Yesterday something glorious happened, the man himself, Kevin Smith, brought two Smodco podcasts live to Logan, Utah and Big Shiny Robot was there. The immediate question on everyone’s mind was, “Why the hell would Kevin Smith go to Logan?” It’s a fair question, and one that luckily, we received an answer to during the course of the shows.
The short answer (which I’ll provide in the format of a math equation) is that 1 random act of kindness (K) plus a variable amount of serendipity (S) equals 1 Kevin Smith (KS). Simplified to K + S = KS, in case you had trouble following the math.
The long answer is that Trent Hunsaker, the owner of Death Ray Comics, one half of the Smodco podcast “Netheads,” owner of a gigantic ball of fluff named Sherman, and all around nice guy made a donation to The Wayne Foundation and was randomly selected for a Google hangout with Smith.
For those of you who don’t know, The Wayne Foundation is a charity created by Smith and run by Jamie Walton with the goal of combatting the sex trafficking of children. You can find more information here. If you are able to donate, please do, be somebody’s “Batman.”
When Smith realized that Hunsaker had been selected for the Google hangout, and that he owned a brick and mortar comic book store in Logan he reached out and suggested that instead he come to town and do some live shows, with Jason Mewes in tow. One selfless act begets another, the world gets better, and we all got some laughs out of it. Pure, unadulterated, goodness.
The morning began for me at 10:30 when I arrived, along with Zendobot, at Death Ray Comics. The line was small, but not for long. Soon approximately 100 people had gathered outside the shop in anticipation. Before long the usually sleepy Sunday Center street was filled with Smodco fans, Smerch, and Snootchie Bootchies. Passersby began to stop, inquiring as to the nature of the gathering, to which we replied, “We’re here for Kevin Smith,” to which they replied “Who is Kevin Smith,” to which we replied “Move along, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
The days schedule was “Netheads” at noon, followed by “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” at 3 PM. The show got off to a late start, reportedly because Smith required a pit stop for food, an undisclosed substance may or may not have been involved in the delay (it totally was).
Fans were patient and understanding and before we knew it we were being herded into the shop. A more intimate setting I couldn’t have dreamed of. Even at the back of the venue a question could be asked to the panelists without a microphone. What followed was five hours of pure awesome. “Netheads” kicked off the day, beginning with Trent Hunsaker and Wil Wilkins, after a short introductory period Kevin Smith joined the stage and was later followed by Jason Mewes. All of the panelists were friendly and personable, many fans approached the stage to shake hands and ask their questions up close and personal. Fan boy spittle could have easily showered the hosts, but if it did, they made no indication.
During the course of the “Netheads” Q&A Smith took the time to mention how nice and friendly the people in attendance were and to personally thank everyone for being supportive and allowing him to do what he loves and share it with us. During his thank you, music began to play, cutting Smith off. He joked that he was being played off stage just like at the Oscars, and continued with his thank you speech, which only made it that much better.
When the first show had concluded everyone was herded back out of the building to allow ticket holders for the next show to enter. While we waited outside Jason Mewes exited the building, mingling with the crowd, doling out hugs, high fives, and handshakes while toting around an energy drink and a cigarette. These moments encapsulate why Smith’s fans love him (and his crew) so much, they treat everyone like real people, deserving of their time and interaction. Smith stated “At one point in the past, you all took a chance on me and gave me a moment of your time, giving you a moment back is only fair.”
Moments before the beginning of “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” an employee of Death Ray Comics came outside to address the crowd. We were instructed to hand over our cell phones for the duration of the show. These instructions were made all the more strange when other employees began covering the windows with bits of cardboard and a sign you may recognize.
We were given no explanation but were promised that if we would comply, it would be worth our while. And worth our while, it was. Upon entering, Smith remarked about a previous show where he had shown the audience the trailer to a movie he was working on at the time after which they were able to discuss in the Q&A.
“Sadly…” said Smith, “I don’t have a trailer of my upcoming movie to show you, so I’ll just show you the first 30 minutes instead. No one has seen this yet, except the people who worked on the flick.”
What followed was the opening act of Smith’s upcoming Canadian horror movie “Tusk.” The flick is based on episode 259 of Smodcast “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” you can find out more about “Tusk” here.
I had to take a blood oath not to reveal any details of the flick but suffice it to say, holy shit. #WalrusYes. Unless the film takes a decidedly bad turn after the first act, what we’re looking at is, in my opinion, Smith’s strongest film to date.
Michael Parks (Red State) returns, again as the villain, and his performance is unnerving to say the least. Strong performances are given by the entire cast including Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, and Genesis Rodriguez. There are still laughs to be had, and hearty ones at that. Smith indicated that he uses laughter to punctuate the tension, though sometimes the best laughs came from the most unnerving scenes. It’s that kind of nervous laughter that comes out when you don’t know how to deal with what is being presented to you. There is an added bonus for fans of Smith's podcasts in the way of Easter Eggs littered throughout the movie. Those unfamiliar with the previous Smodcast episodes and Smith's other shows will still get the jokes, they just won't be quite so inside.
After the screen turned black and the lights came back up, Smith and Mewes answered questions for well over an hour, speaking directly to the asker in a way that made the whole experience comfortable, intimate, and fantastic. Smith discussed his process on the film from pre to post-production and gave us the inside track on what he has coming down the chute. “Tusk” will be the first in what Smith is calling his “True North Trilogy” a series of horror movies set in the noble land of Canada, followed by his teenage girl adventure thriller "Yoga Hosers," and finishing up with what is being called “Moose Jaws.” The final installment is exactly what the title implies, “Jaws” but with a moose, and in Canada, eh. Smith also indicated that we may see Jay and Silent Bob return opposite the malicious moose but it’s still very early and it’s all up in the air.
I left with a sore stomach from all the laughs that I’m still feeling today. I imagine this is what people feel when they say they like going to the gym, though my muscles are sore, it is a physical reminder of an excellent time had.
UPDATE: The "Netheads" recording has gone live, if you weren't able to make it on Sunday, you can hear the audio right here.