Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob and writer and director of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, spoke last night here on Stanford campus. It was a packed house in Kresge Auditorium with seating for about 600.
Details and highlights follow.
On Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: "The last flick was, like, masturbation. It was funny, but watching me masturbate is funny, too."
On his vision of what people do in college: "...not go to class, do heroin, and have lots of same-gender sex."
On Jesus: "God sent his only begotten son, and he got killed? What chance do I have?"
He told us about various Catholic groups' attempts to suppress Dogma both before and after it was released. He read in a newspaper about a protest on the day of its public release, with 1500 people expected to attend. This made him curious, so he and his buddy Brian Johnson carefully made up a couple of signs with markers and posterboard and glitter—"To Hell with Dogma" and "Dogma is Dogshit"—and went to the protest themselves.
They showed up and it was 15 people, not 1500, with an average age of about 65. Only one of them had a sign, and it was just the back of a ripped-apart cereal box with "Dogma is Bad" written on it in plain black pen. They joined the line anyway.
A few minutes later, an old woman came down and told him that "Dogshit" was sacrilegious and they'd have to remove the "shit". Kevin didn't want to do this: "Then it'd say `Dogma is Dog'... I have great respect for religion, but I also have great respect for grammar." In the end he agreed to cut out half of the word: "Everyone would still know what `Dogma is Dogsh' meant."
After he and Brian had been there for a while protesting, a white van pulled up and this local TV journalist jumped out with a clipboard and a camera crew. She was clearly disappointed with the crowd, but then she looked at Kevin and at the clipboard and did a double take. "Are you him?"
Pointing to Brian: "No, that's him."
"You look a lot like him."
"Yeah. I get that a lot."
"Why are you protesting?"
Indicating the others: "They tell me it's bad."
"Are you familiar with the director's other films?"
"Yeah, Clerks, Chasing Amy are great. But when they start talking trash about my religion, that's too much."
"What's your name?"
Thinking quickly: "Brian Johnson."
"Can I see your driver's license?"
"I left it at home."
Finally the theater closed and the protesters left. The next night, he was watching TV, waiting for Saturday Night Live to come on, and suddenly there was "Brian Johnson" on-screen, being interviewed for his opinions on Dogma. The phone rang. It was his mom: "There's a fat one on TV who looks just like you." Kevin's final comment to was that he was done with religious flicks. In his words, "I've shot my wad."
Quoting a reviewer of Clerks, on why there's a hockey game in it: "No deep statement is being made. The director just likes hockey."
He mentioned an interview with a French film critic about one of his movies in Cannes. The critic began by staring at him for a long time as he got more and more nervous because of the French tendency to be very frank with their disgust for films. Finally, the critic said to him: "Do you think you are Artoo Detoo?"
Expressing his happiness when his buddy announced that his wife was pregnant: "That's good. It's almost as if I'd fucked him myself."
To a questioner seen to be reading her questions from a card and writing down the answers: "Why are you writing 'em down? You writing an article or just got shit for brains?"
On Jason Mewes: "He's like an infant with his dick: it's still fascinating."
"You guys gave up your Thursday night to listen to the guy who created the bong sabre."
On Morpheus et al.: "I'm not like the dude from Metallica: `How dare you steal my art!' What art?" ... "I used to do that shit myself," with bootleg audio and video tapes.
On his casting of God in Dogma: "Why Alanis Morissette? Because I always assumed God had to be Canadian. Why? Because God takes so much shit... and so do Canadians."
His exit line: "I'm going to go home and jerk off now. Good night."
I guess you had to be there. Anyway it was a lot of fun.