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by Jesse Szymanski
 
“Does this place have a cold season?” he asked wiping his brow.

“ This is the cold season,” someone replied.

“ I don’t really like going to the beach,” Smith admitted. “I’m the fat kid who wears the T-shirt in the pool.”

Smith is just as funny off camera as he is on, or in the director’s chair. Half of his responses on Oct. 26 were too hysterically vulgar to print in a wholesome school paper.

When asked if we would see the likes of his staple characters, Jay and Silent Bob, again Smith replied, “In terms of an action film, Clerks II is where we’ll leave them. The notion of Silent Bob and Jay at 40 is more sad then whimsical. I would have to have them move off the wall. I would like to check in with Dante and Randle maybe in 10 years.”

Jay and Silent Bob, Generation X’s Laurel and Hardy, have appeared in most of Smith’s films, providing the kind of humor he has become famous for.

The Hawai‘i International Film Festival gave Smith the Maverick Award this year for Excellence in Independent Films, honoring a trend that began in 1994 with his break through indie film, Clerks.
“ I think part of the charm [of Clerks] is that it looked so atrocious, people felt sorry [for me] and watched it,” Smith said of a film that many feel gave a voice to a generation as well as put New Jersey on the map, since he uses it as a backdrop for all of his films.

Smith owns two comic book shops, one in Los Angeles, where he lives, and one in New Jersey. A comic book enthusiast at heart, Smith parted with his whole collection back in ‘94 to raise money to film Clerks, a movie that cost only $27,000 to make.

“ I was supposed to direct Green Hornet,” he said. “I’m all for seeing any comic book movie, good or bad.

“ One of my good friends was in DareDevil and anytime he talks smack I tell him, ‘well at least I wasn’t in DareDevil.’”

Smith added: “Sin City is an example of a (comic book) movie that the creator was involved in, and it worked.”

When asked if he would direct a comic book action film, Smith said: “I can’t write or direct like that.

What I do looks real simple and flat, like a chipmunk could direct.”

Smith seminar gained notoriety locally for its humorous Q&A on the ins and outs of the movie industry and other fan-geared trivia pertaining to his life. He had the audience at the Hawai‘i Theatre, many of them college students, in hysterics for much of the four-hour talk about everything and anything people wanted to know about him, his work, and the film industry. Most of his dialogue was foul in the same way his films are. The audience loved it, though, as lines formed at each microphone for the Q&A.

“ This is my fourth time in Hawai‘i,” Smith said at one point. “The first time I was 12 and spent most of my time in the gift shop of the hotel trying to look at Playboy. Honestly though, this is paradise, and I really enjoy coming here with my family,” he added.

From a clerk in a convenience store in New Jersey to a director for Miramax Productions, Smith believes he has remained himself through it all. “I was always the fat kid with bad self-esteem, so when I became famous it was never my intent to do drugs, show off, or get back at people who made fun of me.”

His family and friends have played a large roll in his rise to fame, he said, adding that he is thankful for them. “There’s that old saying, ‘how can you go back to the farm after seeing Paris?’ Well I have seen Paris, and I like the farm much more.”

Kevin Smith brings humor to his life experiences during “An Evening with Kevin Smith.”

Photo by Christina Failma

 

 

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