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Whatever Happened To Jay & Silent Bob?

They're brothers by different mothers — a hazy but sharply drawn mix of Han Solo and Chewbacca, Batman and Robin, and Cheech and Chong. They're Jay and Silent Bob, everyone's favorite stoner duo; fixtures in such fan favorite films as Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and, of course, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The actors who played them in those movies — Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith — perform across multiple formats and venues, from film to podcasts to live shows at comedy clubs, to appearances at Comic-Cons and other regular gatherings of nerddom.

For Smith, who created the characters and directed the films in which they appeared, the pair are an extension of his fascinations with comics, cannabis, and comedy, as well as his childhood friendship with Mewes. For Mewes, the duo's cinematic exploits provided him with resources to explore the dark corners of addiction, a spiral out of which few thought he would emerge. That he did, and that Smith survived a harrowing health scare, gave fans hope that the pair might resurrect their alter egos in the movies once again — a hope they might soon fulfill. Let's take a look at what's happened to Jay and Silent Bob.

Jason Mewes gets clean

In a story he told Entertainment Weekly, Jason Mewes fell asleep on his sofa one Christmas Eve; he had heroin moving through his system and a candle he had nearby fell over, setting the sofa on fire. He woke up in time to avoid getting burned himself, but he recognized that he had hit rock bottom — he was addicted, and he couldn't shake loose of his habit. He soon drove from Los Angeles back east to New Jersey, turned himself in to authorities for a parole violation, and spent six months in court-ordered rehab. The experience of waking up to a fire he had caused sufficiently rattled him, and the lengthy stay in rehab led to a lengthy period of sobriety, which, with the exception of a relapse in 2010, has held to this day.

Today, Mewes considers how far he has come and is grateful his addiction didn't cause more damage. "Thank goodness [drugs] didn't either kill me or put me out of work, where people are like, 'I can't work with him because he's a total mess,'" Mewes told Hollywood Soapbox. "You know, I've gotten lucky to where I stay sober and be myself and continue to move on."

Jay and Silent Bob 'Get Old' ... live and on podcast

After Mewes rehabbed from his 2010 relapse, he needed something to keep him busy and clean. He suggested to Kevin Smith that the two record a podcast, something Smith had been doing for years and with which he had been pretty successful. Smith rejected Mewes' proposed subject matter (women and Star Wars) in favor of Mews discussing his addictions and sobriety, with the thought that speaking about his past would help his friend stay healthy. "To name it is to claim it," Smith told Rolling Stone, "just like going to a meeting."

The pair began recording the show, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, starting things off by discussing incidents Smith had documented in a series of blog posts called "Me and My Shadow," which he'd published on his website. They took their show on the road, recording conversations they had in front of a live audience. Doing the podcast had the desired effect on Mewes — he stayed clean. "In the beginning ... I remember you just have dreams about drugs or drinking or whatever and I would wake up and be like, 'Oh my gosh, we have a show this week. Now I have to tell everybody,'" Mewes told LAist. "And I'm like, 'Wait, that was just a dream.'" His stories and example have also helped others; he says listeners will approach him to tell him the show has helped loved ones stay sober.

Jason Mewes is a director now

A clean and sober Jason Mewes has shown that he's capable of doing more than playing a pot-smoking, pot-selling character in Kevin Smith's films. He was executive producer of Smith's short-lived Hulu talk show Spoilers with Kevin Smith. In 2013, he starred in Noobz, playing a video game fanatic who joins forces with his friends to turn their hobby/obsession into cash at a video game championship. The role wasn't a stretch for Mewes, who admitted to Hollywood Soapbox that he's something of a game fanatic himself. "I play a little too much, honestly," Mewes said. "I get in trouble with the old lady."

More recently, he directed the low-budget indie film Details in 2014 and directed and starred in Madness in the Method, which was released in 2017. In the latter, he plays an alternate-reality version of himself, who takes up the advice given to him by an alternate-reality version of Kevin Smith (played, naturally, by Smith) and embraces method acting, only to find himself going mad as a result. "You'll certainly see a sober Jason Mewes that you're familiar with to a point," he told Hollywood Reporter about his role in the film, "but juxtapositionally there's definitely a lot that you haven't seen. This role is pushing me to my limits, I'm not shying away from anything ... we're not afraid to get a little dark, and there are genuine moments of real darkness that I don't think you're going to see coming."

Kevin Smith gets caught up in Weinstein/#MeToo moment

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was head of Miramax Films and personally responsible for Miramax buying Clerks in 1994 after it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. That launched Kevin Smith's career, and for 14 years, Weinstein (under both Miramax and The Weinstein Company) helped finance and distribute Smith's films, from Chasing Amy to Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Behind the scenes, however, Weinstein was also personally responsible for sexually harassing and allegedly sexually assaulting a host of women who served in various capacities in the film industry. When Weinstein's behavior was made public, kicking off the #MeToo movement, Smith was flabbergasted. "He financed the first 14 years of my career," he said in a tweet, "and now I know while I was profiting, others were in terrible pain. It makes me feel ashamed."

In light of the Weinstein scandal, Smith announced he will no longer accept residual payments for films he made under Weinstein, which include the biggest hits of his career. Should the Weinstein Company fold without its titular leader, Smith says he'll give $2,000 per month for the rest of his life to the non-profit organization Women in Film, which advocates for gender parity in the film industry. "I was singing praises of somebody that I didn't f***ing know," Smith said. "I didn't know the man that they keep talking about in the press. ... It all hurts, and it didn't happen to me, but it all hurts."

Kevin Smith has a heart attack ...

On February 26, 2018, Kevin Smith had finished filming a standup set in Glendale, Calif., and was about to start another, when he started to feel nauseous. Between shows, he went backstage, threw up, and lay down on a couch to rest. He began to feel pressure in his chest and couldn't catch his breath. Paramedics were summoned and began administering life-saving procedures before taking Smith to the hospital. Smith said he didn't think it was a heart issue until he was told by doctors that he'd had a "massive heart attack" and required immediate surgery to look inside his heart and assess the damage the attack had done.

As it turned out, he'd had 100-percent blockage of his left anterior descending artery — a condition commonly referred to as "The Widowmaker" for the likelihood of it killing the person suffering from it. Doctors operated on him, but, as he told Today Show hosts Craig Melvin and Savannah Guthrie, he was awake the entire operation and was "very chatty," according to one of his surgeons. "He's like, 'You wanted to know everything,'" Smith said. "'You were singing a song — [the theme from the Canadian TV show] Degrassi.' And I was singing the theme song to Degrassi because it's very hopeful." Smith emerged from his heart attack with a renewed determination to adopt healthier habits — a determination he was able to maintain.

... But comes back, embracing healthier lifestyle

"The cure for the middle-age blues is to have a heart attack, kids," Kevin Smith joked in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. While that sentiment is obviously oozing with facetiousness, Smith does claim that he didn't endure much discomfort during his ordeal or after the procedure to fix it. (He had a stent inserted in the affected artery.) He'd smoked marijuana prior to having the heart attack, which initially he thought might have triggered it, but his doctor said the effects of the weed probably kept his blood pressure low during an event in which most people panic. Additionally, "a lot of people leave [the hospital after a heart attack] and go 'that was easy' and don't think about changing their lives," he said, and he felt similarly.

However, Smith was instructed by his doctors to lose 50 pounds, and he began his weight loss in earnest. He dropped a handful of pounds on an all-potato diet espoused by magician Penn Jillette, but soon branched out to a vegetarian diet, which helped him lose more than 30 pounds in a few months. Eventually, he embraced Weight Watchers and even became a spokesman. The difference is jarring, particularly when Smith posts before- and after-weight loss pictures on social media.

'Comic Book Men' gets cancelled

Comic Book Men, Kevin Smith's entry into unscripted "reality" television, began in 2012 as a kind of "Pawn Stars for geeks," according to NJ.com. Smith put out a casting call via social media for people who are "funny outgoing and have a knowledge and passion for comics, superheroes, movie memorabilia and everything that goes with it" to appear in the show, which would be set in Smith's Red Bank, NJ comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. The show interspersed scenes from inside the store — in which the staff interact with customers and celebrity guests, and respond to the occasional wacky challenge — with footage of the staff meeting with Smith in a roundtable format for the accompanying podcast, providing commentary on the action in the store. The banter at the roundtable was geeky and funny, and the in-store sequences were ... well, geeky and funny, particularly when actors who play or have played superheroes (like Mike Colter from Luke Cage, Marvel creator Stan Lee, or '70s Shazam actor Michael Gray) stopped by to chat.

After seven seasons, Comic Book Men's network, AMC, canceled the show, leaving fans more than a little disappointed. Smith responded to the fan outcry by letting them know he was pitching the show to other networks, and would keep them in the loop.

Jason Mewes gets out of the house

In addition to working on films as an actor and director, Jason Mewes ventures out regularly to tell his stories to eager fans who pack comedy clubs to get some time in the same room with their favorite filthy-mouthed on-camera pothead. One look at his tour itinerary proves him to be quite in demand, as he plays clubs, casinos, and other performance spaces with a show called Jay Mewes & His A-Mewes-Ing Stories, as well as live podcast dates with Kevin Smith and their Jay and Silent Bob Get Old show.

Mewes is also a favorite attraction at Comic-Con and Fan Expo events, in part due to the popularity of "Bluntman and Chronic," fictional comic book characters based on Jay and Silent Bob that made an appearance in Chasing Amy and were central to the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back film. Of course, the popularity of those films resulted in the creation of actual Bluntman and Chronic comic books, which likewise begat Bluntman and Chronic apparel, action figures, and other toys. Mewes makes appearances because, at heart, he's also a fan of geeky superhero stuff, and would likely show up at such events as an audience member even if he wasn't an attraction.

Jay and Silent Bob appear on ... 'The Flash'?

As a comic book enthusiast, Kevin Smith has taken many opportunities to be involved in comics-related properties, first as a writer of multiple-issue arcs for such titles as Batman, Green Arrow, Daredevil, and Spider-Man. When television networks started bringing heroes to the small screen, Smith became involved in directing several of them, including episodes of Supergirl and The Flash. One of his Flash episodes, Season Two's "The Runaway Dinosaur," is said to be a fan favorite. On a 2018 episode of the show's fourth season, Smith was once again in the director's chair, and also acted in the episode, along with Jason Mewes; they played bumbling museum security guards who ham-handedly allow a priceless tiara to be stolen while they're on duty. Those security guards bear a not-coincidental resemblance to Jay and Silent Bob. "It's not Jay and Silent Bob," Smith said of the cameo, "but Jason speaks and I don't. So there you go."

Smith also noted that the cameo almost didn't happen, because he couldn't wear his trademark "jorts" (denim shorts). "Honestly, I did not want to do it, because I knew it required that I wear pants," he said. There will be some reciprocation the next time Smith directs a film. At the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, Smith announced The Flash stars Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/The Flash), Tom Cavanagh (Harrison Wells), and Carlos Valdes (Carlos Ramon/Vibe) will all be appearing in Smith's next movie project.

'Jay and Silent Bob Reboot' is on its way

That next movie project is proceeding under the working title Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, bringing the stoner duo back to the big screen in a new adventure that, Smith admits, sounds like an old adventure. And it's not technically a reboot, either — both Smith and Mewes will reprise their roles — but a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. In that 2001 film, Jay and Silent Bob find out that there's a Hollywood film being made about their characters Bluntman and Chronic, but they themselves had not been consulted, nor would they see any profit. They travel cross-country to stop the movie from being made, and much hilarity ensues. In the new film, Jay and Silent Bob find out that a studio is rebooting the old movie, and the duo must once again go cross-country to put an end to the production. "It's literally the same f***ing movie all over again," Smith said. "It's a movie that makes fun of sequels and remakes and reboots while being all three at the same time."

Smith hopes that Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films) will make an appearance in the film, as he did in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. "Mark has threatened that he must be in it, so believe me, I'm going to include him in it as well," Smith added, admitting the sequel will be "a big cameo affair."