Jason Mewes is a comic book hero, a toy action figure and the stoner star of
the sacrilegious film comedy, Dogma.
A DAY WITH JAY
Kevin Smith wasn't sure what to think about Jason Mewes when he first met
him. Here was the hyperkinetic kid about five years younger than him, a
nonstop mouth who was beginning to hang with his crowd.
Smith was a senior for Chrissakes and pretty fuckin' funny in his own
right. But this Mewes kid was a live wire, a precocious, smart-mouthed
hipster barely out of the seventh grade who bopped through thier small New
Jersey town to his own weird internal rhythms. He even spoke his own language
- snooch to the nooch, nugga nooch, snoochie boochies - who was this kid?
Jason Mewes who, with Dogma, is now appearing in his fourth film directed
by the remarkable Kevin Smith, says, "I don't think he liked me much at
first. But one morning when Kevin was working at the local community center
early, I busted in first thing and started goin' nuts, actin' crazy, sucking
off everything in sight -- you know, like the flagpole and the walls and the
doors. I think that's when he started to think I was funny because we got to
be good friends after that. He even got me a job at the Quick Stop."
Thus marked the birth of Jay and Silent Bob. Who are Jay and Silent Bob?
Oh, you cultural illiterate!
In 1994, Kevin Smith made his directorial debut with the surprise
commercial hit, Clerks, winning awards at the Sundance Film Festival and at
Cannes. He went on to write and direct Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma. In
all four films, Mewes and Smith have played the same two characters. Mewes
plays the endearingly crude motormouth stoner/dealer Jay and Smith plays his
silent enforcer, Bob.
In the first three films, the duo performed in cameo roles but in Dogma,
Smith has made Jay and Bob pivotal characters who callaborate with Linda
Fiorentino to narrowly avert a nasty end to the universe. In this clever and
wickedly whimsical film, which boasts names like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck,
Selma Hayek, George Carlin, and Chris Rock, it is Jason Mewes who scores big
laughs -- and he readily admits that he's playing a character largely based
on his own exploits.
"I guess Kevin remembers a lot of that stuff. It's my sense of humor, I
guess, how I say things. A lot of things I said when I was younger. Like I'd
get in people's faces and yell snooooooch. I still say snooch. And I'd call
the girls sluts. Not in a bad way. You know, I'm like walkin' in the road and
see some girls and say 'Hey, sluts!' " He cautions, " I try to be more polite
Now before Jason gets slapped silly by any of our outraged femal readers,
think back to your high school years and try to remember this dude: the
captivatingly rude comedian, the steadfast rebel whose world has been
comically touched by cannabis. That's Jason.
"I'm not sure what I represent," Mewes muses. "A lot of people say I'm
just like their friend -- so cool, so funny --just like like 'em. Everybody
has a friend who seems to be just like me."
He says he got put into a "bad" school. "I just couldn't sit still. You
know, I like I talked a lot and didn't listen and shit. If I had to go to the
bathroom and said I couldn't go until the end of the period, I'd just get up
and go anyway."
Whatever his appeal is, there is little doubt that the character of Jay
is instantly recognizable by a generation of high school graduates, a direct
descendant of great film stoners like Jeff Spicoli played by Sean Penn in
Fast Time At Ridgemont High. However, Kevin Smith has imbued Jay with
longevity. Not only have Jay and Silent Bob appeared in all four of his
films, Smith has turned the pair into a successfull comic book series and
licenses their images on T-shirts and hats. He even launched Jay and Silent
Bob action figures. Jay's version comes with a bong and bud accessories and
features a push button to make Jay say some of his famous lines from the
movies. Things like "Nugga nooch!"
The headquarters for Jay and Silent Bob is naturally, Jay and Silent
Bob's Secret Stash, a sleek, well-stocked comic book supermarket in Red Bank,
NJ When Mewes walks the streets here, he's a major celebrity. "When's your
next movie?" he's asked repeatedly. A girl from a passing car shouts out; "I
love you so much!"
For his part, Mewes is stunningly natural, without pretense, and is
happiest cruising the local haunts. He was raised by in nearby Highlands and
grew up like many kids do in small towns. "It's not the suburbs. It's not the
ghetto either. It's just kind of mediocre," explains Jason. "You know,
everybody grows up together. You find a central place to hang out. We had a
beach and that was cool. We'd go to the woods and ride motorcycles, go to
malls and try to pick up girls."
Of course, Mewes was probably the star then, too. He has always had an
uncanny knack for fracturing language and remolding it into his own
vernacular. But what does this shit mean? Snooch to the nooch?
"It means anything you want it to mean whenever you want it to. If I say
I want to snooch you, then it can mean whatever I want it to. Nugga nooch and
snoochie bootchie are different versions of the same thing."
It's all so much clearer.
Whatever the definition, Mewes has been able to parlay his unique persona
into appearences in Nike commercials and his own show on MTV, Jay and Silent
Bob's Video Stash. But Mewes isn't living the hollywood lifestyle yet. " I
don't take care of my money very good. I get money and the first thing I do
is buy toys and comic books," he confesses.
His ideal would be to have an apartment in Hollywood and have a nice
house around here because he loves New Jersey. He also supports and lives
with his ailing mother, and in actuality, leads a pretty quiet life.
Is there anything that annoyes him?
"Nah, not really." He thinks a moment and blurts out: "Yeah, Seventies
"You know, when it's all bouffanted out and it's like a powder puff? I
can't stand that."
It's when your totally at ease with him, that Mewes unleashes his freshly
stoned observations. You wonder whether you're being put on. He slyly checks
the reaction to his commentary.
"Nah. Just kiddin'. I dont know. Nothing really bothers me too much."
"I like to be home when I'm not working. I like to be around here. I got
my programs pretty much down to a tee. During the weekdays I watch Quincy,
M.D. at nine, The Equalizer at ten, Murder She Wrote at eleven, twelve is
Simon and Simon. Then I watch some Web TV for maybe an hour, maybe read some
comic books. I hang out with my mom, maybe see some friends. I stay pretty
much laid back."
Now 25, Mewes looks at his present life and realizes that he's gotten
very lucky. "When I was growing up, I'd look at everybody and wonder what I
was gonna do. You know, I'd see the mailman leave his house and come back
every day after work or the construction foreman and I guess I thought, well,
someday I'm gonna have to do that too --- find a job that will buy me some
forty- or fifty- thousand dollar house and just work like everybody else. I
used to think, like everybody else. I used to think, like I don't have any
choice and figured that it was just going to be this way. It didn't sound
"Luckily," he says, "this happened."