So it's the mid '90s. I'm in film school. It's a heady time. I'm all hopped up on Kieslowski and Bergman, preaching the virtues of the Decalogue and the five-hour version of Fanny and Alexander and stuff like that. The good stuff.
And here comes this chubby, foul-mouthed, bespectacled dude from Jersey who's really into comics, poo jokes, hockey, working retail, hanging around the mall, making Star Wars references, being titillated yet discomfited by lesbians and organized religion and fatherhood, and getting famous in the indie-film world for making these preposterously scrappy glorified home movies with all his buddies and no money and a lot of cojones and raunchy camaraderie. He's so unpretentious it's almost pretentious. And I'm thinking, "Who is this joker?" And (secretly), "How come I never thought of that?"
Well, he's Kevin Smith. And my general impression is that if I ever got to meet him, and I asked him what he thought of Fanny and Alexander, even just the three hour version, well, just that title alone would prompt him to giggle uncontrollably while kicking my ass. And then he would take questions from his fans about it on his Web site in real time.
And maybe Jason Mewes, the Jay to his Silent Bob, would be by his side. They're like the Penn and Teller of douchetards, if I may use a word that sounds silly and doesn't even exist but might nonetheless deeply offend various individuals and groups, because that seems true to the spirit of Smith.
Anyway, now it's the end of the '00s. And Smith is a full-fledged media personality, with many movies under his belt (maybe it sounds more correct to say below his belt), most recently Zack and Miri Make a Porno. And, as part of a national tour, he's coming to the Warfield to do a stand-up show. And I'm alone in a cafe hunched over my laptop, jealously grousing about how far he's come, and I haven't, since the days of Clerks.
The lesson might be to think carefully about whether you really want to go to film school.
Smith's show has been billed as "Silent Bob Speaks," which is too bad. It might actually be funny if he didn't say anything at all the whole time. And we all just sat there wondering what's up and thinking, "Oh, right, Silent Bob, heh." And then thinking, "OK, but seriously." And then thinking, "Wow, he's really going through with this." And then either seething to think that it's true that he really is just a great big void in the entertainment world and he knows it and he's managed to sell it to us once again and we're idiots, or else turning to our pedantic art-film-loving friends and saying, "See? It's like I've been telling you since the mid '90s. A genius." And then shutting up and listening and laughing at the silence.