Jason Mewes has been playing Jay, the long-haired, rail-thin vulgar mouthpiece for his weed-slingin’ buddy Silent Bob for over 20 years now. The unlikely comedy duo, who have appeared in well over half a dozen movies, are the Gen-X slacker version of Laurel & Hardy. As the mid-’90s comedy classic “Mallrats” turns 20 years old this year, Fandomfest is bringing Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith to Louisville for a screening of the film and to do a live Q&A/podcast recording afterward. Mewes took some time while on vacation in Hawaii to chat with us about “Mallrats” and more.
LEO: What’s your most vivid memory of shooting “Mallrats”?
Jason Mewes: Shooting that movie was one of my favorites. The whole situation is kind of surreal. “Clerks” was the first movie we shot; “Mallrats” was the first studio movie we did. So, we were getting paid to go to another state, stay in a hotel, wake up and go to the mall every day. And I got to work with Stan Lee, Priscilla Barnes and Shannon Doherty. I don’t know — the whole experience was surreal and I had a blast. But, one experience that really stands out is going up to Priscilla Barnes’ room. Kevin had to go up there to talk to her about a scene or something. He wound up leaving, so me and her got to talking a little bit. Eventually I told her that as a kid I used to spank to “Three’s Company.” I didn’t know how she would react, you know? I was 20 years old and didn’t really care, but she laughed about it. It could’ve gone very wrong.
LEO: Does it seem like it’s been 20 years?
JM: It doesn’t. That seems like such a long time. I mean, it does feel like it’s been a good many years since we shot it, but 20 years seems like a long time. It seems more like ten years ago, or eight years ago.
LEO: Is it strange going back and looking at that version of yourself?
JM: I mean, it is with pictures and everything, going back when we do stuff, looking at how I looked at sounded doing “Mallrats” and then how I looked and sounded in “Chasing Amy” then “Dogma.” It is definitely strange to go back. But it’s also nice, because I kinda got to capture the last 20 years of my life on film.
LEO: Do you ever watch the movies and critique your performance?
JM: Definitely. But I don’t usually ever watch the movies again. I mean, I watch them at the premieres and stuff. But sometimes I’ll be at a friend’s house and they’ll come on cable or something. And, even if it’s something I did six months ago, or a year ago, I’m constantly watching and critiquing myself and I hate it, which is why I don’t like critiquing other people either. Recently, a friend of mine was just on a show, and she’s a really good actress, but I didn’t really like it. But I don’t think I’m a good actor at all, so who am I to be telling other people what I think about their acting? They’re better than I am. If you notice on the “Clerks” poster, there’s no Jay and Bob. Kevin’s on it but he’s dressed as Kevin Smith, the director. But the studio didn’t think anything of Jay and Bob. They were more focused on the movie — and Dante and Randal. I remember “Mallrats” started screening for press and there was a guy at a paper who wrote, ‘You wonder what rock Jay crawled out from under.’ So people started talking about them around “Mallrats,” but it wasn’t really until “Chasing Amy” that people kinda loved them.
LEO: How is “Mallbrats” (the upcoming sequel to “Mallrats”) coming along?
JM: The script is amazing. I don’t know how it’s going with shooting and everything, but I know it’s moving forward. They don’t really keep me in the loop or anything. I’ll hear a little from Kevin because I see him all of the time and we’re on the road so much together. But, when it comes to these movies, there’s so much politics involved with who owns rights and stuff, and financing, and of these things that are a little over my head, to be honest. Everything just seems to be moving forward.
Jason Mewes will be at Fandomfest (Kentucky International Convention Center) Friday through Sunday. Kevin Smith will be there only for the “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old Live Event” On Saturday, August 8. For tickets, click here.