Before Taping Jay & Silent Bob Get Old at The Texas Theatre, We Chat With Jason Mewes.
For more than 20 years at this point, Jason Mewes has been a fixture in popular culture, serving alongside his pal Kevin Smith as the more-vocal half of the revered comic twosome, Jay and Silent Bob.
They're fixtures of Smith's most-revered cult classic comedies. And, together, Jay and Silent Bob have seemingly done it all — from teaching Ben Affleck the true meaning of love in Chasing Amy to saving the world from annihilation in Dogma.
These days, however, Mewes and Smith have been earning accolades — and rightly so — for their off-screen efforts. Together, they host the Jay & Silent Bob Get Old podcast — an effort, the two readily admit, that was initially launched in order to help keep Mewes on the straight and narrow. It's worked, too: Almost five years after the podcast's launch, Mewes, a recovering drug addict, remains sober.
The idea is to keep Mewes accountable for his actions. And he's definitely that: On the podcast, Mewes is massively forthcoming about his often-dark past. And considering how his best-known character is one so closely associated with drug culture, that's a particularly engaging to hear.
Also interesting the unique perspective that sobriety has helped Mewes gain toward the perhaps unlikely rise that he and his friends have gone through together. That's why we were stoked to be able to catch up with him today, in advance of his appearance at the Texas Theatre this weekend where, following a solo “An Evening With…” engagement from Smith, Mewes and his old pal will host a separate live recording of their podcast. (Tickets to Smith's own performance are sold out, but a few tickets to the podcast recording still remain, available right here.)
Below, we discuss everything from paranoia and Mallrats 2 to air sex and Mewes' newest role as a burgeoning vape juice magnate. Check it out.
You're at home in Los Angeles right now, correct?
Yeah. We get in Friday morning, I believe. I usually leave a day before. Kevin likes to leave, like, hours before. He gets there, like, an hour before the show and he's OK with that. I like to get there early and settle in, sort of. Even if it's a short trip. I just get stressed flying in and all that. And, like, on the way there, if we get a flat tire or whatever. But it works for him. He seems to make it every time, somehow.
We talk to touring bands all the time. But this is kind of a new thing for you, just these last couple years of going all around the country like this.
It's gotten a little bit easier, but it's been tough. I don't like flying. I don't like the anxiety of going to the airport. There are some cities we go to and you have to do a layover. I don't remember what show it was, but a few shows ago, we were delayed over an hour and when we got to the next city, there was a storm and there were no flights out until the next day. So we were stuck there. So, yeah, stuff like that gives me anxiety. But we've gotten better at it a little bit. But, also, just to be honest, we just had a baby, me and my wife, a little girl, almost five months ago. So, on top of the anxiety, now it's like, I don't wanna have to be away from the baby a whole other day.
Congratulations on fatherhood, by the way. It's been cool hearing you talk about that on the podcast and how it's changed you some.
Thank you! It's funny, I don't know if it's changed me, but I used to play at least two hours a day of video games, and I collected statues and comics and things like that. But now it's all, “Well, I could spend this $500 on some new iPad, but let's spend it on the baby instead.” It's changed me in that way. And I definitely have more anxiety for everything. Now, with the baby, I'm so terrified about everything. We just went to New York with the baby and she had a scratchy throat and I was so worried that it was bronchitis, so we rushed her to the hospital and the doctor just said it was the change in the weather, like the humidity and stuff. Now, I'm such a worrywart.
It's a whole new kind of paranoid, maybe.
Yeah! Honestly, I watch too much TV and you see too many scary things that happen to people and it just terrifies me, all of it. I'm nervous about everything. But it's been great. The baby's got me crying a lot. Every new little laugh or her first smiles or her first this and that, I cry over everything.
It's been pretty remarkable to hear how forthcoming you are on the podcast not just about this new fatherhood stuff, but with your addiction demons, as well. I know that talking about that sort of thing was a big impetus behind starting the Get Old podcast to begin with. And now it's been five years, I think?
Just about. It's been a little less than five years because I've been about five years and two months sober and we started when I was about four or five months sober, I would say. We're definitely coming up on five years — like a month away or two months, at most. We've been doing it for a while. And that's crazy because, when we started, I had no idea that we'd be doing it for so long. I knew I wanted to do a podcast, and Kevin said, “Why don't you talk about this and become accountable to people?” So, even when we started it, I thought we'd get to, like, 100 episodes? In the first episodes, it was a lot of Kevin's perspective. From there, it became me telling stories — and I thought I'd only be able to tell so many and then it'd be done. I had no idea that it would last five years. Honestly, I'm just grateful and feel very stoked that so many people listen and dig it. I had no idea people would want to listen or that they'd be entertained by it. And, not to mention, I've heard awesome things from people over the years, like, “Hey, I had my brother start listen to your podcast. He was struggling staying sober and now he's got eight months sober and he listens to you every day and it inspires him to stay sober.”
Yeah. I had no idea that would happen, and that's just been fantastic.
It seems like so much of your career has been things that you maybe didn't expect to pan out somehow actually panning out. Like, I know your first film was Clerks and that Mallrats was kinda of the first, I suppose, more-professional movie that you ever did. Now, 20 years later, you guys are still big from all that, and I've heard you say a number of times that you had no idea what to expect back then.
It's totally bizarre. if you notice, on the poster for Clerks, they didn't even put me on it. Kevin's on it, but just as the director. People didn't even mention Jay and Bob. It wasn't until after Mallrats came out on the big screen and then on DVD that people started noticing us and that a couple of magazines talked about us. And then we did Chasing Amy and even more people started talking about Jay and Bob. Even after we did Clerks and Mallrats, I never really expected to be able to continue with those characters. After that, I did my third movie, Drawing Flies, and that's when I realized, “OK, maybe this is something I could do.” And that's when I quit my job roofing.
Would you still be roofing if not for acting?
Y'know, Kevin and I were driving home from the airport two days ago and we were talking about just that. Like, “I wonder what would've happened if we didn't do Clerks.” It sounds weird, but I would hope I'd at least still be roofing. I think I would be. I mean, who knows with the drugs and stuff? It was definitely a blessing to have him help me with that and with money a few times, and Ben [Affleck] helped me one time too, and I just feel like, who knows what would've happened if I was home in Jersey without their support? But, I feel like, on the track I was on 20 years ago… I remember that the foreman that I worked for was making $20 an hour and I thought, “Wow, oh my goodness, who makes $20 an hour? That's crazy money!” So my goal was to eventually become a foreman of my own crew and make $20 an hour and just move up and buy some trucks and make some contacts. That was my goal. If I didn't get all strung out and get worse, I'd hope I would be roofing and maybe own my own company by now.
I've heard Kevin mention a bunch of times before that the character of Jay is specifically modeled after the teenage version of you that he first met. What's it like to, all these years later, be famous for the 15-year-old version of yourself?
It's totally weird! It's definitely flattering that people like the characters and my character — especially when that's how I was at 15. It's cool when people say, “My friend's like that!” or “My cousin is just like that!” So it's cool. And it's weird. Like, I still get to do this and get paid. It's still, to me, to this day, all very surreal.
And now you're diversifying your interests. I saw that you've launched your own vape juice company, for instance.
I guess it's not a huge surprise that Jay's into vaping…
[Laughs.] No, not at all! But it's bigger than I ever expected. When I started talking to the guys about vaping and making Mewes Juice, it was more about me being able to come up with my own flavors — just because, y'know, I like watermelon, but there's 50 different watermelon flavors out there and you try to find the same brand again, but you just can't. So why not make the perfect watermelon that I like? It was more about that in the beginning. but now I've been to some vape conventions and it's crazy. As I learn more about vaping, it's crazy. Like, if you go to vape conventions, they're like comic conventions. There are people who blow smoke and tour the world on just that.
Yeah, there was a major vape cloud competition like that here in town not to long ago, in fact.
Yeah, it's crazy! And I've only gotten more into it because I've met a lot of cool people in the vape community. It's this whole new thing. And it helped me stop smoking, too. Now I'm trying all these flavors and mods and atomizers and it's this whole new hobby. It's been really cool, honestly. And I'm hoping that if things go well with the five flavors we have now, maybe we can come out with some new ones. I don't want to come out with too many, but maybe like five new flavors. It's been a new adventure. I love acting and stuff, but I'd like to start directing, too. And just more new ventures, like the podcasting, the touring and stuff like this. I like spinning all these plates.
Your old co-star Jason Lee actually moved to the area not too long ago, and he's been getting into other stuff, too. Like, he just opened a new restaurant up in Denton. I don't know if you knew that.
I didn't know that, actually! That's cool. Y'know, we're hoping all goes as planned. Like, y'know, Kevin wrote Mallrats 2 and I know he's asked Lee if he would be into doing a second one, and he said yeah, but that he wouldn't be available until October. Honestly, I haven't spoken to him in a while, though.
Maybe you guys can roll up on his house or something when you get to town?
Totally! I would love to go there and knock on his door. He'd be like, “What the… ?” That's cool, though. I think he's such a funny and great actor. It's cool that he's keeping busy. A restaurant sounds fun, but, like I said, I watch way too much TV and I feel like, if you want any of those TV shows, you just always hear how risky they are!
So I guess you won't be taking Mewes Juice to Shark Tank?
Man, that would be awesome! No, right now, it's just getting it out there. We're doing pretty well. I've been handing out fliers at all these comic conventions. People have been digging it. It's one of those things where people are real snooty, though. They know so much about all these mods and things. In the beginning, there was actually some kickback about this junkie making juice or whatever. But, and I know that some people might be blowing smoke up my butt, but the feedback we're getting it really good. So far, so good.
OK, to get back to the show here in town. For people who maybe aren't hyper-familiar with the podcast, is there a way you describe what they'll be seeing?
Y'know, I feel like, when you explain it, it doesn't sound funny. It's Kevin and me talking about how long we've known each other and we get to share some cool behind-the-scenes stuff. And then there's this thing we do at the end where there's some cool crowd participation stuff. We have three people come up at the end of each one and we play a game called “Let Us Fuck.”
Yeah, the air-sex game.
Yeah. It's a fun game and people seem to dig it. But if you haven't heard or watched it, it doesn't make much sense. But the show's definitely a mix of everything — fun stories, sex stories and just all that. It's hard to describe, but it's very fun and entertaining. It's been a blessing.
Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith will host a live taping of Jay & Silent Bob Get Old this Friday, August 28, at the Texas Theatre. For more information, head here.