Q&A: Jason Mewes of 'Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie'
The vocal half of Jay & Silent Bob talks about their feature-length cartoon, stuff that's too dirty to edit, and blaming Kevin Smith.
Jason Mewes (left), is far better known as Jay, the pothead loudmouth who likes to hang out at convenience stores with his laconic pal Silent Bob (writer-director Kevin Smith) in movies like Clerks, Clerks II, Dogma, and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. He's currently out on tour with Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, an animated spectacle featuring the crime-fighting exploits of J&SB's superhero alter-egos, Bluntman and Chronic, that's being shown locally at the Bagdad Theater this Thursday. Mewes and Smith, who wrote the script, are taking this extremely raunchy cartoon (No kids! Not now, not ever!) from town to town, where a screening is followed by a live podcast with the dubious duo. Mewes calls me a half hour before his interview time, "just walking around" somewhere in New Jersey with his noisy cellphone. We did the best we could with the transcription.
Culturephile: How's it going, Jason?
Jason Mewes: It's been awesome so far, man. It's really been exciting to hear the audience reaction. This week has been the first time we got the shit down and actually hear people's reactions… hear the laughter. I mean, we hope they laugh and all that good stuff.
Did it go about as good as you'd hoped? Better?
It's interesting because you get to see where people will laugh. Like where I thought people would definitely laugh, they might not necessarily laugh. In other places where I didn't think they would laugh, they are laughing. One of the first, big applause…claps…when people really applaud and clap was this bit where Kevin pops up and does sort of like a [inaudible] cartoon-like "Hey kids!" And he sort of gives a little tip. And again, I thought it was funny and I thought people would find it funny, but I didn't think they'd find it to be the first, funniest moment where they're clapping and going "YEAH!" It's interesting to see and it's been awesome and it's more exciting than I thought.
Considering this was sort of a low-budget effort, are you already looking forward to a series of cartoons, or at least a follow-up?
Definitely. I mean I definitely would love to. I mean, I feel like with a cartoon we can take it anywhere. I mean [inaudible] you can, yeah, do a sequel. But I feel like with this we can make the characters go to space or go to jail. Just really take it anywhere and I think that's cool. So I'm already, "Oh man, that'd be awesome if at the end, how it ends up at the end, it can lead anywhere really."
You're no longer governed by the laws of reality. You can go back in time…
Exactly, exactly. Into the future and past. And yeah, you can do that in movies as well, but if you want to go to the future and make it real futuristic, it's going to cost millions of dollars. And so, yeah, you got options. And the good thing as well is that the characters never age in cartoons. It takes another 2 years to do another cartoon and then we could do a third one, and in 7-8 years from now, we don't have to go "oh man, we can't really go in the past, we look too old now." So that's the beauty of it as well.
But no plans to crank 'em out Popeye-style, and have a whole catalog of cartoons?
I would love it… It really depends on Kevin because he has to sit and write them. So if he's willing to write one after another then I would love that. It's been such a great experience, just the process of me getting the director [Steve Stark] and talking with him [inaudible]… It's going to take some time, we don't have a lot of money, just asking people if they're willing to be part of the project. We've gotten a lot of people who've chipped in and we didn't really have any money to pay them and they [inaudible], so we got awesome people doing voiceovers. We got Tara Strong, who's been in a ton of cartoons, you know 50 different voices she does. And Ralph Garman who does a ton of them. Neil Gaiman…
Anything Neil Gaiman's involved with, like millions of people will go crazy for.
People were really psyched when he came up onscreen even if it's only the title. It's really awesome, you know? People are shocked too because in the cartoon he says some profanity and people were like, "how'd you get him to do that?" So it's been pretty amazing and again, I'm really blessed… I don't know this word, I can't spit the word out… grateful to everyone who was a part of this. They all chipped in, they all were willing to do it for no money and just be part of the project. And even the guy who did the opening title sequence, his name's Anthony, he did an amazing job which I know if someone had to pay for that for a studio, I would imagine it's a 10-20 thousand dollar title sequence, and the dude hooked us up because he wanted to be part of it. And the guy who the cut the stuff together, the sound mix and the score… Everyone chipped in and it's awesome and I'm very excited.
I saw the trailer and I can already see one problem you might have. How would you possibly show this on TV? Can you do a cleaned up version of it or would there just be no show?
Yeah, there'd be no show. Right off the bat there's a character that… Dickhead. The villain's name is Dickhead and he's a giant animated penis. And then you got Cock Knocker who has a big giant fist and punches people in the balls. So right off the bat, it's pretty tough, even if we cut down the dialogue—curses and stuff—so it's not going to be available to go up on WB or anything, but we'll see. Probably not for these characters. We did it for the Clerks animated but not for the Jay and Bob Super Groovy Movie, with Bluntman and Chronic… It just doesn't work. But we'll see, we want to tour with it up to the end of the year and go from there. Who knows, it'll go up on iTunes or somewhere with On Demand.
So we've got Jay and Silent Bob as their superhero alter-egos Bluntman and Chronic. Do you think it's an opportune time to be touring with this movie? It seems like the nation is becoming a lot more pro-pot now that it's legal in Colorado and Washington state… Is the Groovy Movie going to help pave the way for mass legalization?
You know, I'd hope so. I'm definitely all for it. So we shot the movie and we're going to bring along some entertainment—some Q&A and podcasting—and yes hopefully, we talk about it in the Q&A. To me, weed should be legalized because it definitely helps people and I know some people smoke it just to smoke it, but just to give you an example real quick, my mom and one of my best friends both were really sick, and have passed now, but they would smoke it and it was the only thing that could help them eat and keeping the weight on because they were so ill. So what I'm saying is that it has medicinal uses.
Do you think we'd be a lot mellower as a nation?
Oh yeah! That's not to say that everyone would smoke, but it'd cut down on that for sure. If people were able to do it and more people were doing it because it was easier to get, then yeah. People would be like "Yo man, why'd you cut me off? Alright, it's cool." Who knows? It's possible.
We're always talking about "What can we do to stop all this rampant violence in our society?" If it was completely legal, then maybe people would be like, "Ehh, I don't feel like being aggressive today."
Yeah. For sure. And it's getting crazy. It's very disturbing to me, it's shocking to me the stuff that goes on. But who knows why people do what they do? But I definitely think that smoking will mellow them out, who knows?
How many cities are you going to? What's the show like?
We're going to 17 cities and right now we've done three. This will be our fourth tonight. Then we do Boston tomorrow night and then West Virginia. Not only do people get to see an hour-long cartoon, we also have 20 minutes of opening cartoon sequence. You get the main cartoon of Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Movie…you get a little cartoon in the beginning, you get us doing a podcast, then we play a game called Let Us [inaudible] which is a lot of fun. We bring audience members—3 or 4—up and mess around. It's been a lot of fun. It's been good… to get people to get up and leave the house and see a movie… I feel like people do it less now, with the computer and the internet, all that, and Redbox, you barely have to leave your house to get movies.
Does this story take place after Clerks II when Jay and Silent Bob have put up the money for the Quik Stop?
It takes place in a different part of the universe. No, not during that era. It's all mixed up. Just a whole different time period.
Can you give me just a quick rundown of the movie itself? Jay and Silent Bob become Bluntman and Chronic and decide to start fighting crime. Is this a universe where there are actual super villains and superheroes and do they have super powers and such?
It's funny because… there's the joke of "there wasn't villains until there was heroes." All the villains and their superpowers are sort of happening right now because of Bluntman and Chronic, because they get to be heroes, and situations occurred, and then the villains appeared. And you see in the movie, each character explains real quick their origin, so you know it's sort of funny because… in comic books and stuff like that… there's mention of "would there be villains without heroes" and vice versa. So it's sort of a joke in there. So who knows, it could spread out again and so cartoon number 2 we could explore and find other villains and who knows if they're out in other cities besides [inaudible] New Jersey, and that's where we're fighting crime.
Right. Now I saw in the preview that some of the villains look like they're based on existing comic characters. Did you have to talk to Stan Lee (founder of Marvel Comics) and say "Hey, we're going to be…"
No, because again… they're similar but they're not exact… but again, I didn't write it so I didn't feel I had to ask Stan Lee. If Stan Lee got pissed off, they're blaming Kevin. I just went for it, even though I produced it and got it going. I just figured if any blame comes on anybody, I'll just point my finger at the guy who wrote it and the characters.
I hope at least you visit him in the slammer.
Yes exactly! I'll take a file and break him out or something. That could be the next one, too. That's what I'm saying, the animators and the cartoon can be put anywhere.
OK, I hope it works out. I appreciate you talking to me and good luck.
Thank you very much, man.