20 years ago we met Jay. Today, the lovable Jason Mewes turns 40. He and his good friend Kevin Smith will be celebrating the big day at the Comedy Store in Hollywood rehashing old birthday stories on their hit podcast, Jay and Silent Bob Turn Old. Mewes and Smith have been friends for 25 years. Since the podcast’s launch in 2010, they’ve created 144 episodes. The two talk about random stories in their lives over the years and Mewes also uses the podcast to stay accountable for his sobriety, as he always tells his listeners how many days he’s been sober. Mewes recently sat down with the LAist to talk about his career and life.
“Noise, noise, noise, smokin’ weed, smokin’ weed, doin’ coke, drinkin’ beers. Pack o’ wraps, my good man, it’s time to kick back, drink some beers and smoke some weed.”
On being cast in Clerks
[Kevin] had mentioned it to me. I knew he liked to write and stuff, but it really wasn’t something like here when I have buddies in California that are like, “Hey I’m writing a script.” I believe they’re writing a script and I understand what they’re trying to do.
Then, I was roofing when I graduated high school, Kevin was working at the Quick Stop and he’s like, “I’m writing a script and I’m writing a character for you,” and I was like, “Yeah, okay cool.” And even when he was done and he’s like, “I want you to be in the script. We’re going to shoot and I used my own my money…” I just thought, “Oh yeah, so like 10 of us are going to get one of those big VHS shoulder cameras that families used to use to videotape Christmases and stuff and we were just going to shoot some fun stuff.”
It wasn’t until I went to New York with him and he rented a camera and started getting all this equipment and we actually started shooting when I was like, “Wow, you were serious—you want to make this.” But even after that, we shot it and I didn’t know the process. I didn’t know he could bring it to a film festival and hope that people could see it and they could buy it and it could be on a big screen at some point…
And I went back to roofing and it wasn’t until Mallrats where I was like, “Wow, this is something that maybe I could do.”
Clerks: Mostle improvised or scripted?
“I don’t care if she’s my cousin or not, I’m gonna knock those boots again tonight.”
Clerks was scripted. As the movies went on, I started to get more comfortable and starting doing more ad-libbing. I was super nervous. When we did Clerks I used to make everyone go inside — we talked about that on the podcast, actually. When we started shooting, I didn’t realize how nervous I would be. Because when he wrote that script and wrote that character, it was exactly how I might have come off when I was 13 or 14, and that’s exactly how I acted all the way up until I was 17 or so. I’d yell obscenities, I’d pull my business out and I would dance and do really obnoxious stuff. That was exactly how I was. Even though I acted that way, I don’t know why when I got in front of a camera and it was like “Action, we’re ready to go,” I couldn’t do it. I would get really nervous and would be like, “Can everyone go inside that doesn’t need to be here?”…
If you see Mewes on the street, don’t make him your monkey!
People will just come up and be like, “Hey, you’re that guy and I love your stuff” and all that. And they stand there sort of quiet and I think they expect me to do a little dance. Some people will just come straight up and say, “Hey, can you say ‘snootchie bootchies’” and stuff like that. I think people either ask me to say something or they’re waiting for me to do something and I’m not [acting] obnoxious. When I meet someone for the first time I’m not pulling my stuff out or doing a dance for them and I think they think I’m going to.
Mewes and Smith’s friendship and their podcast have made a huge impact on his own life – getting sober and for many of his fans too.
Kevin and I have known each other forever and we’ve always been close, we’ve always hung out. It’s also been a sort of an older brother type of relationship where I’m doing something, messing up, or whatever, maybe not trusting me with business stuff because I’ve always been sort of goofy and silly and not very responsible. But I feel like over the past four years, we’ve spent so much time together and I’ve shared so much stuff, so now we’re actually best friends and partners in a company and our business and touring business. It hasn’t just helped him and I but it’s also helped me by sharing all the different stuff with the drugs, the struggles with the drugs and going back and forth. [It's] getting things out and not holding it in and being accountable to all the people who listen to the podcast.
I’ll go to Starbucks and someone will be like, “How many days have you been clean?” One out of every ten shows, someone will come up and tell me [something like], “I have a brother who struggled with drugs and got out of rehab and struggled and the podcast has helped him stay sober.”
It’s just surreal and amazing. If it’s me just talking about all these stories and talking about how much I struggled…and to keep even one person sober, like, I don’t know, I didn’t expect that and that’s just amazing…
In the beginning first six months—the first year even — of us doing the podcast, I remember you just have dreams about drugs or drinking or whatever and I would wake up and be like, “Oh my gosh, we have a show this week. Now I have to tell everybody.” And I’m like, “Wait, that was just a dream.” And I’d wake up in a sweat.
Jay & Silent Bob Get Old: Jason Mewes’ 40th Birthday Show will be at the Comedy Store located at 8433 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood on June 12 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. More information can be found here.
Next up: Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. Jay and Silent Bob hit the lottery jackpot, and use their cash windfall to become crime-fighting superheroes. Read more about it here.
The guys hitch a ride with a van full of hot girls, and Jay gets a little too excited about hitting it off with one of them. In this scene: Chrissy (Ali Larter), Jay (Jason Mewes), Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Justice (Shannon Elizabeth)
Holden needs advice, and surprisingly, Silent Bob has a few words to say about chasing Amy. In this scene: Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), Jay (Jason Mewes)
Dante and Randal discuss which Star Wars film they think had the better ending, with a little help from a local roofer. In this scene: Randal (Jeff Anderson), Dante (Brian O'Halloran), Jay (Jason Mewes)
Happy Birthday Jay! Congrats on your sobriety! I hope you and Kevin continue to work together.
June 12, 2014 at 8:34 pm
Don't want to be "that guy" but the podcast is called, "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old."
June 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm
Happy 40th Birthday Jason! Your badass! Have fun!
June 12, 2014 at 8:23 pm
Happy frikkin' birthday dude!
June 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm
Happy Birthday you slut!!!
June 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm
Happy birthday Mewes
June 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm
It's so amazing to read and hear about your story Jay, really proud of you as a fan, and as my acting career develops, I hope to someday meet and work with you guys. You guys are my heroes because you prove that not all the cool actors are the ones that are just classically trained. Some of the coolest actors out there have of hardships, challenges that they've overcome and REAL LIFE experiences as fuel for their fire in their craft. You strike me as the latter, and it's that human element that I strive for with each project I take on. Thanks for reading, have a happy and I wish you many, many more!
June 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm
I just want to say i love u brother and so proud of u and have come so far. I give it to kevin for having him in your life i think hes been most of your encouragement besideds your wife jorden that has been there. Through thick and thin of your ups and downs so before i keep going all i can say is i love u and jorden desrly and u have been there for me also when i needed u and im gratfiul for all u have done in my life and ty. Well hope u do something nice for your birthday and stay well and i will talk to u soon. Xoxo love beth
June 12, 2014 at 11:06 pm
Happy Birthday Jay Mewes Thank you for the hilarity, honesty, and vulnerability. You are an inspiration and I will always think of you and Kevin Smith as two of the most amazing people on the Planet! Keep up the greatness, you are immortal you are one of a kind, and you are loved...
June 12, 2014 at 10:03 pm
Hey happy birthday Jay hope you had a great day congratulations on getting sober I know everyday is a struggle but as a fan I'm so proud of you for taking on that struggle and winning remember everyday you wake up sober is another victory so glad you have a true friend like Kevin Smith to support you all your fans support you to happy birthday dude schnoogins
June 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm
Jason, if I ever met you on the street the only thing I would ask is if I could have a picture and autograph? Is that too goofy?? :) I love you honey, always have! You are the snootchiest. Happy Birthday Bud. GEMINIS ROCK!
June 12, 2014 at 9:59 pm
Happy Birthday!! One thing my husband and I just love to watch together is anything with Jay and Silent Bob in it. And you were hysterical in Zack and Miri. Best Wishes!!
June 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm
Happy Birthday, Jason! Hope your day is the most awesome and that the year ahead brings only greater health, happiness and adventure!
June 12, 2014 at 10:18 pm
Happy F'N Birthday Bro....so do miss your ugly mug on the Big Screen!!!!! Peeeeeeeace!!!
June 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm
Happy birthday J. You and Kevin should come out to Salt Lake Comic Con this year or sometime in the future.
June 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thank you for sharing your talent with us! Such a huge fan! Eat lost of cake! :)
June 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm
wow my bday was yesterday, I didn't know yours was right after - Happy Birthday Jay!!
June 12, 2014 at 10:58 pm
Happy Birthday Jason !! Hope it rocks and is very memorable. Keep being you love ;)
June 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm
My friend Jay. He loves the cake. Birthday cake. Happy Birthday
June 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm
Happy birthday buddy!! You and my brother share the same day!!