INTERVIEWS

Jason Mewes Has Paid His Dues

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mewesWhen Clerks hit the big screen in 1994, for millions of mostly young adults, it was like lightening split the theatre in two. And it wasn’t just New Jersey youth who related to the characters and their syntax, it was the birth of a new comedic duo Jay and Silent Bob.

There was something classic about the interplay between Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Like an X-rated version of Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and Martin & Lewis, Mewes solidified his place in comedy history.

From a rough and tumble beginning to stardom, Mewes has been vocal about his struggle with addiction on the somewhat weekly podcast Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. His story, personality and comedy are larger than life and Mewes will be appearing at the San Jose Improv on Sunday April 22nd. Tix here: https://sanjose.improv.com/comedian/tw-eventinfo/Jason+Mewes/8220465/

 

Jay: This is Jay Mewes calling in.

DNA: Thanks Jay. I really appreciate you calling in.

Jay: I really apologize for calling late. Me and Kevin drove late last night from Salem to Eugene. We didn’t get to sleep until 3 in the morning. So I just woke up.

DNA: You’ve done 10,000 interviews in your career. Is it a grind to do interviews?

Jay: I don’t mind. It’s the scheduling that messes me up. I’ll forget sometimes. If I’m home I’m up early with my kids. But when I’m on the road my wife or her sister or whomever is booking the interview assumes I’ll be up at 10. It is what it is, I don’t mind them.

DNA: You’re playing a comedy club, this is a comedy website, so here’s a comedy question. Growing up in New Jersey as a kid did you have any comedians that you liked? Did you listen to Cheech and Chong records?

Jay: Of course, I loved Cheech and Chong. When I was a kid, Jim Carrey was huge and I would see all his movies. People have asked me who my biggest influence was growing up, and it sounds cheesy, it really does, but I always say Kevin. When we met he was four years older than me. I was 13 he like 17. He was super appealing to me, he was super into movies and writing. Me and my friends would hang out and build forts and goofy things where Kevin would be going to movies and comic book stores. He would always be talking about actors and writers and directors. I gravitated toward him as a kid. We weren’t friends but I would always hang out near him.

DNA: Duos in comedy are pretty rare. Your character Jay spoke to me and every other kid in New Jersey. Were you surprised it had national success?

Jay: So many people have said they have friends like the characters in the movie. Or, “I always wanted to speak my mind like the Jay character, but I don’t.” He was a guy people looked up to and wanted to be like.

DNA: One thing I think is crazy about the world you and Kevin and everyone created is that when I stop in Secret Stash in Red Bank it’s like walking into a Kevin Smith movie. Walter and Bryan are there working. Just another day on the job, selling comic books.

Jay: It’s even cool for me. I always tell people they have to check out the store, not only do you have props from the movie, you have Walter, Bryan, Ming and Mike working there sometimes. It’s so amazing. That show happened because they asked Kevin, “Hey man, we want to do a show like Talking Dead.” Kevin told them there’s Pawnstars, but there’s no show about comic book stores, why don’t you do something about that. They said we need to find a comic book store and some characters. Kevin said they could use his store to shoot the sizzle roll for the pilot and you won’t have to spend any money. Use whose working there until you find the characters you want. After the sizzle roll with Walter, Bryan, Ming and Mike they decided they didn’t need to find anyone. Like I said I was younger when I met Walter, Bryan and Kevin. And I would see them interact and bust each other’s chops it was always funny.

DNA: You filmed a movie in Santa Cruz called The Tripper.

Jay: I forgot about that. I’m so glad you said that. You just put that together for me. I got my big arm piece in Santa Cruz. Right after the movie I met somebody on set that said they were a tattoo artist and they said if I came by they would hook up some ink for me. That was a lot of fun. David Arquette wrote and directed it.

DNA: I went to the premiere and asked Arquette where Jason Mewes was and he got really defensive and wanted to know if I was your friend.

Jay: Wait, what happened?

DNA: They premiered it at the Del Mar here in town. Afterwards there was a party at the museum with Paul Reubens and Arquette was wearing a white cowboy suit. I asked him where you were and he got real protective, like, “Why? Do you know him?”

Jay: That’s hilarious. I don’t know why he would do that. Maybe he assumed I didn’t go because I was sober and I didn’t want to be around the booze, or something. Going to bars or parties bothers me in the sense that people when they get super drunk are hard to hang out with. It’s not that I’m tempted to drink, but its hard to have a conversation with somebody that is real close to your face and spitting on you. You know what I mean? When I used to drink, I was that guy. But if you’re both drunk spitting on each other, you don’t care. I’m trying to remember. When we shot that movie I wasn’t with my wife. Oh my gosh, that was a long time ago. Jesus.

DNA: You have quite a career, but I think one of the hardest things to do is stand onstage and talk to people for 90 minutes and be entertaining. Do you have a ritual before a show?

Jay: When I do my solo shows I like to walk around. I always try to have a few hours to walk out and about before a show. I like to explore the neighborhoods. My show is different than a stand-up comedy show. I can’t do stand-up with joke after joke. My show is me telling longer funny stories in the first 15/20 minutes. Then I open it up for a Q & A. Again, it’s not a boring Q & A. Mainly I want to explore the area I’m performing in so I open up and relate to the audience. I was in Santa Cruz and went into the bathroom at Whole Foods and this dude had his pants around his ankles and he was playing with his penis.

DNA: Was it Louis CK? (laughter) I don’t want to take up more of your time, but I do want to say my brother was the funniest guy I knew, but I lost him to addiction. So when I see you and Kevin on the road talking about your struggle it means a lot to me.

Jay: Awesome brother. Thank you and hope to meet you soon.

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Interviews
04/19/2018

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