By Lisa Morgan
When I was given the chance to interview Jason Mewes, I had no idea what to expect. Would I be talking to the explicit, misogynistic yet somehow endearing stoner character known as “Jay” of “Jay and Silent Bob” fame? Was Mewes truly like the iconic mouthy character that helped cultivate a cult following of Kevin Smith’s award winning independent movies? Would Mewes answer the phone with Jay’s signature crude banter, saying something like, “What’s up Snoochie Boochies? Yo, call me Darth Balls! You know you want some of this.” Even Kevin Smith, who grew up with Jason in New Jersey described him as “the kind of dude you know for five minutes and he whips his ___ out.” In addition, stories on the internet tell of his battles with drug addiction and multiple, failed attempts at recovery adding to the sense of unpredictability. Still, having been a fan of Kevin Smith’s Bluntman Comics and the chronicle of movies that introduced me and endeared me to “Jay” (Clerks, Mall Rats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II) I truly looked forward to finding out who the real Jason Mewes was. I was not disappointed, and better yet, I was genuinely impressed.
Somewhat unexpectedly, the voice on the other end of the phone was that of a polite, respectful guy who was genuinely enthusiastic about his new role in Vigilante Diaries. But before I could ask anything else, I had to know, “How much like the character, Jay, are you, really?” He answered, “I’d say you’d have to go back and look at Clerks, Kevin’s first film. He based that character on me. That’s pretty much how I was at age 13 and 14 when we were growing up together. Now, I’d say I’m about 60% of that guy. I mean, I’ve grown up a little. I take a little more time getting to know people before I pop off and say something like, ‘Hey, check out my yam bags’. I mean, I understand you can’t just say stuff like that to everybody; you could get arrested these days. Plus, now I’m married and I’d like to stay that way.”
With genuine enthusiasm, he described his role as “Mike Hanover” in the independently produced, digital series, Vigilante Diaries, directed by up and coming screen writer and director, Christian Sesma. “The guy, Mike Hanover, is a documentary film maker who’s done a bunch of films about girls, but really wants to do something more legit. He gets this chance to ride along with these characters and he has no idea what he’s getting into.” When I asked him if it was a comedic role, he explained, “Well, I guess some of the situations he gets into cause him to react in a way that might be considered kind of funny, but, mostly it’s all pretty intense.” Jason apparently underestimates how funny his reactions are in these “situations” as he is riding along with a no holds barred, gang of violent vigilantes. According to director, Christian Sesma, “Mewes is always a blast to make movies with. Not only is he hilarious and his comedic timing seriously amazing, but his creative ideas on how to make stuff cool are always on point. I’ve been a fan of his forever, and it’s awesome to be partnered up on such a kick-ass series like Vigilante Diaries!” Jason’s naturally animated style, provide a whole “other level” of entertainment, as he finds himself immersed in an underworld of demented violence lead by vigilantes devoid of scruples or politically-correct-give-a-shit. “Imagine a super R-rated ride-along with Batman and Robin,” describes Sesma. “Only, these are good guys with no moral code. They’re not dragging these guys in for due process – they’re taking them out.” Jason will be at the AMFM Festival where they’ll be screening Vigilante Diaries. He may even be presenting a trailer for the latest Jay and Silent Bob project, Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. The midnight, party-like, adult-only screening will be followed by a Q & A with both Sesma and Mewes.
Lastly and a bit awkwardly, I approached Jason on the subject of his reported addiction and rehabilitation. It’s an important and personal subject to me as I myself am moving toward the 2 year mark in my own sobriety. When I shared that fact with Jason, his response to me was so congratulatory and enthusiastic, it was completely disarming. I obviously, was the only one with any trepidation in approaching the subject, as he very openly shared his experience and hope. “I’ll have 3 years coming up,” he shared. “I had 5 years at one point until I had surgery in 2009.” I asked him, how he thought this time was different from his last several attempts. He referred to the pod-cast, Jay And Silent Bob Get Old, that Kevin Smith created as a kind of weekly intervention to let Mewes talk through his history of substance abuse along with other topics of interest. “Talking about it really helps,” he shared. “I’m also accountable to people now. Before, I wasn’t accountable to anyone. Now, I’ll be in a coffee shop and someone will come up to me and say, ‘Hey, how many days do you have now?’ I’m accountable to the people who listen and call in to the show, and I go to a meeting at least once a week. I’ve been through Steps 1 and 2 and my goal is to get through the rest of the 12.”
“What’s the best part of your sobriety?” I asked. “Not feeling sick,” he replied. “Not waking up in the morning and having my first thought be, “How am I going to get what I need. Wondering, how am I going to get the money for it, or having the money for it and figuring out where to meet. Or being at my mother-in-laws and knowing I’m going to have to wait there three hours before I can go meet my hook up. Ultimately, I guess the thing I’m most grateful for is my friendship with Kevin. We’re a lot closer now. We talk more now than we ever did.”
Needless to say, I am no longer just a fan of that funny character from “Jay and Silent Bob”. I’m digging the character of Jason Mewes himself. Not only is he an insanely funny, talented personality, but he’s a fighter, survivor and bad ass whom I expect to be an extremely entertaining part of some serious bad guy beat downs in Vigilante Diaries. You can view the trailer at Chill.com and even gift it to someone via the website and share the viewing experience. Meanwhile, you’ll be supporting this very cool, independent project.
Join me, along with Jason Mewes and Christian Sesma at the screening of Vigilante Diaries at the AMFM Festival. The Festival will run from June 13-16th, in Cathedral City. Go to AMFMfest.com for schedules and tickets.