Teaching Jay How To Be Jay

09/28/2011 04:51 pm ET | Updated Nov 28, 2011
  • Kevin Smith That fat guy who got thrown off the plane

For years, Mewes would crack me up with his weird observations and impromptu comedic sketches. Even though the dude never did the high school plays or showed any interest in theater or acting, I'd constantly commend him with "Someone should put you in a movie, man."

One day, I decided that I'd be that someone, when I finally left Highlands for a brief stint at the Vancouver Film School. I was gone for only six months before dropping out and heading back home, where I discovered the once-straight-edge Mewes, in my absence, had become a weekend warrior: booze, weed, and chicks were the order of the day for him, as he racked up bed-post notches that left my own in the dust. He'd changed somewhat, with the addition of Blueberry Schnapps and dime-bags, but was still very much the same loveable nut-bar regardless: the kind of guy who, after knowing you for five minutes, would say things like "It's warm in here, isn't it?" and then pull his cock out.

It was that Jason Mewes who I'd co-opted for the Jay character in Clerks, the script I'd written shortly after dropping out of film school. The role was written to Mewes' strengths, so much so that his complete inexperience in acting wouldn't be a hindrance. The part was peppered with his colloquialisms and catchphrases, written to Jason's intonations and verbal patois. And yet, after reading the script, Mewes first words were "I don't know if I can do this, man."

I spent a month teaching Jay how to be Jay, during which time I accepted the fact that I'd never be able to pull off the role of Randal -- the part I'd written for myself -- and concentrated on finding something else for me to do in the flick, on camera. Since the part didn't require the memorization of any lines, I opted to slip into the role of Jay's quiet muscle, figuring Mewes and I would at least look visually interesting standing beside one another (him wiry and full of energy, me not). And together, dressed in costumes not at all unlike what we normally wore at the time, we became Jay and Silent Bob, the neighborhood drug dealers.