Kevin Smith Shares Geeky Anecdotes and Stoner Humor in Showtime Special ‘Silent But Deadly’
When Kevin Smith performed his stand-up routine on February 25 at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California, little did he know that right afterwards he would come close to dying from a heart attack. That performance can now be seen on Showtime as the special “Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly.” Before the show begins Smith provides a small introduction with a dash of morbid humor, as he describes how what you’re about to see is a man completely unaware he’s “about to face the infinite.” Indeed, what we get is an hour of standard stoner humor, as Smith shares personal anecdotes about his diet, marriage and everlasting love for cannabis.
The tone of the special is Smith just being himself, telling some funny memories and recent happenings. He opens on the subject of his daughter graduating from high school and finding independence, or better put, his wife now feels liberated from the burden of being a “bitch.” Of course now that she’s free “she can get my life back, which means taking over your life.” But it’s all in good jest. Smith has been with his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach, for over 20 years now, and the relationship sounds like it thrives on goofball romance and genuine friendship. When he loses weight by cutting sugar (a process he describes as akin to kicking heroin), she begs him not to buy maroon underwear anymore. He reveals that she’s “the most orgasmic being I have ever met,” capable of climaxing without the need of his touch. According to Smith his wife quite loves him, but not his work. Out of 80 episodes of his “Comic Book Men” show, she’s only seen two. If there’s anything she appreciates from his constant work flow it’s that it makes him get some exercise.
But it is when Smith gets into his other key passion in life (aside from filmmaking), marijuana, that the humor gets funny in a slapstick sort of way. Smith isn’t out to be mean or even crude, he’s like the cool guy who can keep everyone’s attention with tales of his antics. Being a stoner he declares his natural habitat is the balcony, whether at home or traveling. He recalls smoking a joint on a balcony in Arizona, suddenly noticing a man in blue walking down below and sniffing the scent in the air. Terrified it might be a cop who will arrest him, Smith relaxes when the guy screams, “Silent Bob!” Not only was the passerby a fan of Smith’s famous character from “Clerks,” but he wasn’t a cop at all, just a regular guy in a blue shirt. He delights in sharing how Panasonic gave him a 106 inch television as a gift, which required 10 men to carry. The big perk is that now Smith can watch his show on the behemoth, pause it and take a selfie with himself.
“Silent but Deadly” is a pristine portrait of Smith’s brand of humor, which is really an outgrowth of his very persona as the quintessential geek filmmaker. He provides insights into his work directing for shows like “The Flash” and “Supergirl,” revealing that TV directors don’t do much, at least in his estimation. “The cast and crew make your show every week,” he points out. He describes at conferences where showrunners will discuss every detail before simply turning to him and saying, “what do you think Kevin?” Smith keeps things fun on set by spending his lunch breaks smoking weed and then going out to buy toys for the crew, including “puffy stickers” which he uses as prizes for whoever gives the better performance. This apparently sparked some fierce competition on the “Supergirl” set. One hilarious anecdote involves him going out to his favorite burger joint, A&W, and orders a large amount of burgers for his crew. When the clerk taking the order sees him the reaction was apparently, “oh it’s you, well that makes sense.”
If there is any section that feels prescient in hindsight, it would be when Smith starts discussing his health. He dropped sugar after watching a documentary on the subject and lost 80 pounds as a result. But he admits all it took was just cutting the sugar, because all the exercise he ever gets is walking his dog. Cutting the habit was rough, Smith describes himself as the type of guy who would devour jelly beans by the handful. The first hurdle when he kicked sugar was the wave of depression that him as a kind of withdrawal syndrome. Little did Smith know he wasn’t totally out of the woods.
The closing number is fun and lighthearted as Smith tells the audience what he does requires little talent. “It doesn’t take talent to tell stories and talk,” he admits. He throws some friendly shade at pal Ben Affleck when he says, “does it take talent to go around saying ‘I’m Batman?’ Ben Affleck does it, so I know it doesn’t take f—g talent.”
There’s an added outro after the performance, where Smith stands in the backstage room where he was struck by the heart attack after the show. He remembers the first symptoms, “I couldn’t get comfortable for my life…because I was dying.” But luckily he pulled through, and what we have here is a record of Kevin Smith as Kevin Smith, sharing his geeky passions, love of root beer and the relief of living to smoke another day.
“Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly,” filmed at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California, premieres May 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.