Kevin Smith is a rare breed of filmmaker. Unlike almost every other auteur with name recognition and a loyal audience—Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, et al—he has become more popular than his own movies. His films do okay enough at the box office, but nothing like the monster business of his comedy soul-mate Judd Apatow. Smith’s last flick, the Seth Rogen-starring Zack and Miri Make a Porno, grossed $31.5 million domestically, a career high for Smith but only a few million more than another Seth Rogen sex comedy, Knocked Up, made in its opening weekend alone.
While Smith has yet to direct a bona fide blockbuster, he’s done pretty well for himself as a cult of personality. He’s one of the few movie directors—hell, maybe the only movie director—who can consistently sell out an auditorium. Could Martin Scorsese captivate a crowd for four-plus hours talking about his anal fissures and why Superman Returns sucks? Not likely. Could Wes Anderson do a solid stand-up set riffing on the time he busted a public toilet with his gargantuan ass? I’m guessing no. But Smith manages to turn his confessional and usually scatological rants into something approaching art. He’s released three best-selling DVDs of his stage shows—most recently last year’s Sold Out: A Threevening With Kevin Smith—and played to adoring crowds everywhere from London’s Piccadilly Circus to last June’s gig at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
I called Smith to talk about his new book, Shootin’ the Sh*t With Kevin Smith (available September 22nd from Titan Books), which is basically just a collection of transcripts from his long-running podcast (called SModcast) with producer pal Scott Mosier. Despite recovering from a weed hangover—smoking pot is a relatively new habit, introduced to him by Seth Rogen—Smith was chatty and sharp, riffing on subjects as diverse as hockey players jerking off into the Stanley Cup and the innate adorableness of eating a friend’s sperm in omelette form. Okay, so maybe “diverse” isn’t exactly the right word.
Eric Spitznagel: I think we should probably start by talking about bukkake eggs.
Kevin Smith: (Laughs.) Absolutely, man.
This is something you discuss at length in Shootin’ the Sh*t. For those who might be unfamiliar with this term, could you explain exactly what it is?
Well, everybody knows what bukkake is, right?
Let’s play it safe and assume they don’t.
Bukkake is when a bunch of dudes ejaculate into one cup and then it’s usually consumed. So Scott (Mosier) and I were talking about the TV show Lost, and if just he and I were stuck on an island, how long we’d wait to fuck. And that somehow devolved into talking about whether we would cook up our own semen like egg whites.
Most people survive a plane crash, their first thought probably isn’t “I wonder if I could make an omelette from my own viscous fluid.”
Well it should be. Everyone needs to ask themselves that question, just in case they find themselves on a deserted island someday.
Sorry to go blue so early in the interview. I just thought it was a good idea to give readers a little advance warning about your book.
Thank you for that. Don’t bury the lede, man. I don’t want chicks to read about this book and think “I gotta buy that.” And then they get to the chapter about bukkake eggs and they’re horrified. “Dear Vanity Fair, how dare you?”
If bukkake isn’t something you already think is hilarious, you probably don’t want to read about the egg recipe.
Yeah, but I also think some chicks may find it less threatening and more compelling. Cause really, if you think about it, I’m talking about taking a friend’s cum and making eggs with it. That has nothing to do with harming a woman or using a woman in any way. So I imagine a chick might think, “Okay, it’s gross, but it’s also kinda cute. He likes his friend.”
(Laughs.) I’m pretty sure that’s the first time bukkake has ever been described as “cute”.
That’s my aim. I’m always trying to take the edge off that shit. That’s the stuff that binds us, man. Pooping, fucking, farting, we all do it. It’s the common unifier. It’s what makes us human.
I’m still not sure if I should thank you or hate you for introducing us to the Dutch Rudder.
(Laughs.) Yeah, I gotta blame that on my DP, Dave Klein. He explained the concept to me and I thought it was adorable.
Now how exactly does that qualify as adorable?
It’s a way of going gay without going gay. We shouldn’t have called it the Dutch Rudder, we should’ve called it the Gretzky, cause it’s a total assist.
Shootin’ the Sh*t is a collection of podcast transcripts. And your last book, My Boring-Ass Life, was a collection of blog entries. Did somebody challenge you to see how many books you could publish without ever writing an actual book?
That’s just the genius of (my publisher) Titan. They came to me and said, “Hey, can we put your blog in book form?” And I was like, “Yeah, go ahead, man. That would rock.” Because it was like an insta-book. I’d already written it. Meanwhile, if they’d been like, “We’re hiring you to write a book,” it never would have happened because I’m so fucking lazy. They did the smart play. They said, “You already did all the work. Just write an intro and we’ll put it out.” Then they suggested transcribing my podcast, and I was like, “Really? I don’t know if it’ll read because it’s all about the inflections.” But it reads insanely well. When they sent me the PDF, I was reading it and laughing out loud at my own shit.
What’s your next book going to be? A bunch of voice-mail messages?
I’m hoping for a collection of Twitter quotes. Because that’s all that’s left. At this point, I think I’ve published everything I’ve ever written. I feel like a backdoor author, which sounds very sexy and homoerotic. But honestly, I don’t consider myself an author. What I do barely qualifies as writing. The new book isn’t really writing at all. It’s just a transcript. The people who did the transcribing deserve to be called the author more than I do. They actually wrote everything down.
But it’s still got to feel good, right? You may not be the next Thomas Pynchon, but you can call yourself a thrice published author. That’s gotta deserve a little respect.
Oh, dude! When my last book came out, I got blown something fierce, and that’s rare for me.
I’m going to assume you’re talking about your wife.
(Laughs.) My wife is a very educated lady and not very easily impressed. She’s not what I would call a fan of my stuff. She doesn’t hate it, but if we weren’t together, I doubt she would ever go out and see a Kevin Smith movie. But my books have been a real turn-on for her.
Your honesty is refreshing. Not a lot of authors will come out and admit, “I write books for the oral sex.”
Usually my wife just likes to fuck. She isn’t into foreplay. She’s always like, “Why are we bothering with this? Let’s just fuck already!” She fucks like a man. But can you blame her? If you were with me, would you really want to be below the gut? It’s a smart play for her, because at least she knows she isn’t going to get crushed. She won’t have to look up at my gut and go, “Oh my god, I can’t even see his face. All I can see is a hill of gut with a belly button on top of it.” But when My Boring Ass Life came out, she totally fucking blew me. So as you can imagine, I’m pretty fucking excited about Shootin’ the Sh*t. I got an advance copy from the publisher the other day, and I showed it to her and I was like, “Huh, huh?” She was impressed, but we were in the midst of a two-day ongoing fight, so I couldn’t close the deal.
You’re not shy when it comes to sharing intimate details about your sex life. How in the world are you not divorced yet?
I have absolutely no idea. I know it’s kinda unfair to her. I mean, it comes from a true and honest place. I dig her, and I’m a huge fucking fan. But sometimes I’ll say things about her and she’ll be like “Are you out of your fucking mind?” One time she came to a Q&A and saw me tell a story about the first time we fucked. I’d been telling this story for like two years at that point, and I’d gotten it down to a really stellar streamline. But it has this horrible notion at the center of it, that pretty much every parent and health official would rail against as being really irresponsible and horrible.
I’m afraid to even ask. Did you slip her a roofie or something?
No, nothing like that. First time we fucked, we’d been dry-humping for a few hours before it happened. She was grinding her crotch into my lap through the jeans, and cut my dick open right under the head.
Oh Jesus, I didn’t need to know that!
This is the first time we were together, first time we’d ever kissed or anything like that. After my dick got cut, she was like “I’m gonna go light some candles,” and I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh my god, this woman wants to fuck me and I’m in agony, absolute agony.” I didn’t think I’d ever have a chance to fuck somebody that good looking ever again, so I’m like, “I’m going for it.” And I didn’t even have a condom, dude. How irresponsible is that?
It’s the dictionary definition of irresponsible. You had sex with your future wife with a bloody, condomless dick. You have outdone yourself, sir.
It had a happy ending, because we fall in love and get married and have a kid. But that moment was pretty horrible. So anyway, I told that story at the Q&A, and afterwards my wife was like “I can’t believe you’re telling that fucking story!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it’d already been on DVD for a year. (Laughs.)
Has she learned her lesson? At this point, she’s gotta realize that if she wants any privacy whatsoever, she needs to keep you on a short leash.
She’s a don’t ask/don’t tell kinda gal. She sometimes asks me, “Do you write about trying to fuck me on Twitter?” And I’m like, “Yeah, sometimes.” She just rolls her eyes and says, “Ugh, I just don’t want to know.” But I think she secretly digs it. If I stopped, she would be mortified.
She’d be mortified if you didn’t tell strangers about fucking her with a bleeding penis?
Here’s a perfect example: During our first three years of our marriage, I always carried around a camera. She’d harp on me about it, “Stop taking pictures of me, blah blah blah!” And then one day I just stopped, put away the camera and forgot about it. Two years later, all I hear is (in a despondent voice) “You never take pictures of me anymore.” So I know my wife. I know how her head works. If I stopped talking about her, she wouldn’t be happy. She’d be like, “You used to talk about fucking me all the time. What happened?”
After your pro-Twilight rant at ComiCon this summer, you got a lot of new underage fans on Twitter, and you even had to warn them that you “tweet about anal with my wife alot.” Have your numbers dropped?
I expected that to happen. I took a picture of my number before putting up the “anal with my wife” tweet. And then I said, “I’m gonna check it in two hours and see how many are left.” But it didn’t change. If anything, my numbers went up, which is strange. I think most of the people who joined after the whole Twilight thing were older anyhow. They weren’t 14-year-old girls. And thank god, because what am I gonna say to a 14-year-old? I think the people who really responded to what I said are the Twilight moms, the 35-and-up cougars got into it because of their teenage daughters. Have you heard that they’re doing a bunch of Twilight conventions now?
Is that something you’d seriously consider attending?
It’s the place to go if you’re looking to get fucked by a 40-year-old woman. I guarantee it. They’re away from their husbands, their daughters are all safely screaming at Rob Pattinson. Trust me, all those 40-year-old moms will be in the bathrooms, fucking the 20-year-old guys working the con. I think Twilight moms are dirty. Think about it, man. They like Twilight, a book in which the main character is kinda a stalker. He bosses around his girlfriend and she’s all like “I can’t live without him!” You gotta imagine, this is shit that a lot of those Twilight moms haven’t experienced in years. Women get married and their husbands usually stop with the romance. Twilight takes them back to their youth, makes them feel wild. “Oh, I would like to abandon myself to a vampire” and shit like that. I’m telling you, there are gonna be cougar moms at these cons just gloryholing in the bathrooms. If I was a single man, I would definitely be at every Twilight con I could find.
I don’t know, the whole Twilight thing still scares me. It seems like the hardcore fans would insist on a little biting during sex.
That’s fine with me. As long as I’ll be coming later or at some point, they can bite me as much as they like.
You’ve said that while watching the Twilight trailer with prepubescent girls, you could “feel the room get moist.” You have a 10-year-old daughter who’s an admitted Twilight fan. Are you in any way disturbed that maybe, just maybe, she might be one of those girls getting moist?
(Laughs.) No, not at all. I know from the moment my wife got pregnant that whatever was in her belly was going to fuck one day. And I knew it was a 50-50 chance it was going to be a girl. We’ve been trying to raise our kid as a lesbian, ’cause men kinda suck, but she seems to like boys. What can I do? I was fucking by the time I was 12. Maybe she will be too. She’s genetically mine so she’s predisposed to act in the ways that I acted. I figure that my job as a parent, as a father, has always been to love her mother like crazy, so that when she jumps into relationships, or picks somebody to fuck, she’ll be like “I’m not going to fuck an idiot. I’m going to fuck somebody who treats me like a goddamn queen and writes on the Internet about how much he enjoys fucking me.”
(Laughs.) I don’t think there’s a father on the planet who’d agree with that. “I just want my daughter to marry somebody who isn’t afraid to write romantic odes to her pussy.”
(Laughs.) That’ll probably be my punishment for all this. My daughter at 18 will be writing all these horrible things online, and I’ll be “Noooo, I don’t need to know that! I don’t want to know!”
She’ll be tweeting something like “Just tried bukkake eggs. Not as bad as you’d think.”
Exactly. “Had my first four-way.” Aaiiiee!! Make it stop, make it stop! People always say to me, aren’t you afraid that your kids are gonna read all that shit you put online? Not really, no. I’ve never put anything out there that I’m ashamed of. There’s nothing out there that I’m like, “Nope, I don’t want my kid to see that!”
Well… the bloody dick anecdote probably isn’t something she needs to know about.
Whatever, it all worked out in the end. We got married and had her, and neither one of us had an STD. There’s nothing out there I don’t want her to know about. Except maybe Jersey Girl. I took enough shit for that movie, I don’t need to take any from my own kid.
Speaking of disturbing sex acts, you pitched your idea for a gay hockey movie at ComiCon, in which a bunch of hockey players jerk off into the Stanley Cup. How has Hollywood not snatched that one up yet?
Because nobody likes hockey. Except Canadians and they don’t want that version of hockey. But that’s next for me anyway. I may not do that particular hockey movie, but I’ll definitely do a hockey movie.
You’re talking about Hit Somebody, right?
Yeah, yeah, that’s the one.
Based on the Warren Zevon song co-written by Mitch Albom?
I just love that story so much. With Mitch and Warren, really all I can do is fail those two dudes. They did all the heavy lifting. They crafted a wonderful three-act story that just needs to be fleshed out a little more.
Mitch Albom seems like a strange collaboration for you. I’m not sure if you noticed, but the title of his book wasn’t The Five People Your Dutch-Rudder in Heaven.
(Laughs.) He just sent me his new book and I’m like “Wow, this is a book that nobody in a million years would guess that I’d get off on reading.” But it’s true. If you look at the stuff I’ve done, it’s very dirty and very coarse and very vulgar. But it’s also sweet and sentimental and very pure of heart in a weird way. Mitch’s stuff absolutely appeals to that side of me. He doesn’t work blue, but that’s what I like about him. A lot of people more talented than I am don’t need to work blue.
Given your history, I’m guessing you’ll eventually re-title the movie something unmarketable like Jockin’ Off or Fingering the Offensive Zone?
Yeah, that’s the plan. It’ll be something where people are like “I’m sorry, we can’t even put that on a marquee, let alone a newspaper.” We’ll change the title to something like Sphincter Fucking. Which is really weird because there’s no reference to sphincter fucking anywhere in the flick. There isn’t even a character named Sphincter. It’s just a completely random thing.
As I recall, Warren’s song is about a guy who endures horrific physical abuse because he thinks it’ll lead to personal glory.
Yeah, more or less. It’s essentially a story about somebody who wants so badly to play for the NHL but he’s shit at hockey. There’s nothing worse in the world than having the dream, the desire, the drive but having no talent whatsoever. It appeals to me because that’s how I see myself. All dream, no talent.
Oh come on, Kevin! You don’t really believe that, do you?
Of course I do, man. And that’s why I love about Warren and Mitch’s song. It’s a heartbreaking story of somebody who’s single-minded of purpose but just doesn’t have the skills to pull it off. This was in the mid-to-late 70s, when it was easy for a guy to get into professional hockey. They’d started up the WHA, and suddenly you had two leagues competing for the same talent pool. Talent goes away quick and what you’re left with is a bunch of dudes who can’t really control a puck. But they can fucking hit you hard. They can play a physical intimidation game. There are people with their names on the Stanley Cup who were just thugs, fighters, and goons. But there’s something beautiful to that because they wanted to play in the NHL so badly that they would accept that role, the lowest role in the game. I like that kind of dedication and devotion.
Do you feel like this might be the movie that finally breaks through for you and becomes a mainstream hit?
I don’t think so, but who knows? I’ve gotten cynical. I want to call this flick a fable, but fables have never done well at the box office. Then again, I obviously don’t care about box office, so fuck it, I’m calling it a fable. It’s a hockey fable. (Laughs.) As long as you set the bar low for yourself, it’s easy to make your goals. And then you always feel like a champion. You’re like “I did it!” And people are like “Well, anybody could’ve done that.” And you’re like “I know, but I set the challenge for myself!”
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in VanityFair.com)