Jason Mewes Talks Kevin Smith, Podcasting, Sobriety, Jay and Silent Bob, and Nicole Richey
Actor Jason Mewes has had a colorful life, to say the least. He's become a hero to slackers, stoners, and college kids everywhere after spending the better part of the last 18 years playing Jay, the foul-mouthed, drug-dealing sidekick to Silent Bob in the comedies of director Kevin Smith.
Besides achieving a certain infamy both onscreen and off, Mewes has also endured the ups and downs of opiate addiction for more than a decade, which nearly destroyed his life and severely tested his longtime friendship with Smith (who played the role of Silent Bob). The good news, however, is that Mewes has turned things around, has been clean for almost two years, and is acting up a storm in TV shows like Todd and the Book of Pure Evil and flicks like Silent But Deadly and Big Money Rustlas.
He's also been busy the last few years recording his hit podcast "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" with Smith, which was named one of the Best Podcasts of 2010 on iTunes. The weekly gabfest features the pair spinning funny (and utterly filthy) tales or just cracking wise with one another.
Mewes, who will record a live edition of the podcast with Smith later tonight at Stand-Up Live, took time to speak with Jackalope Ranch earlier this week about sobriety, his sordid past, and how some fans will always think of him as Jay the drug dealer.
"Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" is basically you and Kevin Smith hanging, shooting, the shit, and swapping stories, correct?
Yeah, pretty much. He started the SModcasts years ago with [his producer] Scott Mosier, and they go off on stories and stuff. And I've filled in a few times and I really dug it and I wanted to do a podcast.
It's also you and Kevin being completely unfiltered, correct? Just saying anything and everything when it comes to sex, drugs, or whatever?
Totally. The other day my buddy asked me, "Has there been anything you guys haven't talked about?" And it made me think, yeah, it's really unfiltered. We talk about everything. If we're on a roll and I might start talking about my wife, even if she's there.
How did the Jay and Silent Bob podcast get started?
I was six years sober and I'd had surgery and then wound up messing up for about 14-15 months and doing drugs again. When I was sober again for a few months, I was telling Kevin that I wasn't really accountable to anybody during that time. He was like, "This is perfect. Why don't we do a podcast and talk about everything that's going on. You get to share with me every week, but not only that, whoever listens, you're accountable to them." Every week we sit there and tell stories, but for me it's a little more than that.
So it was born out of Kevin's desire to check up on you see where you're at after your relapse?
So is podcasting therapy for you?
Definitely. It's therapy in the sense that I get to talk about everything going on with me weekly or to remind of stuff that's happened. I can laugh about that sorta stuff now, like when my couch got set on fire. Then, it wasn't funny...but I get to talk about it now. It's therapy in the sense that I have to be accountable to people I don't want to disappoint people, I don't want to disappoint myself, I don't want to disappoint Kevin.
Everything I'm talking about helps me stay on track of what's going on with me and how I'm feeling about being sober and the feedback I get from people. There's a few people out there who've said they've listened to the pod cast and it's really helped them stay sober. They've come to the live show and it's helped them and inspired them to get through a time. It's really flattering, it's helped me, and it's amazing.
How long have you been sober now?
I keep track in my computer, it's climbing on two years now.
Kevin Smith (left) and Jason Mewes recording their weekly podcast.
You've had a very colorful past and reportedly bagged a slew of women. Are these podcasts a chance for you to brag?
There's been some funny situations over the years and it's definitely a big part of the show. When I went on that trip with my friend to Florida years back I slept with his sister, when I was 16, he was 19, it was his 18-year-old girlfriend. So I tell that story. After we did Mallrats I went home. I hadn't seen a couple of my friends while I was filming Mallrats and we met at another friends house and had some drinks and wound up having a threesome. So I told that story. Yeah, I definitely tell some fun tales.
Kevin also told a story about you hooking up with Nicole Richey in the bathroom of an L.A. club years ago. Has she ever copped to it?
Did she ever cop to it? No, no, she didn't even cop to knowing me, which is funny and she still doesn't. I haven't seen her since then. She pretends like she doesn't even know who I am or that her friend Kim Stewart is friends with me. So I just think it's funny, but whatever, I get it. But I really didn't think that Kevin was going to tell that story.
Kevin also described you as the kinda dude who'd take his wang out five minutes after meeting someone. Are you still that impulsive or have you changed?
Not as much any more. Over the years you learn to feel people out. There's definitely people who do not take kindly to that sort of thing. Usually I feel like I can read people and I realize over the years I've pulled it out and some people are offended by it. So yeah, now that I'm older and I'm married and dealt with some people who weren't so fond of that situation, I've held back. Now [it's] not so much in five minutes...now it's got to be a couple of hours to really feel someone out to make sure they're going to laugh or be shocked or whatever I might be trying to get across to them without them getting angry.
So its safe to say you've mellowed out as you've gotten older?
Oh definitely. It's been more feeling people out now. Back then I didn't really care as much to feel people out and I probably didn't have as much to worry about. When I was underage, I wasn't worried about getting arrested so much if I pulled my penis out or hit on a girl. Now I'm married and the girl thing has calmed down. Of course there are no other girls. I don't want to get in trouble for pulling my dick out. These are things to watch out for and steer away from as I'm older and married, trying not to get arrested.
Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks II
Do fans still see you as Jay the drug dealer an just Jason Mewes?
A good portion of people still see me as Jay, I would say for sure. Because we'll do these podcasts and I'll talk about the number of days I've been sober and they're be people sitting all night in the front row and right after the show they'll come around out front -- I usually go out front and sign, say "What's up," take pictures, sign stuff and hang out with everybody afterwards for an hour or so until they kick us out of the venue -- and say "Do you want to smoke a doobie?" And I think it's just people want to ask anyway. Maybe they didn't listen all the way and they think I still smoke, even though I don't drink and do the hardcore drugs. People will ask me to sing the "Fuck, Fuck" song or say "Snooch to the Nooch." I definitely think there's a good portion of fans who come to the show who still think I am like the Jay character.
Is it hard to get movie roles because casting agents also still see you as Jay?
You know what, not any more. I would say that for the first handful of years definitely. After I went back to Jersey, got sober, came back to L.A., I got an agent and a new manager and I wanted to go out on auditions.
I've done Todd and the Book of Pure Evil two seasons and won a Gemini. I did a movie, The Last Godfather with Harvey Keitel where I played a gangster. And a handful of people have seen Bitten where I play an EMT who falls for a vampire. People have actually seen these straight-to-DVD movies. Again, that's a big reason why I did those movies, because they weren't the best scripts or the best characters, but they were different characters and it got me out there doing different roles. And it really helped.
Rarely do I get my manager or a casting agent calls up a casting woman to get me a meeting or an audition...do they think I have long hair, do they think he's this stoner guy. Don't get me wrong, I still get calls when someone's doing a movie about a stoner, and I'll be one of the first guys that they think about. Things are definitely are opening up for me now, I definitely have been getting different offers for roles now.
Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith are will record the latest edition of "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" at 8 p.m. tonight at Stand Up Live. Admission is $40. Click here for tickets.
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