In 1995 I was eyeballs-deep in Clerks and Mallrats, pointing out autonomous units for mid-mall snacking and telling everybody I had to play hockey at two, and if you told me that at age 35 I’d be sitting on the side of the road talking to Jay on the phone just before I did the school dropoff, I’d have raised an eyebrow and thought for sure I could come up with a cooler way of chatting to the great Commander himself.
But hey, we’re responsible adults now and we take our kicks where we can get ’em, amirite?!
To this day though, every time I see Dante fall out of his closet to answer a ringing phone in the opening scenes of Clerks, I always wish I was 15 again… what a time to be alive.
So it was with this cache of movie memories and the excitement of that long-ago 90s kid I found myself dialling Jason Mewes’s number to talk with him about his new movie Bling, Kevin Smith’s parenting advice, and what it’s like being a dad.
Regrettably, I did not shout “snootchie bootchies” at him as we hung up. Fifteen-year-old me would be disappointed.
Jason voices the character of Kit, a robot monkey (would you expect anything less?!) who helps the main character Sam retrieve an engagement ring he’s created, which has been accidentally swapped with an evil ring that has the power to destroy their city. Sam wants to propose to his childhood sweetheart Sue, and has been planning the night for his whole life – he’s not about to let supervillain Oscar stand in his way.
While Jason’s proposal to wife Jordan didn’t quite go to plan either (they’ve been married 7 years this year), he did mention that he’d spent a fair bit of time thinking about it and wanting to do it right – though maybe not quite to the lengths Sam goes to!
“At the time, I just wound up doing it,” he said, “but I had those thoughts where I wanted to wait until I had a really nice ring, but I wasn’t in the best of shape at that time, and for some reason I just decided to do it. I did it with no ring or anything, but I was worried about it.”
Last year, he and Jordan had a baby girl, Logan Lee – the absolute apple of her dad’s eye. In fact our interview is interrupted by a call from a company Jason had been trying to get hold of to come and babyproof his house now that little Logan is on the move. “She’s at that age now where she can get to the toilet seat,” he says. I nod knowingly. I’ve been there.
He also mentioned he bought some new furniture that he wants to now have tethered to the walls, which is just about the cutest thing ever. My babyproofing the house extended to removing the coffee table with its sharp-ass corners and calling it a day.
I asked if he ever gets parenting advice from hetero lifemate and long-time collaborator Kevin Smith, who has a 16-year-old daughter Harley Quinn with his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach. Kevin’s had a bit more practice and wondered if he ever made with some tips in the last year – but Jason said he doesn’t need to (just yet anyway):
“He hasn’t specifically said anything, but I do feel like I’ve learned something from him by the way his daughter has grown up,” he said.
“His daughter is really good, I remember when she was 12 or 13 she would literally come and ask him if she could watch a music video. Like, she could have just watched it on her phone or her computer but she would actually come and ask for his permission.
“She’s been at parties where there’s been drinking and stuff going on and she’s called him and been like “hey, I don’t want to be here any more, there’s kids here drinking and smoking weed’, so he’s not too over-protective, but they’ve got a really good relationship and she’s always honest with him.
“When I was growing up, if I was at a party where kids were doing coke and stuff, I’m not gonna say anything cos my grandma’s never gonna let me go out again, so seeing how she [Harley] with him is nice, it was interesting seeing how she grew up.
“I feel like if I’m honest and up front [with Logan] about things, she’ll be comfortable calling me whenever she needs something.”
They are gonna have a lot to talk about…
And while having little Logan around means life is different now, being a dad hasn’t really changed how Jason works – but he does travel less and tries to balance work with parenting, just like the rest of us.
“For example, Kevin is up in Vancouver right now directing an episode of The Flash,” he said. “And it’s one of my favourite TV shows, and usually I would go out the whole time he’s filming and support him and hang out and check out the sets and do fun stuff, but I’ll only go out for a little while.
“I won’t stop travelling and I won’t stop working, but it used to be if I had to go to Australia to work for two days, I’d go out five days early to deal with the jet lag and then I’d stay later to sightsee and go to the beach and stuff, but I can’t now because of the baby.”
I couldn’t have a conversation with Jason Mewes without finding out which of the Kevin Smith movies is his favourite, and his answer is the same as many: Mallrats.
(If pressed, I’m going to go with Clerks, though Mallrats would be just a whisker behind.)
“Mallrats is my favourite,” he said. “Not only the movie itself, you know, all the comic book talk with Brodie and stuff, but to me shooting that movie I’ll never forget because it was our first studio movie and it was so surreal to me.
“With Clerks it was a bunch of friends filming, and when it was over I went back to work at my normal job roofing. Then [Mallrats] got bought and Kevin got a deal with Miramax and suddenly we were working with Stan Lee, there were people tying my shoes, we were staying in a hotel in different state, we had different costumes and stunt people and even an ape at the end of the movie!”
You can’t be too mad when your laces are tied and primates are your friends, I guess.
We also briefly chatted Kevin’s favourite Clerks II, whereby Jason broke my heart telling me that Clerks III has been put on hold, again, to better fit in with Jeff Anderson’s shooting schedule. Now Randal is my favourite character in any of Kevin Smith’s movies, and I want it A. to be completed yesterday, and B. to have Randal in it. Let’s all cross our fingers and put out the good vibe, yeah? Great, thanks.
Being a repeat failure in the area of hair, I had to ask Jason about his completely fantastic man bun and what were his secrets to a great top knot, please?
- hang upside down
- brush it upside down
- put some twists and turns in it
And there you have it. That’s some real shit right there. Although he does say he struggles these days with “terrible flyaways” (don’t we all), and that in the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back era it would stay up all day, but now his hair is healthier and fuller he’s got to keep re-doing it every couple of hours.
I and the rest of your topknot fans are grateful for your dedication to your craft, sir.
If you want to catch Bling the movie, it’s available to own for free on Google Play until April 10, 2016, before its release in theatres, and is also part of Google Play’s family-friendly discovery experience that is designed to help parents find apps, games, movies & TV shows and books that are appropriate for their kids.
You can view the trailer here.
Hooray for the internet!