Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is a film director, screenwriter, actor, comic book writer, podcast host and comedian best known for his "View Askewniverse" films, notably Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma. Smith is a proud native of New Jersey and most of his films take place in the state. He married journalist Jennifer Schwalbach in 1999. They have one daughter, Harley Quinn Smith (yes, named after the Batman: The Animated Series character; he is close friends with writer Paul Dini.)
Smith is best known for the six-film New Jersey Trilogy set in The View Askewniverse; his non-Askewniverse productions Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri Make a Porno have not been as successful (or at least no more successful). As a result, he tends to go back to the Askewniverse trough, often self-aware of its approaching Franchise Zombie status.
Smith got his start by making Clerks, a black and white film shot on location in the scenic convenience store where he worked at the time and financed by maxing out his credit cards and putting his comic book collection up for collateral. It starred various lifelong friends and local amateur actors, notably childhood friends Jason "Jay" Mewes and Jeff "Randall Graves" Anderson. Released in 1994, Clerks became an instant cult favorite and one of the pioneers of the independent genre.
Smith also jump started the careers of two of his friends, Jason Lee (who before Mallrats was one of the most well known professional skateboarders in the country) and Ben Affleck by casting them in major roles in Mallrats and Chasing Amy before they both went off to fame and fortune (both would appear in all of Smith's other Askewniverse movies).
He has also become a prolific podcaster, creating the weekly series SModcast with longtime partner producer Scott Mosier. This expanded into a network of podcasts under the SModcast Network banner, including Tell 'Em Steve-Dave (with Smith's close friends Bryan Johnson, Walt Flanagan, and Brian Quinn), Jay and Silent Bob Get Old (Smith and Jason Mewes), Plus One (Smith and his wife Jennifer Schwalbach-Smith), Blow Hard (indie filmmaker Malcolm Ingram, with Smith occasionally co-hosting), and Hollywood Babble-On (Smith and actor Ralph Garman).
He is well known for being extremely approachable and friendly towards his fans; often he will take time after his appearances at comic book conventions and the like to sign autographs and chat with fans for multiple hours. Noted for holding detailed audience Q&A sessions, initially attached to his movies, he discovered that people would pay to come to an auditorium and listen to him tell stories and answer audience questions without any context. Hence, An Evening with Kevin Smith led to sequels An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder, Sold Out: A Threevening With Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40 and Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell. He was one of the first film directors to have a major internet presence, going all the way back to the mid-90's.
Not to be confused with the late Kevin Smith, best known for playing Ares in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its various spin-offs. Also not to be confused with another Kevin Smith, the $1,000,000 winner on the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
Works Smith has been involved with:
- Chasing Amy
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
- Jersey Girl - notable for being his first non-Askewniverse feature.
- Clerks II
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno
- Cop Out - his first film to be directed but not written by him.
- Red State - a horror film whose villain is based on Fred Phelps. Was on the back burner for several years before being filmed in October 2010. Smith will be distributing the film himself, rather than spending more on marketing the film than he did actually making it.
- Holidays - specifically, the "Halloween" segment.
- Tusk - Announced at San Diego Comic Con 2013. A surreal Body Horror concerning a podcaster (Justin Long) who goes to Canada in order to interview a seafarer (Michael Parks) who then kidnaps him and plans to sew him into a walrus suit. The first in his True North Trilogy, three films in their own self-contained universe all set in Canada, to be followed by...
- Yoga Hosers - An action film about the convenience store workers from ''Tusk'' (Harley Quinn Smith & Lily-Rose Depp) who team up with Guy LaPointe (Johnny Depp) another character from Tusk to stop an ancient evil from interfering with their invitations to a Grade 12 party. The True North Trilogy will be capped off with...
- Moose Jaws - Jaws but with a moose.
- Hit Somebody - A film about hockey, based on a song by Warren Zevon and co-written by ''Tuesdays With Morrie'' author Mitch Albom. At Sundance 2011, he announced that it will be his last movie as a writer/director, effectively killing another planned film, Ranger Danger and the Danger Rangers, unless another director feels like making it. He has since announced he now plans to make this a mini-series on a yet-disclosed channel (one would presume AMC, given his strong affiliation with them, or possible Hulu), leaving the way open for his last film to be...
- MallBrats - An attempted Mallrats sequel that ended up being put on the backburner for various reasons, including a planned conversion to a TV mini-series.
- Jay and Silent Bob Rebootnote - After an unnamed cast member passed on Clerks III, Smith decided to take advantage of his ownership of Jay and Silent Bob to tell the story of the duo once again heading to Hollywood to prevent Bluntman and Chronic from, as the title suggests, being rebooted. The first draft has been completed as of February 2017.
- Clerks: The Animated Series - loosely based on the first Clerks, a series with a comfortable DVD following.
- Produced the film Vulgar, written and directed by his childhood friend Brian Johnston, through his production company View Askew.
- An Evening with Kevin Smith, volumes 1, 2, and 3; as well as the specials for the pay-cable channel Epix, Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40 and Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell - Smith proves himself to be extremely entertaining in his off-the-cuff question and answer sessions at various college campuses and concert venues. Sometimes joined by his heterosexual life partner, Jason Mewes.
- Daredevil: Guardian Devil - a comic run that in some ways re-launched the franchise with a more adult focus on the character's Catholic faith; especially notable for the significant death of an otherwise minor villain. Also notable in some circles for a Stuffed in the Fridge moment.
- Green Arrow - Debuted the mute supervillain Onomatopoeia, and brought the Emerald Archer back to life.
- A rather poorly-received Batman miniseries, Widening Gyre, which was supposed to be a 12-part series with a fairly long break between parts 6 and 7. However, because Smith's and artist Walt Flanagan's time was taken up by Comic Book Men, that break just kind of kept on going. It was later decided that the rest of the series would be published as a second title, Batman: Bellicosity, but that was due in 2014 and nothing has happened since, effectively leaving Widening Gyre unresolved on a cliffhanger.
- Directed the Reaper TV pilot.
- A weekly podcast with friend Scott Mosier, SModcast, which eventually grew into a 24 hour web radio network called SModcast Internet Radio that has shows with Smith and his wife, Smith and Jason Mewes, and others. You can check it out here.
- Directed and starred in two episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation, bringing along Jason Mewes and Alanis Morrisette for the ride. He took up the gig because he was a huge fan of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High during their runs on PBS, and had a Perverse Sexual Lust for Caitlin Ryan.
- Comic Book Men which he's described as like Pawn Stars, but for nerds.
- Spoilers a Hulu-only show where he takes a group of people to watch a recently released movie (which he pays for all the tickets), and then bring them back to a studio to discuss it.
- Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do, a miniseries mainly remembered for having long delays between the first and second half of the story and adding controversy to Black Cat's backstory with the revelation she was raped in college.
- Directed "The Runaway Dinosaur," a second season episode of The Flash (2014). Jason Mewes has a cameo as a guy who "borrowed" his mother's truck for a date, only to see it get destroyed in a super battle.
- Directed "Supergirl Lives," a second season episode of Supergirl 2015. He admitted to crying a little when he found out the name of the episode, as it's inspired by his unused 90's screenplay Superman Lives. (His daughter Harley Quinn Smith plays a kidnapped girl in the episode.) He also did the episode "Distant Sun" and is slated for another in Season 3. He seems to be making a Running Gag in his episodes of having Kara strip down to her Supergirl outfit offscreen while her clothes are thrown at the person watching.
- Directed "Killer Frost", the seventh episode of the third season of The Flash (2014). Did not contain Jason Mewes but was an important episode because it moved the season arc forward significantly before the show got sidetracked the following week into the 'Heroes v Aliens'/"Invasion!" multi-episode Arrowverse crossover.
- Directed "Null and Annoyed", the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of The Flash (2014), He and Jason Mewes basically play Jay and Silent Bob as security guards who encounter the meta of the week.
- Marvel's Howard the Duck, an adult animated show made for Hulu. Co-developed with Dave Willis.
- Played a pathologist/lab tech in the Daredevil film.
- Warlock in Live Free or Die Hard.
- A gas station pimp in Fanboys.
- A witness on Law & Order (a part which his agent got him after he complained that she didn't get him any acting roles).
- A convenience store clerk in Veronica Mars.
- A wheelchair-bound war veteran in Southland Tales.
- The close friend of a recently deceased man in Catch and Release.
Tropes used by Kevin Smith:
Most of Smith's uses of tropes can be found on The View Askewniverse page, but some of his trope use is broader than that. They are:
- 10-Minute Retirement: He announced his retirement from filmmaking in 2010, following his disastrous experience on Cop Out. However, his love of the process was reinvigorated by both Red State and Tusk.
- Ambiguously Bi: By all accounts, he's straight, but makes enough passive comments about gay sex, man crushes and "getting wet" while working on The Flash (2014) that it'd make one wonder if he's at least heteroflexable. He frequently mentions his many gay friends, including his own brother who is "...as gay as the day is long," so certain attitudes may have rubbed off on him as a result. It helps that one of his most popular films is about how sexuality and relationships aren't just a binary division.
- The Atoner: Guilty about his association with Harvey Weinstein after discovering Weinstein's history as a sex offender, he decided the best thing for him was to donate his future residuals for the films he made under Miramax and The Weinstein Company to female filmmakers.
- Attention Whore: In ''An Evening with Kevin Smith," he describes himself as a "press whore" who likes seeing his name in headlines.
- Author Filibuster: As his spoken word videos suggest, often Smith's personal rants about various subjects end up in his films. For instance, Smith's complaint about the ending of Return of the King appeared first in An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder but also ended up in Clerks II.
- B-Movie: The "True North" films are an Affectionate Parody of "people in rubber costume" horror movies.
- Badass Beard: He has a very nice one. He says that, without it, he looks like a teenager.
- Broken Pedestal:
- Kevin was once invited to make a documentary on his musical hero Prince about his journey to religious enlightenment. The Purple One's Cloudcuckoolander antics, vague instructions and habit of making people wait eventually took their toll on Kevin, who nearly missed his first Father's Day as a result. He left the project sorely pissed not only because he found out that the footage he'd shot would only end up in Prince's infamous vault but because Prince didn't even have the decency to thank him, say goodbye or perform "Batdance" for him.
- He loved Bruce Willis from Die Hard and Moonlighting, and had a great time chilling with him on the set of Live Free or Die Hard, but the experience directing Cop Out, where Willis, who was only in it for a paycheck, was in full-blown prima donna mode and often verbally abused Smith or even outright refused to take direction, permanently soured Smith's respect for the man. He later claimed that a star as big as Willis had at least a little authority to act the way he did, but that he would never work with him again.
- He also feels the same way about is former friend and mentor Harvey Weinstein. Especially after Weinstein's disrespectful behavior at the Red State premiere. He would eventually disown Weinstein completely after news broke of his sexual assault history.
- Canada, Eh?: The True North Trilogy, horror-comedy films all set in Canada.
- Cats Are Superior: Smith summed it up this way:Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are like man's complacent roommate.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Whenever Smith deals with faith, it's inevitably the faith that he grew up with and says that he currently adheres to, Catholicism. Somewhat ironic, in that one of the interest groups most opposed to him is The Catholic League, which started opposing him at first due to his amusing take on the fallibility of mortal religion while simultaniously exalting divine infallibility in Dogma. Other religions are not dealt with extensively, and it's a loophole in Catholic doctrine that ends up endangering the entire universe in the aforementioned film. He has promised, however, to avert this trope if he ever makes a Dogma II. Averted with Red State - the Five Points Trinity church is based on the Westboro Baptist Church
- Cluster F-Bomb: He's such an abuser, his first film was originally rated NC-17 based on language alone.
- Creator Provincialism: Most of his work is set in his home state of New Jersey.
- Darker and Edgier: Red State is his darkest and most serious film by an extremely wide margin.
- Equal-Opportunity Offender: Downplayed, but as with any subject in his films, if someone's ethnicity, gender or sexuality comes up in his work, it'll be humorously mused upon to death. When he received a massive backlash from religious fundamentalists for Dogma, he followed it up with the feel-good, controversy-free Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back... which received a massive backlash from LGBTQ groups for all of the gay jokes.
- Even the Guys Want Him: In nearly every Q&A he does (especially prominent in the Evening with Kevin Smith series), he receives many offers for oral sex from male fans. Often, he'll jokingly accept but demand they put some effort into it. In An Evening with Kevin Smith, Smith's friend Jason Mewes was also propositioned by a gay man who had a crush on him at least once.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Invoked by Smith at the end of his Q&A film Too Fat for 40, after his attempt to answer many questions turns into just one:Smith: Well it's called "Q&A." One Q, one A.
- Fat Bastard/Fat Idiot: Averted on both counts. He used to be on the heavy side, sure, but he's known for being incredibly nice and good-natured and he's certainly no dummy either. And by the way...
- Formerly Fat: He shed a lot of weight around 2017-2018 before and after his massive heart attack, to the point where his usual fat jokes about himself feel rather outdated and no longer justified.
- Gender Flip: He joked about this in reference to Battlestar Galactica (2003) when he hosted a Galactica panel at Comic Con.Smith: [to Ron Moore and David Eick] I'm glad you guys changed Starbuck into a women. Otherwise it would have made all those kissing scenes with Lee really awkward.
- Genre Roulette: While his films generally have a familiar personality, usually through Author Appeal and dialogue, Smith has done some widely varied types of movies, from a DIY indie film, to screwball comedies, a tasteful dramady, religious thrillers, a chick flick and rubber monster b-movies. Extends to television, where his resume includes a Canadian teen soap opera, superhero shows, sitcoms and a comedy about collecting souls for the devil.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Almost all of his films revolve around two men and their very close friendships. Some of these films (like Chasing Amy between the protagonist and his male best friend) openly portray it as attraction, but most leave it as subtext. He acknowledged that he would put some of this content in his films as Fanservice directed at gay people.
- Iconic Outfit: His hockey jerseys and jean shorts. Previously the long green coat.
- Insult Backfire: When Smith half-jokingly accused Tim Burton of ripping off one of his comic books for the ending of Planet of the Apes (2001), Burton gave the uncharacteristically nasty response of "Anyone who knows me knows I would never read anything by Kevin Smith." Smith put this quote on the back of his autobiography.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Alan Rickman, George Carlin and Michael Parks all remained close friends with Smith following their working together. He once dedicated a whole year to posting anecdotes about his relationship with Carlin on his Facebook page every Wednesday, always with the title "Holy Shit, It's Only Wednesday" (after one of Carlin's bits). Smith directly credits working with Michael Parks for reinvigorating his passion for filmmaking and gave an extremely tearful eulogy on the "Fatman On Batman" episode following Parks' death earlier that week.
- Motor Mouth: He NEVER shuts up, ever! Which is funny, because he plays a character called "Silent Bob". Kevin is a talking machine. His Q and A's and his Smodcasts show this. He can talk for hours, literally."I do DVD Commentaries because I like to talk."
- Mr. Vice Guy: A self-proclaimed "Fat, lazy slob," Smith is a stoner and an (albeit recovering) overeater with a mouth like a sailor. However, he is also said to be one of the nicest celebrities you will ever meet, showing everyone, from colleagues, to fans, to the Westboro Baptist Church the same level of courtesy.
- Nice Guy: Kevin is not afraid to curse and give the f bomb in an interview, however he has proven to be an incredibly sweet, friendly, and outgoing guy who deeply loves his family, friends, and fans.
Holy shit... BEN AFFLECK IS THE NEW BATMAN!!! Do you know what this means? It means that I've seen Batman naked!!!
- He commented on this at a Battlestar Galactica (2003) panel at Comic Con that he was moderating. Tricia Helfer (Number Six) revealed that at one point she used to date Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly). At this Smith remarked that the knowledge that Number Six used to go out with Captain Mal "would make most nerds cum in their pants". Helfer's response was "That's why we don't tell". Fillion confirmed it at San Francisco WonderCon 2007.
- His reaction to hearing that friend and frequent collaborator, Ben Affleck, was cast as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Said by Kevin Smith in an anecdote about his interactions with Tim Burton, when he brings up Burton's publicist, whose actual, real name is Bumble Ward.I am not making it up. I'll say it one more time: Tim's publicist's name is Bumble Ward. There is somebody on this planet... named Bumble.
- Odd Friendship: Considered himself this with Alan Rickman, considering one is a British acting legend and the other is a stoner indie filmmaker from Jersey, yet Rickman often kept in touch with Kevin and his family after filming Dogma. Talking about Alan after his passing is guaranteed to break him down into Manly Tears.
- Parental Substitute: He and Jason Mewes agree that he is more or less the father Jason never had, doing his best to support him and be there for him during Jason's drug addiction and helping him out by making movies for him to feature in.
- The Power of Friendship: Since 2001, Smith has been using his filmmaking career to help keep Jason Mewes off of drugs. Smith refused to speak to him until went to rehab after Mewes stole his debit card to buy heroin and later promised to only keep casting him in movies if he remained clean. Their podcast, "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old," is basically a weekly intervention to ensure Mewes, now married and with a daughter, won't relapse.
- The Power of Love: Kevin has said that he wasn't sure how much longer he was going to be a filmmaker for a variety of reasons (including critics and fans turning on him and personal burn out) but he cites working on Tusk as being his renaissance there. The reason was that he ended up inviting his daughter Harley Quinn Smith to play a small role as a Canadian convenience store clerk. Working with his daughter, seeing her talent as an actress and having fun together, made him feel like he could keep doing this and all the anger he had with critics and fans disappeared. In a video promoting Yoga Hosiers, both of them were supposed to do this short interview where she asked him various questions. They didn't get past the first question "Who was your favorite actor to work with?" because he immediately said it was her, and explained the above, even calling her his "salvation." By the end, both of them were in tears hugging each other.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Smith's films do not lack three-dimensional female characters by any means. Feminine women, on the other hand, are are practically non-existent, save René in Mallrats, who yells at Brodie for never taking her to "girl" stores instead of places only he wants to go.
- Screw Yourself: He once did a special for The Tonight Show where he showed some locations in New Jersey connected to his films. At one point he stands next to a replica of himself, and then proceeds to make out with it, saying it's something he always wanted to do.
- Self-Deprecation: Aside from making fun of his own weight and appearance in his films and his An Evening with Kevin Smith series, he famously protested his own movie when Dogma came out.
- In the forward to the Black Cat trade he wrote, Smith mocks his notorious Schedule Slip, comparing himself unfavorably to Brian Bendis note and lets the fanbase know that his contract stipulated that he didn't get paid until after he completed the story.
- Shotgun Wedding: Jennifer Schwalbach was eight months pregnant with his daughter when the two of them got hitched at Skywalker Ranch. Smith later joked that the two of them never really dated so much as he said "Hi, I'm Kevin, I'd like to impregnate you."
- Signature Style: Little to no camera movement, lengthy, usually profanity riddled, conversations about sex (comic book character or otherwise) and Star Wars, and some scene involving hockey. All of which is frequently Lampshaded.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Smith may be a good guy in real life but HOLY SHIT does he swear. Several podcasts have him say the f-bomb several times in just 15 seconds.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: An extremely brief one-sided to with Tim Burton. See "Insult Backfire". Though Smith claims that he and Burton have put it behind them.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His earlier films are a good mix of both. Cynical dialogue but a ton of heart at its core.
- Speech-Centric Work: His films are, as a rule, extremely dialogue-heavy.
- Sophisticated as Hell: As he puts it, he enjoys "mixing the profane and the profound," and both his movies and public speeches feature long, highly articulate diatribes about self-reflection and relationships which alternate between a sophisticated vocabulary and every four-letter word under the sun.
- The Stoner: In recent years, he's taken up smoking massive amounts of pot, crediting it with helping him out of a creative slump. Some critics have credited it to have fried his brain due to the perceived drop in quality between his earlier work and his more recent output.
- The weed ended up saving his life— when he had his massive heart attack it was thanks to a joint he'd smoked shortly before that he was able to relatively calm and such during his heart surgery.
- Sublime Rhyme: The intro to his podcast Fat Man On Batman
- Take That!:"Cats is the second worst thing to ever happen to New York City."Jersey Girl (2002)
- Also he seems to dislike Chris Columbus' films. In Dogma, Serendipity claims that she was responsible for the 19 highest grossing films of all time. Except for the one about the kid all alone in the house and fights burglars off. And in a deleted scene, Bartleby asks Azrael is Hell really as bad as people say it is. Azrael's answer? "They have been showing Mrs. Doubtfire CONTINUOUSLY for five years!"
- Take That, Critics!: Subverted. He doesn't dislike critics, but he is generally dismissive of them.
- Taught by Experience: He went to film school for a few months but dropped out because he would ultimately not be in control of his own final project. In that time, he met Scott Mosier, who tends to handle the more technical side of things. It's evident from his films that he has a gift for story and dialogue but not much else.
- Too Much Information. Averted. Smith is not above going onto long diatribes about going to the bathroom or having sex with his wife on his podcasts. One segment of "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" is entirely dedicated to Jason Mewes telling detailed anecdotes about him and his wife having sex.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: He's well aware of this, and mocks it frequently.
- During an interview on the Canadian TV show "The Hour", Smith claimed that he would never do a porno with his wife. Why? Because he would lose all respect for her; "How can you have sex with THAT?".
- Playboy once did a piece on famous film directors and their interpretations of eroticism, with his wife in a sexy Lois Lane outfit. When asked why he didn't put her in Leia's gold bikini, he replied "Because then I'd have to be Jabba."
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: When his daughter was born he was worried that she would take after him and constantly deal with weight problems. Instead she definitely took after her mother and is tall and very pretty, working as an actress in almost all of her dad's films. In fact, whenever he posts photos of her on his Facebook page, he's quick to remind "certain" commenters to watch what they say about her appearance, because it's being filtered through her father.
- Unstoppable Rage: He was once thrown off a plane because of his weight. He was not happy.
- Verbal Tic: Says "Whatnot" a lot.
- And "shit like that."
- He says sir almost as much as Jason Mewes.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Although Happily Married, he and Jennifer Schwalbach crack a lot of cruel jokes at each other's expense. Apparently it runs in the family, as Smith has shared several stories of his daughter Harley being equally sassy despite the two of them being incredibly close.
- Women Are Wiser: His female characters are almost always depicted as the more competent ones, while the male ones are lazy perverts who, more often than not, are directly responsible for their own misfortunes. Even the two Colleens from the "True North" trilogy, despite being air-headed teenagers, seem significantly more intuitive than any of the male character they encounter.