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Jason Mewes would have been a roofer if not for Clerks

On Thursday, February 2, movie theaters across the country will screen a one-time-only film: Kevin Smith: Live From Behind. The evening will comprise a live recording of Kevin Smith's podcast with longtime pal (and film sidekick) Jason Mewes -- but you probably know him better as the Jay to Smith's Silent Bob -- followed by a live question-and-answer session where audience members can interact directly with Smith on the big screen.

Mewes and Smith's podcast (appropriately dubbed Jay and Silent Bob Get Old) is always live; the duo have traveled far and wide to record their shenanigans, but this is the first nationwide film event. We talked to Mewes -- who is astonishingly sweet and didn't utter one curse word -- about the podcast, addiction, his favorite project so far and what he would be doing with himself if he weren't entertaining people for a living.

Westword: How did you get started doing Jay and Silent Bob Get Old?

Well, it was both of our ideas. Kevin's been doing podcasts for about three years now, and I've filled in for Scott Mosier (who runs SModcast Internet Radio with Smith) a couple of times. And then I did one on my buddy Malcolm's (Ingram) podcast. I like it, I was like, "I want to do a podcast!" And I tried to do it with a couple of different friends, tried to think of what to talk about and what the structure and the concept would be, and it didn't really work that well. So it was my idea that I wanted to do my own podcast, but it was Kevin's idea to call it Jay and Silent Bob Get Old and to do it live.

I had a little over six years sober, and I got surgery and I got painkillers and got out of control. I was only supposed to be taking them for a week and took them fourteen or fifteen months. And Kevin asked why I went back to getting high every day and abusing it again after six years, and I thought it was because I hadn't been going to meetings and talking about it, I wasn't accountable to anybody. And he said, "You've been asking me to do a podcast, and you didn't know who to do it with or what to talk about." He was like, "Why don't you and I do one, and you can talk to me, and we can talk about everything that's going on, how we met, how you started using drugs, and not only will you be talking about stuff, you'll be accountable to everybody who listens." It was both of our ideas.

It's been really awesome because it's been really helpful, and it's really been nice because each week it's been helping me share and talk about stuff, it's like therapy to me, but it's been really nice. I just got a Twitter message a few days ago from a girl I've talked to on Twitter here and there, and she's coming up on a year sober, and she thanked me and said look, I wanted to say hello again and I'm coming up on a year sober, because she listened to the podcast from the beginning, and when she was going through her withdrawals and felt like getting high, she listened to our podcast and it would help her not use and stay on the right track. That's really awesome that it's helping me, but it's helping other people, too. So not only do I have fun and I get to travel and hang out with my best friend and my wife, because my wife is a big part of the company, I get to entertain people and help people.

What would you say has been your favorite project out of all the movies you've done?

My favorite movie to do overall would be Mallrats, just because it was my first movie. Clerks was the first movie, but Mallrats was the first studio movie with actors and grips, directors, lights. It was in a different state, I was getting per diem, and I got to work with Stan Lee and Shannen Doherty, and it was so surreal to me, it was such a surreal experience that I was going to make a feature film for a studio, there were going to be billboards and it was going to be all over the place. That one, I had so much fun and it was so awesome to me. Over the last years, I've really had a great time making two seasons of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. I've been having so much fun on that when I do it. We've done two seasons, hopefully we'll do a season three, it's just been so much fun doing a steady TV show, getting to be in every episode and be on set. I had fun on a lot of movies, I've got to say.

I would just say Mallrats to make it easy, but I also got to do a movie with Harvey Keitel called The Last Godfather where I played a mobster. I got to shoot a Tommy gun and drive an old 1963 Ford and wear old suits, so it was like a period piece, and that was amazing too. There's been a lot of cool things we've done in a couple of years. I got to play Hamlet in a comedy version, and I got to play a prisoner. I'll say Mallrats was my favorite because it was so surreal, and I'll never forget it.

Clerks was cool, but it was a bunch of friends, doing a roofing job during the day, and then go and shoot a couple of scenes. It seemed like a bunch of friends making a movie, where Mallrats after work there would be thirty people in the hotel bar, and we're on set running around this big-as small when it's closed at nighttime. It was crazy.

Are there any projects or movies still on your list of things to scratch off?

There's a lot of cool shows that I really like, but there's none that really stand out. There's many shows, many movies I'd like to be a part of. I'd definitely love to work in a comic book movie. Not even necessarily as the superhero as anything, but I'd love to be part of one of the X-Men movies, or the Spiderman or Fantastic Four, whatever it might be comic-related. I'd love to be, even if I was the technician who built Green Arrow's bows and arrows and all his weapons and stuff. That would be cool to me, just to be part of that movie project, a big studio comic-book movie.

What would you be doing now if you weren't acting?

The place that I was at before we did the movies, when we shot Clerks, even right before we went to go shoot Mallrats, my idea at the time was, I was roofing, I did that for four or five years, and I was pretty decent at it, and I wanted to move up to the foreman of a crew and eventually own my own roofing business. I would hopefully have moved up to at least foreman of a roofing company or owned my own roofing company by now. It's a hard job for the weather, summertime it's hot and humid on the roofs, and wintertime it's freezing cold up on the roof. It's a hard job. You've got to climb up ladders four or five stories, or even on big business buildings, you have to modify rubber and burn it. It's something I was pretty good at, so I would say that's where I would probably be right now.

What would you say to potential audience members to entice them to your show?

I would say come get popcorn, a hot dog, and I would tell them to come and watch us, because you never know what you'll hear or see, and you can do it with a hot dog and a bag of popcorn in your lap.

Visit www.fathomevents.com for theater and ticketing information.

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