two, probably edit for four to six, so that’s eight right there, and I don’t know how long it takes Ken, but I have to imagine a minimum of two, and he’d probably tell you a lot more. So you’re looking at at least ten hours per SModcast…but I wouldn’t have it any other way, man. This is my favorite thing in the world that I do right now, even way more than the films. I mean, think about it: the films were kind of meant to communicate, right? It’s a communication medium, film. You throw something out there into the void, a message, and hope somebody responds back. I mean, “Clerks” in essence…and I kind of view it from this vantage point…seems less like a film to me and more like a very expensive icebreaker, to be, like, “Hey, my name’s Kevin Smith. How are you?” And then everything that follows that is the conversation. SModcast just takes that conversation even closer to home. Like, back in the day, it’d take a year or year and a half from the time you dream up a movie and the time it comes out. That’s a long time to wait for a response to a question, so to speak. SModcast, I throw it up there and I can find out in an hour what people thought of it…and have fun with them talking about it, too. Mutually appreciating it and shit like that. Without all the sturm and drang of, “Wow, it took us four months to shoot that, and so long to edit it, and all the test screenings, and it kind of looks like the script a little bit.” SModcast is kind of pure. Very pure, in fact. And the fact that it became a book is a very, very fun but stupid development in terms of, y’know, new media stepping backwards into old media. But leave it to the Brits: it was Titan who suggested it.

"It’s not like someday my kid’s gonna be standing over my grave, and somebody’s gonna hang her a folded flag and say, 'You know what? This is ‘cause he did 24 hours straight on Twitter.' But it’s just one of those little personal victories, like, 'I wonder if I can do this.' And I did it. A stupid goal, but I accomplished it. Life’s all about…for me, at least…having very stupid achievable goals. That way, you always feel like a winner."

BE: And who contacted me to let me know about it, in fact.

KS: Yeah, this dude over there, Adam Newell…he’s the same guy who suggested taking my blog and turning it into My Boring Ass Life…he’s, like, “What if we take the SModcasts, transcribe it, and turn that into a book?” And I was, like, “Dude, people are gonna think I’m the fucking money-grubbing-est piece of shit on the planet!” But, y’know, I’m here to tell you that there’s very little money in publishing unless you’re J.K. Rowling. So I was, like, “I dunno, I don’t know if this is a great idea, part of the fun of SModcast is listening to it, and without the inflections, wouldn’t it be boring if you read it on the page?” And he hit me with a file of a transcription that he’d had done, and it was funny. It made me chuckle. And I said to Scott…he’s the real litmus test, because Mosier hates everything. He’s like Mikey from Life Cereal. He doesn’t even listen to the SModcast because he doesn’t like the sound of his own voice or something like that…or maybe he secretly hates the sound of my voice, and he’s, like, “Ugh! Living through it once is terrible enough, I can’t live through it a second time.” But for whatever reason, he doesn’t listen. So I hit him with the file, and he read it, and he was just so into it. He was, like, “Wow, man, I would never listen to the SMod, as you know, but I would totally read it. It’s fun to read. We’re actually kind of funny!” So that’s when I kind of went forward and said, “Hey, let’s do it. If Mosier can approve of this book, then by all means, let’s do it.”

BE: So when you look back at some of the SModcasts in print, are you amazed at how long they go on? I mean, the Helen Keller alone translates to 24 pages.

KS: Does it really?

BE: It does.

Kevin SmithKS: You know, the only reason I sensed the time in regards to them was when we were performing it a couple of weeks back. No, last week, actually. We did a live SModcast in Red Bank, me and Mos are up on stage, and about an hour and a half into it…I wanted to do two hours, but an hour and a half into it, I’m kind of losing anything that I had to talk about. He’s wonderful, but he’s…hey, he’ll be the first one to tell you, “Ah, I can’t generate. I’m happy to be the guy who is the other half, but…” That’s why there’s never been a SModcast with Mosier and someone else. You know what I’m saying? Mosier doesn’t like to drive. He’s like a baby in the car. He doesn’t want to drive. Dude doesn’t like to take the wheel. So at the hour and a half mark, I realized that I didn’t have much left, and I was, like, “Well, this motherfucker ain’t gonna help me out. He never has anything going on in terms of generating.” So I was, like, “I guess we’re gonna wrap it up.” And then I was, like, “You know, on Twitter lately, I’ve been getting this question, and I know some people are kidding, but I also know that some people are being really serious, but…they ask me, ‘Hey, man, when’s the audio book version of this book coming out?’”

BE: Seriously? (Laughs)

KS: Oh, yeah. And, of course, I hit ‘em with the link to the SModcast archives and shit. But Mosier and I started talking about this on stage, and we’re, like, “It’s ridiculous, because why would you record something from the text version of something that we’ve already recorded once? Couldn’t you just edit it from there and put it out?” And then we were talking about maybe trying it, just reading the parts aloud and acting it out? And everyone was, like, “Do it!” And someone else said, “Switch parts!” That’s where it really took off. So I’m up there reading him, he’s up there reading me, and we’re doing “Hero?” And it wouldn’t end, dude. (Laughs) It just went on and on, page after page. And, now, mercifully, it was very, very funny, and I was crying doing it, because I was reading his parts, and he was pretty fucking funny that day, which I’d totally forgotten. But the length of it was something that really took me back. I was just, like, “Wow, we’ve been doing this for what feels like half an hour.” And it did take us about half an hour to read that whole chapter aloud.

BE: Are there are any SModcasts where you’ve gone back and been, like, “Wow, is there no way to have this permanently stricken from the record?”

KS: Uh, not yet, man. Mercifully, I haven’t encountered something where I’m just, like, “Holy Christ, this is terrible.” I mean, there are certainly some that are better than others, and there are some that really pop hardcore for me, but none where I’m, like, “God, that was bad.” On the first one, we clearly don’t have our voices yet, but you can hear where it’s going. Other than that, I don’t really have a complaint, man. I actually thought we always sounded fairly decent from the start.

BE: It’s funny that we’re talking on a Saturday, since it’s a primo flea market day, and the story of Walt Flanagan haggling with a flea market vendor over a VHS tape is one of my favorites from the book.

Kevin SmithKS: (Laughs) That is one of the best ones. And that motherfucker Flanagan…like, the beauty of Walt Flanagan is that he just never believes anything. He doesn’t believe that people enjoy him or anything like that. Walt Flanagan currently sits atop the New York Times best-seller list for graphic novels. Our “Cacophony” book was #1 this week. Now, I don’t think our SModcast book is going to be #1, but it may wind up…may wind up on a New York Times best-seller list somewhere down the road. If that’s the case, then Walt will have been on that list twice in the span of a month, and it wouldn’t fucking phase him. It’s not like he’d go home and fuck his wife a little harder or something like that, or get blown for his trouble. You know, he just kind of shrugs at the whole thing, while I’m, like, “Dude, you are, like the favorite SModcast guest. Why can’t you embrace that?” But he just goes, “Ah, they don’t give a fuck about me. No one cares. It’s just you, dude. I’m not stupid. I know they’re listening for you.” I’m, like, “Dude, that’s not true! I read compliments about you constantly, where motherfuckers are just, like, ‘Flanagan: funnier than Smith,’ and blah blah blah.” “Ah, they just say that because they know you like me.” He’s one of those dudes: he can’t take a fucking compliment.

BE: See, I’ve got boxes of VHS tapes, and now I want to take them to a flea market and sell them so that someone like Walt will come up and try to haggle with me.

KS: Exactly!

BE: Has there been any sort of Canadian backlash over the SModcasts?

KS: Never. Never. Canadians seem to love it more than Americans, even. I think they kinda dig when we do their voices and whatnot. If there was any Canadian outrage, it was over Malcom’s failure to remember who the PM was.

BE: Absolutely. He was impressive in his…okay, I’ll say it: his ignorance.

KS: Yeah, it was astounding. It really was.

BE: And, y’know, a small bit in one of the SModcasts that really made me laugh was when you were talking about your difficulties in watching “Blue City” while you were stoned.

KS: (Laughs) Oh, man…

BE: I was sent a review copy of that when it was reissued a year or two ago, and I was, like, “Okay, I think we’ve figured out why this has gone down as a lesser Brat Pack work.”

KS: (Laughs) I gotta tell you, man: that was perfect SModcast fodder. I was just…I mean, it had happened very close to when I started talking about it, and I was just very bemused by the whole thing. “This movie was defeating me, man!” I don’t know, it’s just that to invoke that picture…that’s what SModcast is for. Who the fuck else is going to be talking about “Blue City” in this day and age?

BE: In one segment, you were talking about mix tapes with your daughter, Harley.

KS: Oh, yeah.

BE: I should perhaps preface this question by telling you that, when I told my daughter that I was going to be interviewing you, she asked, “Is he the one who looks like you?”

KS: (Laughs) Oh, that’s awesome.

BE: And the answer is “yes.”

KS: Nice.

BE: As far as your daughter goes, though, has there been any case where you were trying to get her hip to something that you liked when you were a kid and it was just total heartbreak when she didn’t get into it at all?

KS: No, I mean, I always took for granted that, look, she’s a kid, so she’s not going to fucking like the same shit that I like necessarily. But I’ve definitely gotten lucky, inasmuch as there are things that I like that she’s taken to. Like, she digs hockey, and she digs any movie that I’m, like, “Let’s watch this! I can’t show you all of ‘Fame,’ but I can show you the original ‘Fame.’ Not Coco with her crying and the nipples and shit, but I can show you when they all start singing at lunchtime and whatnot.” And she gets into it. The kid’s real into musicals like me; maybe she’s a closet gay like me or something like that. I don’t know, but she’s a delight. Her mother can’t stand it. She’s, like, “Ugh, at every turn, she’s just more and more like you.” But it’s kind of a cool thing, you know? It’s like having a little twin of sorts.

BE: My greatest thrill is that my daughter likes “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.”

KS: Ah, right. And you’re, like, “Oh, thank God: she’s not an idiot!” (Laughs)

BE: Since you brought up hockey a second ago, let me go ahead and ask you about the status of “Hit Somebody.” What was your experience with Warren Zevon prior to this? I mean, obviously, you were a hockey fan, so I can see why you’d be taken with making a movie based on the song, but…

On directing the "Reaper" pilot and "A Couple of Dicks": "After fifteen years, I had what they call a sensibility, I guess. And sometimes that's what people want: your sensibility. They don’t necessarily want your words. They’re, like, 'You can hold on to ‘cocksmoker,’ but we just like how you do things. We like how you put things together, and we like how you view things.'"

KS: Well, I mean, we all know ‘Werewolves of London,’ of course, and most of the other bigger stuff. And when Warren died, it was certainly on my radar, ‘cause it was kind of a large pop cultural moment. And, also, there was the fact that he did Letterman’s show right before he died...while he knew he was dying, in fact, and talked about it openly. A dude like that, you can’t really not notice, particularly when you like music as well. I’m not the world’s biggest music enthusiast, but there’s stuff that I absolutely dig. So this song, though, I didn’t hear it until Ken Plume, our SModcast mixer, sent it to me when I was talking about hockey one episode. He pitched it over to me, and I don’t know if he ever used it as the bed under any of the episodes, but he threw me this song. It sat on my desktop for awhile, and one day I played it, and I was entranced. I mean, I’m a big story-song fan to begin with, right? Who isn’t? But then I was just touched by the song, and I identified with the song, and…I don’t know, it was pretty intense. And from that moment forever, it suddenly became about that, thinking, “I think this could be a movie. I would like to turn this into a movie, and I’m going to start pursuing this.” And that’s how we wound up there. I got in touch with Mitch, and he was the last guy, I guess…well, Warren’s song, so you can’t really get in touch with him anymore, right? So I got in touch with Mitch, and Mitch was kind of overseeing it or watching over the rights at this point. I was, like, “Hey, man, my name’s Kevin Smith, and there’s this song of yours that I’d really like to turn into a feature.” And he didn’t know who the fuck I was, but I knew who he was, of course. I think it was, like, after a day or two that somebody said, “You know, the fucking fat dude who made ‘Clerks,’ and he went, ‘Oh, that guy!’ But at first, I think he had no fucking clue whatsoever. But I talked to him for awhile on the phone, and I talked to him over E-mail, and then when I came out to New York to go into preproduction on “A Couple of Dicks,” Mitch was actually out here, because he comes out every other week for ESPN, I guess. He does a talk show on Sunday mornings. So we were able to sit down out in Battery Park and talk about it, and he could obviously see how passionate I was about it, and finally he was, like, “Okay, let’s try this. I just wanted to sit down face to face, so in case this did become something, I’d always remember the moment. You seem like a good guy, so let’s get going.”

BE: Awesome.

Kevin SmithKS: Yeah, and since then, we’ve become closer and gotten to know each other a lot more. A couple of weeks ago, he took me out to the Joe Louis Arena out in Detroit, home of the Red Wings, and we went all throughout the entire place, watched them practice, met the coach and Chris Osgood, the goalie, and basically just lived in Hockey Town for a little bit. He was an excellent host, but, y’know, dude’s one of the most recognizable people on the planet in Detroit. People are, like, “Hey, Mitch! Mitch Albom!” So, yeah, it looks like we’re moving forward on it. I mean, I’ve got a shit-ton of notes, and I did start writing the ending already, but…I think December is when I’m clear from, like, doing a bunch of gigs and Q&As and promoting the book. I think that’s when I’m gonna kick back and actually break the back of the script. I don’t know where it’s gonna wind up. Naturally, my inclination would be to try Warner Brothers first, given that I just made a movie there, but I don’t know if they’re going to be into it. It’s not like hockey movies are insanely profitable. Most sports movies aren’t. Poor Drew Barrymore’s movie, “Whip It,” seems to be withering on the vine this weekend, even though the reviews were insanely strong. Anything that’s not football, baseball, or basketball, generally people in cinema have a hard time going with it. Unless it’s boxing, like fucking “Rocky” or something like that. (Laughs) So hopefully the flick will be this kind of bittersweet…I hesitate to call it a comedy, but if I’m involved, then of course I’m gonna try for some fucking laughs. Tonally, though, I’d like to go for something like the “Forrest Gump” of sports movies, but not that wide-eyed and wondrous and shit like that. And the dude’s not mentally challenged or some such shit. But just that feel of following a life that intersects with other lives, historically speaking. “Dramedy” some people call it, but I don’t know if I want to go that far. I would love to call it a hockey fable, but the problem is that anytime you call anything a fable, people don’t want to go see it. (Laughs) At the box office, “fable” seems to be a term that turns people off and whatnot. So let’s just keep the “Fable” thing to you and me and the people reading this. (Laughs)

BE: So how was the experience of “A Couple of Dicks,” directing something that you didn’t write yourself?

KS: You know, it was interesting directing something I didn’t write. I found that I became far more collaborative, because I couldn’t consider myself the foremost authority on the subject matter anymore. Like, on the other flicks that I’ve written and directed, since I was the author, and since I generated the idea from the get-go, I always had a vision in my head, whether good or back or lack thereof, of kinda what it’s gonna look like. So the whole time, whether I’m writing or in production or post-production, all I’m trying to do is try and shape it into the image I have in my head. So that meant that when I’d get to the set, I’d be kind of locked into an idea and not really interested in deviating from it that much, and that doesn’t leave you open to much collaboration. Being that I didn’t write the script for “Dicks,” I found myself deferring to the writers all the time…or to other people, like the actors or the producers. I’d be all, like, “What do you think? And what do you think?” Like, I would definitely kinda get everyone’s input before making a decision, whereas back in the day, I’d be, like, “No, I know what I’m doing. This is it. No, this is it. I don’t need it. I’m fine. This is good. This is it.” But on this one, I was able to go, “What do you guys think?” Then I’d add to it what I thought and distill it down to what I assumed would be the answer that was in the best interest of the flick itself. It was a weird process, because I couldn’t feel like, “Hey, man, I know everything there is to know about this, so I got this covered.” You know?

BE: Sure.

KS: On this one, since I wasn’t the author, I felt like, “You know, I’m going to ask everybody.” I was a lot more collaborative by virtue of that, and I think the film got better looking and it plays better. We started playing “Beat the Joke,” inasmuch as…we knew we had a great base with the script, but you’ve got Tracey Morgan, one of the funniest people in the world, on the set. And then Sean William Scott, who’s, again, one of the funniest people in the world and a fantastic comedic performer. Fred Armisen came in for a day. It’s, like, you’re not gonna tell these dudes, “Just do the script. That’s fine. All we need from you is the script.” We got the script, and then we were, like, “Give us more, man! Fucking gravy! Pour it all over that shit, and we’ll pick and choose later on.” And the movie’s pretty damned strong. I mean, when all was said and done, I just had a different idea back in the day, when I was a kid, about what a filmmaker was, or what a director was, or what an auteur was. I didn’t go for the auteur title, but they throw it on me all the time. It was always more about, “I’ve got it, I’ve got this, it’s my vision, I’m responsible for my vision. I’m sorry, I’ll do it, this is just me, I’ve got this covered. Just help me do it.” And now I’m, like…you know, look, yeah, they’re hiring me to kind of turn in the best version of this movie that I can make, the funniest version I can make, and how I get there doesn’t really matter any more. You know what I’m saying?

BE: Sure.

Kevin SmithKS: I don’t have to be a solo sojournist…or sojourner, sorry…going through the process by myself with no input from others. Now I’m just, “Hey, man, if this motherfucker has a good idea, then I’m totally using it.” Why not? Why not improve the flick and shit? So back in the day, it was just, like, “No, it’s all got to come from me!” And the older you get, you realize, “No, it doesn’t.” It never comes from one fucking person, anyway. I mean, it doesn’t matter who you are. Like, look, I love Quentin Tarantino and worship at his altar, but he’s not the only guy who makes his movies. Any of his movies. It’s “no man is an island.” I was kind of raised and sold as an auteur by Miramax when I was kind of pushed out to be the frontman on the movie by virtue of the fact that we didn’t have any movie stars or anything like that. That was kind of an era where they were turning directors into rock stars, kinda like they did in the ‘70s, so by virtue of kinda being forced out there as the front man, you become kind of a personality for your films as well. But I would always be out there going, “Hey, man, I’m not the only person making the flick.” That’s why you don’t see a “A film by” in the credits. I didn’t do that. I wrote and I directed, and that’s usually what I take credits for. “A film by” just seems to be, like, “I did this motherfucker by myself, with no aid whatsoever!” It’s just a little too hoity-toity, to be honest, and it seems disrespectful to the rest of the crew and to everybody who helped make the movie. Even the cast. Some guys get away with it. I mean, Martin Scorsese, when you’ve got a body of work like that…? They should treat the “A film by” credit like a “sir” title over in England: you’ve got to pick somebody to bestow that on people. You can’t just fucking use it. It gets used so often. I can’t stand when first-time filmmakers use it, where it’s, like, “A Film by Doug Henning,” or something like that. It’s, like, “Dude, you’ve never made a movie before!” Putting “A Film By” isn’t gonna bring one more fucking ass into the seats unless they’re related to you or something like that. It’s the kind of thing you use when you can market off your name. Like, Tim Burton’s got a brand. All of Tim Burton’s movies kind of have a similar feel and look alike and shit like that. So if it says, “A Film by Tim Burton,” I get it, because they can sell that fucking brand. Steven Spielberg? Sure. Scorsese, same thing. But these first-timers are people whose work is, like, non-fucking-descript. Why they need “A Film By” has always been beyond me.

BE: So when you did the “Reaper” pilot, was that what you’d consider the stepping stone to “A Couple of Dicks”?

KS: Yeah, the “Reaper” pilot definitely opened the door a little bit, because when all was said and done with it, I felt like, “Hey, we brought something to the pilot, me and Dave (Klein, cinematographer).” Like, you know, I read the script and I watched the pilot, and the pilot was better than the script, and not because, like, “Oh, I’m so much better than the chicks that wrote the script,” but just because I felt like I was able to bring something to it. Like, there was a reason that they hired me. But the whole time, I was, like, “Why did you guys hire me to do this? If I didn’t write it, what’s the point in me being here?” But what happened was that, after fifteen years, dude, I had what they call a sensibility, I guess. And sometimes that what people want: your sensibility. They don’t necessarily want your words. They’re, like, “You can hold on to ‘cocksmoker,’ but we just like how you do things. We like how you put things together, and we like how you view things.” So you look at “A Couple of Dicks,” and the few people who’ve seen it already have gone, “It’s weird: I know you didn’t write it, but it still kind of feels like your film.” And I think that’s because of the “sensibility.”

BE: Last question, to bring it back to the SModcast: do you ever have a problem with your fans being too familiar with you? I mean, seriously, somebody you’ve never met probably knows enough about you from what you’ve written or said that they could perpetuate having gone to school with you.

KS: Probably. (Laughs) Yeah, but, y’know, it would only bother me if I hadn’t been the one putting all of the information out there, you know what I’m saying? It would be disingenuous and shitty to be all, like, “Oh, these fuckers who know so much about me, why can’t they get any lives?” I mean, all I do is talk about me and my life, so it stands to reason that if they’re listening to my shit, if they’re big enough fans to tune in for shit like SModcast, then of course they’re gonna know a whole lot more about my personal life than most people. It’s funny, though, when you meet people who know more about your personal life than family members. You just want to tell the family members…not immediate family, but, like, my brother and sister, it’s just, like, “Hey, man, jump on Twitter! You’ll find out what I’m up to all the time!” (Laughs)

BE: Which reminds me: how did your 24-hour Twitter-thon treat you?

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith and Will Harris, 2007

KS: I thought it was awesome. I’ve been training for it for, like, 15 years, though. We’ve been on the web since 1995, so I guess that’s actually 14 years. But I was ready. I was always curious, because I’ve spent hours upon hours on the web answering questions over the years, but the one that I’d never done was do it for 24 hours straight. I was kind of curious: “Can I pull it off?” And, alas, I could. (Laughs) It’s a mean feat. It’s not like someday my kid’s gonna be standing over my grave, and somebody’s gonna hang her a folded flag and say, “You know what? This is ‘cause he did 24 hours straight on Twitter.” But it’s just one of those little personal victories, like, “I wonder if I can do this.” And I did it. A stupid goal, but I accomplished it. Life’s all about…for me, at least…having very stupid achievable goals. That way, you always feel like a winner.

BE: And, see, one of mine used to be that I wanted to interview Kevin Smith.

KS: And you did it, dude. And now you’re, like, “Ugh…” (Laughs) You should’ve aimed higher.

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