“The only way to fight destruction is with creation” – Kevin Smith
People of the UK, you are in for a treat. That’s because the great Kevin Smith is coming our way for a mini tour of his smash hit podcast Hollywood Babble-on with Ralph Garman.
Ahead of those dates, we chatted with Kevin about how he saved his own life, the sweet taste of honey and the importance of creativity.
WE NEARLY LOST YOU, MY FRIEND…
It’s true! It was a year and change ago. I had a massive heart attack. They have a cool name for it: The Widow Maker. That’s because 80% of the people who have it don’t come back – they die. Adult males in their 40s are all susceptible to it. The doctor said to me, “We need to put a stent in your heart. Do you know what one is?” I said, “Yes, my mum has a stent.” He said, “Is there a history of heart problems in your family?” I said, “Well, my dad also died of a massive heart attack at 57.” And he goes, “We’ve got to go fast!”
Well, because of that and my age, and I didn’t live healthily ever. Clerks took off when I was 23 and I thought I was the smartest guy in the room. “I’ll have cake every day if I like!” All of that collided to nearly put me in the grave. Luckily, I was close to the best hospital for cardiac stuff. Doctors are quick to tell me: you don’t know how lucky you are! I’m like, no, I get it.
SO WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN SINCE? YOU LOOK LIKE A DIFFERENT HUMAN!
It’s true! I went vegan. I had 100% blockage in my LAD; that’s the big artery that carries most of the blood. And 100% blockage means it’s just packed with cholesterol.
At that point I was, like, I’ve got to do something drastic. My kid had been vegan for three years at that point. She said, “Go plant-based, man. That’s the way to go.” So I jumped in. That was a year and change ago and I’ve been vegan ever since. And not the vegan that’s in your face going, “You ought to quit meat too!” This is for me. And if you look at the physical results, you can clearly see there are physical health benefits to being vegan. I am thinner than I’ve ever been in my adult life. Some people get so triggered and can be like, “F*ck you! I’m going to eat three times as much meat!” And I’m like, woah. I went vegan. It worked out for me. You don’t have to. If you like meat, keep eating meat. But if you’re worried about health or would like to drop pounds? And you don’t have to try! I didn’t do any hard work. Going
vegan just drops those pounds off.
IS IT NOT A MYTH THAT VEGANS PREACH?
There must be some vegans out there who get into people’s grill. People come at it from all angles. I went vegan because I didn’t want to die. And I hate vegetables! But I had no choice. I never try to tell people – I just tell them what I did. I don’t campaign. I’m old enough to know that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar… And that’s a whole other issue as to whether honey is vegan or not! We won’t even touch it! My kid is like, “You’re stealing from bees!” And I’m like, “Come on, man. We’re not killing ‘em. You gotta draw a line.”
PLEASE. GIVE ME THE HONEY. COME ON.
Yeah! I need the honey! For heaven’s sake! I can’t do agave all the time!
YOU MAKE A LOT OF PEOPLE HAPPY – HOW’S THAT FEEL?
It’s wonderful and it was never the aim when it all began. When I started this journey, I was an “artist” and fancied myself as a writer. Look at interviews from Clerks to Zak & Miri. So serious. Like how a 20-something treats the arts. But I’m glad – that’s why people like them. And then you get older and realise you’re a storyteller. Everybody loves stories since we gathered around fires. It’s the cheapest form of entertainment in the world. So now it’s not just film. It’s podcasts and standing on a stage talking. I do it because I like seeing people happy. You want to be the guy who people turn to when [what’s on] the news is bad… The only way to fight destruction is with creation.
THERE’S A LINE WE BOTH LOVE FROM DARK KNIGHT RISES: “A HERO CAN BE ANYONE. EVEN A MAN DOING SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AND REASSURING AS PUTTING A COAT AROUND A YOUNG BOY’S SHOULDERS TO LET HIM KNOW THAT THE WORLD HADN’T ENDED”. YOU ARE JIM GORDON TO SO MANY PEOPLE, BY BRINGING SO MANY PEOPLE TOGETHER.
You’re going to make me cry. I can feel it. I’m not even stoned and I can feel it. It’s bringing out the tear ducts. It feels wonderful, man. We just want to be a part of something. Fundamentally, we all want to belong. Because of film, I’m a part of something. I got to be a part of a world – it felt like school just kept going on. It’s nice to be a part of that. It’s a warm feeling. When they put the Mallrats; shout-out in Captain Marvel. That’s the second best thing they could have done! No1? Put me in the movie. No2? Referencing me in that world? That’s what I crave more than making those movies. To be a part of that world touched me so much… I love the feeling of coming home when my wife says, “Where have you been? You only went to the store.” And I say, “I got stopped by a guy who wants to make a movie. And then I got stopped by two ladies who made a flick and asked if I’d do a voiceover. And then…” And my wife says, “You’re like the f*cking mayor of Hollywood.” And I’m like, “I’ll take that!”
AND NOW BRITISH AUDIENCES CAN SEE YOU LIVE!
Oh, those shows! That’s where we give them the funnies. Thank god I’ve got a funny guy with me: Ralph Garman. We’ve been doing those shows for 10 years.
It’s so nice to have longevity on anything. Except for maybe prison time. Although that would be good too as you’d probably be close to getting out. It is nice to look back and think, “We’ve been doing this for some time.” And the stuff we talk about is the same sh*t everyone talks about. We did it in England years ago. So it’s a nice outlet where I get to be a fan. In my day job, I have to make things. But on Hollywood Babble-On, I get to be a guy who watches stuff. Periodically I can speak as a guy who’s made movies. But generally, it’s about the watching.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE JAY & SILENT BOB REBOOT?
It’s so different to anything I’ve ever made before. It starts off like Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, and then becomes a warm and funny sequel to almost every movie in the View Askew Universe. Everyone comes back and it works. It’s organic and in service of the story. It’s Jay & Silent Bob, but it’s Jay’s story.