Kevin Smith is a terrible stand-up comedian. He doesn't bring the energy into his performance that most comics use to propel their performances forward through the ebb and flow of their prepared material. Wild gesticulations, mugging for the audience, and -- thank the Lord-- prop. comedy never finds its way into Smith's "stand-up".
And that is what makes it brilliant.
1997 Chasing Amy.
2001 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
2004 Jersey Girl.
2006 Clerks II.
2008 Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
2010 Cop Out.
2011 Red State.
Have questions for Kevin Smith?
At 3:00 pm ET this Saturday Kevin will be streamed live, online for 30 minutes and anyone with an Internet connection (you don't have to be an EPIX subscriber) can tune in and pose questions.
In his new Special, "Too Fat for 40" (EPIXHD, October 23rd, 9:30pm ET.), filmed entirely at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ, Smith stands in front of a set that recreates the famous QuickStop / RST Video store on Leonard avenue in Leonardo that is featured in 'Clerks', Smith's first movie. (Clerks devotees will notice that the name of the store has been changed to "Middle Age Stop" and "I Assure You I'm 40" is written [in shoepolish?] on a bedsheet, similar to the one in the movie.)
What makes Too Fat For 40 so enjoyable to watch is Smith's engaging style; he is not thrusting material on the audience; instead, you feel as if you are listening to a friend telling some truly entertaining --and very revealing-- stories about his life and his job.
Smith talks to the packed theater as if they are all sitting in his den. He is clearly talking off-the-cuff, frequently interrupting his own train of thought to throw in a quick, self-deprecating quip, and ending many of his sentences with 'and sh-t'. After just a few minutes, you feel that Smith is talking directly to you (and a few hundred of his other close friends).
What might be his most endearing quality, and what truly makes "Too Fat..." an entertaining experience, is his stunning candor. Either when telling the story about his removal from a Southwest Airlines flight earlier this year, getting high with Seth Rogan, or when Bruce Willis, the star of the Smith-directed 'Cop Out', removes the 'chuffa' from the shooting script, Smith reveals himself to be just... some dude. He is comfortable exposing his flaws, in a way that gives his stories both texture and context: This isn't a hig-power Hollywood insider explaining his greatness. He's a dude with a cool job, and he shares with us the cool, inside, interesting sh-t that happens to him.
Hopefully, Too Fat for 40 will find an audience outside of the Kevin Smith, Viewaskewniverse devotees that wouldn't miss this for the world: Were enough people to see this, perhaps his style of stand-up performance would begin to permeate what now passes for main-stream stand-up comedy. We'd all be better off because of it.