Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Tea Bagging in the UK DVD Review: Adding Sights to the Clerks' Podcast's Sounds

If you enjoy watching a radio show being taped, this is the Smith/Mewes project you've been waiting for.
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What happens when Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith take their podcast on the road to the United Kingdom?  You hear enough about their personal sex lives to keep their wives blushing for a century.  They do touch on a smattering of personal experiences, both ridiculous (Jay versus security when they find him carrying a lock-knife when attempting to board the London Eye) and a bit heartfelt (anecdotes about the last few months of life for one of Kevin’s dogs), but it’s a very different animal from the Q&A sessions the team has become known for (An Evening With Kevin Smith and its follow-ups).

Jay and Silent BobThey make no bones about the fact that this is a podcast, it’s pre-planned, and it has to wrap up within about an hour and fifteen minutes, and it lacks the surprises and improv of the Q&As.  The topics are scripted, but the exposition isn’t, and some surprising details emerge as a result -- some funny, some rambling.  Jason especially has a tendency to wander into strange territory, like when he’s waxing poetic about how badly he’d like to have sex with a girl with an accent, and suddenly they’re talking about the Elvish that Liv Tyler spoke in Lord of the Rings to summon water horses.  The jolting return to topic often elicits a laugh or two.

It plays out like a live, narrated diary, where they highlight amusing things that have happened in their adventures over the years and when touring the world, alongside pointing out and celebrating the fact that Jason has been off booze and drugs for about 690 days.  At one point they view the traveling podcast as a way of keeping him clean.  Sometimes when the topic shifts to his former addictions, the mood drops for a time, but always picks back up shortly thereafter.

The one thing I miss most from the typical Q&A shows these two have done is the audience interaction and how a simple question prompts Smith to go on for an hour (or three, as in Threevening) about something potentially way out there.  Compared to the topics of what it’s like working with Bruce Willis and Prince and Jon Peters and the trials, tribulations, and quirkiness that comes out of those monologues, hearing about how Jason forgot this wasn’t actually his first trip to the British Isles seems more “Yeah, I know a guy who did that,” for better or for worse.  It’s more down to Earth and relatable, but didn’t elicit the laughs for me the way insanity of the Q&A stories did.

For my money, Smith is the better storyteller of the two.  He finds more wordsmithy ways to weave interesting vocabulary and details into a story, whereas Mewes relies a bit more on obscenity and physicality to entertain.  The Q&As were almost exclusively Smith; Jay and Silent Bob Get Old has a decidedly Mewes slant if these few selections are any indication. The titles of the podcasts on their site seem to strongly favor Mewes as well.

The two have great chemistry, though.  They play off one another well, grew up in the same town, and Smith has the words Mewes is reaching for at any given moment.  They've knows each other long enough to have a keen sense of what will make the other crack up.  It’s like watching a couple of friends hang out, which is the point of the podcast in general. In that regard, it succeeds, and if you’re already a fan of the podcast, this adds a visual component to the antics.  This is at its best for the “Let Us Fuck” segments at the end of the show, where they work with the audience to devise a new sexual position given a title they make up on the spot.  That’s the entirety of audience interaction on display here, though, and given the rest of the show is two guys sitting around talking about their dicks and stories from their childhoods, seeing it over hearing it doesn’t add that much to the overall experience.

There are excerpts in deleted scenes that were presumably excised from the final cut because they just ran on too long.  It’s not like they’re significantly less entertaining than the rest of the content on the reel or anything.  There are those couple of clips, then some standard intro/outro scenes of mainly Jay exploring London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

What it boils down to is whether it’s worth paying to see what amounts to a radio show being performed by two guys sitting at a table.  The audience participation is minimal, the venues aren’t noteworthy, and the few shots taken outside the theater are cheeky at best.  Some people pay a premium to see Howard Stern or Bob and Tom produce their radio shows.  If that sort of behind-the-scenes factor appeals to you or you’re a View Askew (Smith’s production company) completionist, this DVD was made for you.  Everyone else can get by comfortably sticking with the audio-only podcasts over at Smodcast.

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