It’s been 25 years since Clerks became a landmark independent film hit and onscreen life partners Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes became the unlikeliest of movie icons as Silent Bob and the decidedly un-silent Jay. But anyone who’s followed Smith’s career as filmmaker, podcaster, and professional raconteur (or “oralist,” as he put it with a wink on Thursday’s Late Show) knows that it’s Smith whose genial motormouth with take over an evening if you let him. And, indeed, Stephen Colbert, in appropriately potty-mouthed mock exasperation, finally managed to get a word in edgewise during Smith’s 7-plus-minute appearance alongside Mewes, noting that the last time Smith was one the show, “I shit you not, I asked you one fucking question and I don’t think you answered it, but you talked for 12 minutes.”
Still, listening to Smith talk is at least as entertaining as most of his more recent movies, so the appearance—technically booked to promote his sequel to his spinoff, Jay And Silent Bob Reboot—began with a digression about the text message Smith’s daughter Harley sent to Mewes just before the show. Well, actually it started with Smith setting up the text by telling a long but funny story about him intentionally and elaborately embarrassing his daughter in front of her new boyfriend, setting up the punchline that the text was asking Mewes to make sure Smith didn’t tell the embarrassing story he just told. “I’m such a horrible dad,” mugged Smith, with Colbert having to agree, although adding “But the best kind.”
As for the prospect of watching the 49-year-old Smith and 45-year-old Mewes reprise their iconic slacker roles once more, Smith was disarmingly forthright that “Nobody was demanding this movie except us.” (A clip showed Jay, Bob, and old pal Brodie, played by Jason Lee, talking smack about the concept of reboots as being “when Hollywood wants to make a lot of money without the hassle of making a new movie,” which is plenty on-brand.) Telling Colbert that he and Mewes are traveling with the release of the film (in which Jay and Bob try to stop the reboot of the Jay-and-Bob-based Bluntman And Chronic movie) Smith promised that the duo will be handing out swag, answering questions, and basically catering to the small but enduringly loyal fanbase of Smith’s “View Askewniverse.” And just because all good things come to movie geeks who stick around the outskirts of Hollywood long enough, Smith explained how he and Mewes are getting their handprints enshrined in the very same cement outside the TCL Chinese Theater where Colbert showed a photo of the young Smith beaming beside those of R2D2 and C3PO. Calling himself and Mewes “the R2D2 and C3PO of New Jersey,” Smith finally allowed Colbert to wrap things up by tagging on that Jay And Silent Bob Reboot comes out on October 15th.