Jay and Silent Bob go live on the big screen

Kevin Smith's characters Jay and Silent Bob have enjoyed a life long beyond the run of their cult movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." The actor-director-writer (Bob) and his "heterosexual life mate" Jason Mewes (Jay) have made public appearances in character and have put out 64 editions of their podcast, "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old."

Now they're taking it live to a big screen. On Thursday, Smith and Mewes host a three-hour, one-night-only live version of their podcast followed by an interactive, fan-driven Q&A via Twitter.

Broadcast across the United States and Canada, "Kevin Smith: Live From Behind Featuring 'Jay and Silent Bob Get Old,'" will beam a live feed of this convenience-store-loitering duo from the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Canada, to more than 300 theaters. Twitter users can send questions for the event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PST Thursday, using the hashtag #LiveFromBehind.

"Essentially people who aren't in the same room as us can still be asking us questions, and that will make it even more fun," said Smith. "Rather than just making it this experience where people are like, I'm watching these two old dudes talk to each other on a stage on a movie screen."

There's plenty to talk about. Smith's new reality TV show, "Comic Book Men," comes to AMC beginning Feb. 12. It highlights the adventures of four clerks and friends of Smith in his real-life comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, N.J. A veteran of fan-generated Q&A's, having done numerous college tours as well as the special "Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40," Smith wanted to put on a different kind of event.

"I didn't think the Q&A would be strong enough because I do so many of those, and there's the DVDs and people can see it already on their TV screen," Smith said. "Why leave the house for it kind of thing? It wasn't until we started doing the podcasts live that suddenly it felt like, 'Oh, maybe this is it.'"

For those unfamiliar with the podcast, topics can range from the normal to the absurd, as Smith and Mewes discuss topics that include the characters Jay and Silent Bob and their personal lives. It's raw and real, but to pigeonhole the podcast as the obscene ramblings of these two cult heroes would be unfair.

"Really the show is about Mewes," Smith explained. "It's totally a show about a dude who's just struggling to stay sober every day. That's kind of the miracle of that podcast, is that Mewes has used every episode of it to kind of keep away from drugs."

"You're sitting there laughing as he tells some story about making 'Mallrats,' and then we get into the drugs of it all and suddenly it's heartbreaking," Smith said.

Beginning with "Clerks" in 1994, Smith has structured nearly two decades of work telling strange but human stories, finding ways to mix his unique and shocking brand of humor with what he calls "the real."

"Anybody can make somebody laugh," Smith said. "But if you touch them in the heart, you hook them in the heart with the real and just being honest — it's a bit revolutionary."

Smith hopes that doing his show live and nationwide will be the next revolutionary move for him. He's knocking down barriers by bringing "the real" to movie screens. "Not every movie has Batman or [Christian] Bale or Chris Nolan behind it, so you have to kind of use what you can," said Smith. "For me, the best way to reach the audience is make it convenient for them."


'Kevin Smith: Live From Behind Featuring "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" '

Where: See website for complete list of theaters

When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Price: $15, fees vary per theater

Info: livefrombehind.com

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