Kevin Smith Tells Us His Biggest Comic-Con Embarrassment (and What Happens When Scooby Doo Meets KISS)
For Kevin Smith, San Diego Comic-Con is like a second home. Since 1995, when he brought his film Mallrats (after the success of 1994’s Clerks) for a screening, the director/writer/podcaster has been to the fan fest nearly 20 times. And whether he’s pontificating (usually with well-placed profanities) at his own one-man panel or moderating for another project, Smith confidently connects with his audience because they know he’s one of them.
At this year’s SDCC, in addition to his “An Evening with Kevin Smith” presentation on Friday, Smith will be moderating panels for MTV’s Teen Wolf and Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery, a new full-length animated film that will be available in various formats on July 10. In the film, the Mystery Inc. gang travels to KISS World, a theme park centered around the legendary band, for a special Halloween concert. And of course, as luck would have it, some jerk named the Crimson Witch is scaring everyone off. Smith, along with his pal Jason Mewes, voice small roles (maintenance workers in the park).
“If you told me Scooby-Doo was going to be meet KISS in a cartoon, I’d be like, ‘That will never happen,’” says Smith. “No responsible parent would let that happen. But, years later, there it is.” Silent Bob shares how he got involved with the Scooby gang and reveals the most embarrassing thing to happen to him—ever—at Comic-Con.
How did you first get involved with Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery?
The film's director, Tony Cervone, reached out to me and he was just like, “Hey, we got two guys in this ‘KISS meets Scooby-Doo’ thing that you and Jason could voice.” And I was like, “Oh, God, totally.” The idea of being in a Scooby-Doo cartoon was thrilling. They didn’t have to call my agent or anything like that. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m on my way!” So we went over, and once it was done, [publicist] Gary Miereanu at Warner Bros. asked, “Do you want to moderate the panel?” And I said, “Of course, absolutely!” Also, you can put me in something because you know that [on social media], I’ll be,“Hey, I’m in this!” And the message goes out even further and stuff. Believe me, I know my role in the grand scheme of things. Nobody’s hiring me because they’re thinking, “He’s really going to bring depth to the role of screaming roller coaster attendant number two!”
How do you approach moderating a panel like the one you’re doing for Scooby/KISS on Thursday as someone with disparate personalities? This may be the first time that you, Matthew Lillard (who voices Shaggy), and Gene Simmons have all been on the same panel.
Yeah, I think by virtue of the fact that we’re talking about a cartoon, you’re going to get a disparate panel. It’s almost like a talk show panel, more so than a normal Comic-Con panel, because there will be some cats who don’t make regular appearances there. But let me see, I met Matthew once a long time ago. Gene, I was working with him at the end of last year, so I met with him and dealt with him, so I know his personality and stuff. Yeah, I’ll get out of his way on the panel because it’s his baby, it’s KISS, and I’ll just be his set-up man. Basically, I’ll traffic cop it. I’m going to be like Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, dude.
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What were you and Gene working on?
At one point there was a horror movie that he wanted me to do, and it didn’t work out. Not in a way of “Oh, f—k him,” but it just didn’t come together. I got to go to his house and go to dinner with him and stuff. Interesting guy. I mean, the dude’s an insanely sharp-tack businessman. Certainly knew how to build an empire and stuff.
In addition to the Scooby/KISS and Teen Wolf panels, you’ll be doing your own panel again.
The good news is that whatever year, there’s 364 days to come up with new stuff to talk about, and that’s pretty easy because the stuff that makes up Comic-Con is my stock and trade. Pop culture is kind of all I do, really. I don’t do real culture, I do pop culture. I’ve always felt very at home there. Generally, Hall H [the 6,500 seat venue] is filled with presentations of products and movies and television shows, and I think I’m the only one who gets up there and is like, “I’m just presenting…me!” So if you’ve got that many people gathered in a room and they’re willing to sit through your bulls—t and listen to you, oh my God, play to it. It should not work out, but so far, it’s worked out.
What’s one of your more memorable moments from Comic-Con?
One of the most embarrassing things to ever happen to me happened on a Hall H stage. I was introducing Tenacious D, and I got up, went up the stairs, and as soon as I got to the top of the stairs—BAM!— I f—king face-planted on the steps in front of 4,000 people. They weren’t like, “Ha, ha, ha!” There was that collective [gasp], you know, like, “Oh my God, he’s f—kin’ dead.” I got up and if I remember correctly, I was, like, “Wow, that was more embarrassing than Jersey Girl!” Then everyone laughed, and it was okay. But you know, it’s a wonderful room. Wonderful convention and wonderful room because it’s you, surrounded by 200,000 mirrors of you.
What’s the lesson to learn there, Kevin?
You know, own it. Don’t try to play stuff off. Like it was real, it happened. Rather than get up and say, “Okay, and now, Tenacious D!”, make a joke of it.
Can you even attend panels as an audience member at this point, or is it just impossible?
I could, but I think it would be, for people in the immediate area, distracting. Although, if you’re at a Marvel panel and they start new footage, nobody gives a f—k if Silent Bob’s in the audience. The good news about doing panels and Hall H panels that I’m not involved in is that I get to watch from backstage. So Friday night I’m the last [Hall H] panel, but right before me? The Star Wars panel. So I’m going to be backstage watching that footage up close on the TV monitors. It’ll be a blast, man.
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