Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tales of (Spanking) the Gold Monkey

I've been a recent convert to the Kevin Smith range of podcasts: "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old", "Hollywood Babble-On" and the original "Smodcast".

I've worked my way through the back catalogue of "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old", which began as a place to tell the history of Jason Mewes' addiction to drugs, and eventually as a public intervention, a way to keep him accountable for his actions in front of a weekly live audience, as well as a podcast audience of thousands. Jay's story boggles the mind: he goes through highs and lows (oddly enough, usually while high) and is extremely un-self-conscious about it all.

Throughout his years of addiction, one thing has kept him alive: Kevin Smith.

If it wasn't for Kevin Smith, Jay would probably be dead. I'd like to say "dead or eventually cleaned himself up", but the truth of the matter is without Smith's help, Jay would have continued to spiral down. Throughout the stories that Kevin and Jay tell, Jay is never the instigator of his salvation. Usually, he is the unwilling participant. It's up to Smith, Smith and Mewes' wives and their friends to intervene, drag Jay back from the edge, coerce him into rehab and generally straighten up and fly right. Which he does. For a while.

Alternatively, Smith muses that possibly he is the cause of the problem. By giving Mewes his break in "Clerks", then following up with roles in other movies, making Mewes a genuine paid actor, Smith wonders aloud that maybe he is at fault for giving Jay a career in acting and not allowing Mewes to mature and find himself actual employment. The idea has some merit, that Kevin Smith is an "enabler" to all of Jason Mewes' drug woes. No matter what happens in Jay's life, Kevin is always ready and available to pick up the pieces, set Mewes up in rehab, or just in Smith's own home, and try to straighten him out.

The question must be asked: when will he learn? The other question is: which one am I talking about?

Nevertheless, the podcast is enlightening, brave, honest and laugh-out-loud funny. Well recommended.

I've gotten a little behind on "Jay and Silent Get Old" because I've found my new favourite SModcast, "Hollywood Babble-On". Hosted by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, it's about Hollywood news and gossip generally - movie openings, celebrity deaths, charitable celebrities ("Hollywood Helpers, when you need a helping... ham...") and the sort. Interspersed with their various celebrity anecdotes are impersonations by Garman, who works for KROK in LA, and stories about smoking weed and masturbating by Smith. It's a happy balance.

The funniest thing about "Hollywood Babble-On" (or "HBO" as they abbreviate it... for now...) is that so many of the references are of my time, and would probably fly over the head of people under 30 years old. 80s TV shows, movies from 30 years ago, 1960s music icons. The impersonations in particular focus around the late 70s to early 90s, which is perfect for me.

An interesting point about this podcast is that Smith and Garman don't have any concerns about some of the litigious statements they make about celebrities, which is surprising considering the neighbourhood they're working in. For example, saying Arnold Schwarzenegger is a massive stoner or Chelsea Handler is a talentless c*nt is usually the kind of thing that has "allegedly" or "insiders say..." pasted onto the front, but Smith and Garman don't seem concerned about setting themselves to be sued. Maybe it's a case of "If it's a lie, prove it!"

Indeed, like "Jay and Silent Get Old", this podcast is also extremely honest about aspects of Smith and Garman's lives. Smith is quite open about being a huge stoner, morbidly obese, and a chronic masturbator (even if he balances it out by saying he does the latter to naked pictures of his own wife, which of course goes with my own sensibilities). Garman is pretty open about his absolute disgust at people who have succeeded more than he has, for example the fore-mentioned Chelsea Handler.

Considering he's got at least three podcasts to record a week, plus his daily regime of masturbation and smoking weed, I question how Kevin Smith gets anything done. But he does: he's got a new movie in the can, his first horror movie, "Red State". I'm looking forward to seeing it, considering I've enjoyed most of his output over the years.

And I'm certainly enjoying his current projects.

The "Birth. School. Kevin Smith. Credits." T-shirt design is a parody of the famous Metallica Gig shirt. If you don't get the joke about credits, I suggest you listen to the podcast. After you've bought a shirt, of course.

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