ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Kevin Smith on sex and Ben Affleck
By Shannon Proudfoot
Gazette file photo
JAY AND SILENT BOB CREATE SOME SORT OF MISCHIEF. Kevin Smith is well-renowned
for his series of movies that feature his silent self and his pot-smoking
TORONTO — About halfway through Kevin Smith’s marathon question-and-answer
session at Roy Thompson Hall, a chubby fan with greasy hair stepped up to an
audience microphone, and began, “From one fat nerd to another... ” Smith
paused a long moment before hollering, “Wait a minute — you think
I’m a fat nerd?!” — eliciting roars of laughter from the
So goes an evening with Smith, director of cult favourite films like Mallrats,
Chasing Amy and Dogma. Dubbed “Kevin Smith Speaks Out,” the event
was sponsored by Ryerson University’s Student Administrative Council,
and the normally sedate venue that houses the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was
packed with raucous students.
Smith strolled onstage — sporting a trench coat, baggy shorts and checkered
Vans running shoes — after an introduction by Pat Mastroianni and Stefan
Brogren, former stars of Degrassi Junior High.
The director recalled his obsession with the 1980s Canadian show; as soon
as his first independent film Clerks earned money, he immediately called Scholastic
and forced a confused receptionist to sell him the complete Degrassi video
series intended for loan to high schools.
Of course, Smith’s brilliant comedic storytelling is buoyed by the fact
that his friends include Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Lee and Jason Mewes,
who plays mouthy sidekick Jay to Smith’s onscreen alter-ego Silent Bob.
Smith defended his choice to cast Affleck and Lopez together in Jersey Girl — which
opens tomorrow — despite evidence (in the form of Gigli) that the pair
are akin to a war crime when onscreen together. He maintained that Affleck’s
love for Lopez at the time improved his performance, explaining, “He
didn’t have to act at all. And trust me, the less you need Affleck to
act, the better off you are.”
Not only was he candid about his friends’ romantic lives, but Smith
spoke about his own, too. He described his arousal while doing a Playboy shoot — featuring
his wife Jennifer scantily-clad in the arms of a mock Superman — for
the magazine’s 50th anniversary. And then he mentioned his wife’s
refusal to have sex in a supply closet on set.
Smith had the audience in hysterics with a story about being overcome with
emotion watching the trailer for Seabiscuit, when his wife walked in on him
sobbing. Imitating his wife, Smith gave a sad, disgusted shake of the head,
and muttered, “I can’t believe I let you stick your cock in me!”
Amazingly generous with his time, Smith spoke for almost four hours before
organizers forced him to stop answering questions so they could avoid paying
overtime for the venue. The Q-and-A format allowed the audience to direct the
evening, but became annoying when several aspiring young filmmakers took the
mic to shill for their projects or unique ability to understand Smith’s
The director deserves praise for being kind, if sarcastic, to everyone, but
much of the audience wished he would just tell the precocious ones to tone
it down a notch so we could hear more of his hilariously brilliant commentary.