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SDCC 2020: An Evening with Kevin Smith – Panel Coverage

It wouldn’t be Comic-Con without a panel of Kevin Smith in Hall H, telling stories and answering questions. Well, it’s not Comic-Con. It’s Comic-Con @ Home. So instead, we have a panel of Kevin Smith at his home, which debuted Saturday, July 25th. There’s no Hall H, and there are no fan questions… But according to Smith, that might not be such a bad thing. We don’t have to stand in line for hours on end to get in. He doesn’t have to worry about whether or not he’s getting laughs. He just stood in front of the camera to talk about whatever he wanted, and we can watch it at our leisure, from the comfort of our own homes.

Smith admitted later that, despite the advantages, this setup probably isn’t as good, or as satisfying, as a real Hall H panel. While it’s true that it’s not the same; personally, I thought this at home panel was still very good and very funny.

If you know Kevin Smith at all, you know that he likes to swear. It’s an integral part of most of his movies and of his general conversation. In his An Evening with Kevin Smith DVDs, he swears a lot and talks about how he swears a lot. I’ve never seen him live at Comic-Con, but I imagine he swears a lot there, too. Well, in this Comic-Con @ Home panel, they decided to censor him whenever he swears—which, depending on what he’s talking about, can be as often as every few seconds. The constant bleeps are a little off-putting and, frankly, take away a bit of the flavor of his general conversation. Still, you get used to it after a few minutes.

Whether it’s in his films, on his podcasts, or on panels, one of the things Smith is best at is telling stories. (And as a reader of Fanbase Press, you know that #StoriesMatter.) As such, a lot of what he talked about took the form of stories of what’s been going on in his life in the year since last year’s Comic-Con panel.

First of all, there was the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot release and subsequent tour. This led into a story from his childhood about taking a family trip to Hollywood to see the handprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre). As they looked at the various celebrities represented there, his father turned to him and said, in the way all parents say but none of them really mean, “Maybe someday you’ll have your handprints here, too.”

Fast forward to the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot tour, where Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes were invited to place their handprints in the cement in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre. Or, more accurately, they were told that their handprints in front of a different theater could be replicated and reused, to go in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre, as well. This prompted Kevin Smith to ask if they could have the full handprint ceremony in Hollywood instead, and the owners of the theater agreed.

Wet cement isn’t the only place where Smith is getting recognition either. The Library of Congress just chose Clerks to enter the National Film Registry—a tremendous honor only given to a handful of films every year. He said that if he could go back in time to when he was just a twenty-something kid shooting on a shoestring budget in a convenience store, he would tell his past self, “This little black-and-white movie is going to be so important that the United States government is going to hide it away in a vault.” When you think about it, that’s pretty mind-blowing.

Then, Smith began listing all the various projects he currently has going on and talking a bit about each. The world is in quarantine, but, apparently, Kevin Smith is working as hard as ever, even from home, with at least 10 different things in process, from movies to podcasts. Several of them are available for public consumption right now, while others are just waiting for COVID to die down in order to get a proper release date.

First up is Son-in-Lockdown, his web show about being in quarantine with his daughter’s boyfriend. It’s part of TBS’ Celebrity Show-Off—an elimination-style contest for celebrities to create content in their homes. Each week that Son-in-Lockdown stays on the air, more money is raised for Smith’s chosen charity, the National Black Justice Coalition.

Next, he talked about his Masters of the Universe: Revelation series for Netflix: a continuation of the He-Man saga. (Definitely not a reboot and treated with utter reverence in terms of the source material, according to Smith. Comparisons were made to Shakespeare.) The scripts are written and dialogue recorded, and Smith said that he got to see a rough version with the animatics. Were he the one in charge, he would just release them as-is, without the full, completed animation, just so that we can see it. Alas, he is not, so it probably won’t be until next year’s Comic-Con that we can even get preview scenes and teaser footage.

Kevin Smith also has a number of podcasts—a whole network of them, in fact, called the SModcast Podcast Network. Currently, he does one called Wake and Bake, wherein three times a week, he wakes up, smokes weed, and talks about stuff. He’s also just started a podcast with his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, called Vegan Abattoir. Concerning itself with the ins and outs of a plant-based diet, the two of them answer questions and consult experts about veganism. According to Smith, Harley originally wanted to do this one by herself, but he managed to wheedle his way into it, and now, suddenly, she’s got a co-host. You know how parents are.

Harley was, in fact, the one who got Kevin into veganism in the first place. After his heart attack in 2018, and the discovery of an incredibly blocked artery, Smith realized he needed to get healthy. Harley had already been vegan for a while and urged her father to try it, too. He reluctantly agreed, figuring he would maybe do it for a few months. Two years later, he’s still doing it and hasn’t looked back. Smith commented that he gave his daughter the gift of life, but she saved his by helping him go vegan.

Some of Smith’s projects, he’s merely the inspiration for, and other people are actually in charge of. For instance, there’s now an Iron Bob Funko POP, designed to look like his Iron Bob armor from Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. According to Smith, it’s the seventh or eighth Funko POP to bear his likeness.

And there’s now a Mooby’s pop-up restaurant in West Hollywood, based on the restaurant that first appeared in Dogma. You can go there and get an Egg-a-Mooby Muffin, among other things. What’s more, it hasn’t closed down due to COVID, due to the fact that there’s no in-room dining. Everything is by reservation only, the food is carry-out, socially distanced, and very safe. It also includes things from some of Smith’s other movies, such as a handwritten, “I Assure You, We’re Open” sign.

As a pop-up restaurant, it’s only temporary, but Smith and the people who run it are looking at the possibility of finding a permanent spot for it elsewhere in L.A. For those not in L.A., there’s also a Blue Apron-style Mooby food delivery service. A box of ingredients and instructions can be delivered to your door anywhere in the country, so you can make the Mooby menu items for yourself.

Smith is also working on a new SModcastle: the name for the theater where his SModcast podcasts used to be recorded. The new SModcastle will be in New Jersey in the same building as the Quick Stop where Clerks was shot. So, you can get snacks from the Quick Stop and then go see a show! He plans to have live podcasts, movies, open mic comedy… even weddings, if he can manage it. The opening was originally supposed to be on 4/20, but has been pushed back several times due to COVID. If all goes well, they hope to have it open by the fall.

Last on Kevin Smith’s list of projects is a new horror anthology movie called Killroy Was Here. Production was originally interrupted by his heart attack. Then, when he finally finished shooting it, its completion was interrupted by Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. It’s finally just about ready to go, though, and he premiered a trailer for it (not THE trailer, but a trailer, he made sure to specify) near the end of the panel.

Finally, Smith circled the discussion back to Comic-Con and talked again about how he hopes next year we can all be back in Hall H. Then, he literally interrupted himself to mention one more project: Twilight of the Mallrats. He had mentioned earlier that the Mallrats sequel he had planned to make was no longer in production. This is apparently a different Mallrats sequel. Additionally, a new 25th Anniversary Mallrats DVD/Blu-ray is being released, gathering together all the special features and extra content from all previous editions. The movie may have flopped when it first came out, but it’s found its audience in the years since.

And with that, Kevin Smith bid us all adieu, leaving us with one more benefit to a pre-recorded, online panel: J.J. Abrams can’t steal his audience for a Star Wars concert (which happened in 2015).

As Smith himself noted, this experience isn’t the same as a typical Kevin Smith Q&A session. Even for those like me who generally only see them on YouTube later anyway, the connection between Smith and his fans during a live show is part of what makes the experience. Still, this panel managed to be a lot of fun, very funny, and generally worth watching.

If you’ve enjoyed this panel coverage for Comic-Con @ Home, and want to check out the panel for yourself, you can do so at this link!

Steven W. Alloway, Fanbase Press Contributor



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