An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder
November 21, 2006
If Kevin Smith stopped making movies, he could easily make a living doing spoken word tours entertaining his fans with stories about his life and the movies he’s made. He’s a natural speaker who loves to talk. His spoken word gigs are the stuff of legends – three hour Q&A sessions where his answers to questions from his fans are often lengthy stories that are very funny. The large part of Smith’s appeal is accessibility. He doesn’t put on any airs or cop an attitude. In fact, he comes across as very self-deprecating. He talks just like you and me – he just happens to be famous. This 2-DVD set, An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (2006), is a follow-up to the successful first one that came out in 2002. This one features highlights from an appearance in Toronto and another in London, England.
In the Toronto gig, Smith talks about, amongst other things, watching Dora the Explorer with his daughter and the differences between seeing it stoned and straight. Now, this may not sound all that exciting but it’s all in how he tells the story that makes it so entertaining. The filmmaker also knows how to play to a specific audience, referencing Canadian institutions like Tim Horton’s doughnuts and the Degrassi television show. He even does a follow-up to some of the things he talked about in the first An Evening with Kevin Smith, like Prince’s response to Smith’s story about working with the musician and then proceeding to slam him again in a hilarious story about how Prince is now a Jehovah’s Witness.
Interestingly, Smith talks very little about his films and opts instead to talk about his personal life which also makes him more relatable because he’s had the same kinds of experiences as the rest of us, like running for student council in high school or visiting Niagara Falls as a child. He also sounds off on Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ (2004) – he didn’t like it – in a funny and entertaining way. For example, he imagines his own version where Jesus is crucified in the first five minutes only to be rescued by Uzi-wielding ninjas.
Smith kicks things off at the London date by slamming one of the U.K. tabloids that criticized Ben Affleck’s no-show at the British premiere for Jersey Girl (2004). Smith talks about his involvement in The Green Hornet movie and touches upon what his version would have been like.
He is as raunchy as his movies, discussing with one young lady various euphemisms for intercourse in the U.K., including one particularly memorable phrase – “fanny fun.” Another memorable bit is how he got the gig to do a rewrite of Coyote Ugly (2000) and how the studio subsequently jettisoned all of his dialogue except for one exchange and kept in the settings. He says that this was the last script doctoring gig he did because what’s the point when he did all of this work (and was paid handsomely for it) with very little of his own material surviving to the finished film? Smith also has the balls to slam Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a bunch of movies “about walking,” while championing the new Star Wars trilogy. Obviously, he’s making a broad generalization for comedic effect and one can see this rant as a warm-up for a similar one that shows up in Clerks II (2006).
I’m not sure how accessible these performances are to someone not familiar with Smith’s work but for his fans this is an amusing look at the man’s life and his views on a variety of topics with many laugh-out-loud moments. There is never a dull moment as the four hours of footage flies by. An Evening with Kevin Smith 2 is a clever mix of stand-up comedy and good old fashioned storytelling – something that we are in short supply of in this day and age.
The first disc features “Toronto – Limo Ride” where Smith polls citizens on the streets of the city about what exactly constitutes Canadian cuisine. The best that people can come up with are poutine and, of course, the merits of Tim Horton’s.
On the second disc there is “London – Man on the Street,” where Jason Mewes tries some of his pick-up lines on British women to see if they work. Not surprisingly, they don’t work for the most part.