Stand-Up Review: Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly (2018, Showtime)
Full disclosure: I am a complete and utter mark for Kevin Smith. Also full disclosure: I don't fuck around with my stand-up comedy. The two are mutually exclusive. Being a fanboy will not give Silent Bob a pass. Stand-up comedians like Robin Williams, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, & Andrew Dice Clay were the bread and butter of my childhood and teenage years (hell, my entire life!).
The point is that if it's bad stand-up I will call it as such, generous though I may normally be in my reviews.
So, it gives me great pleasure to say that Kevin Smith has a natural stage presence & rapport with the audience that has only gotten better and sharper since the days of "An Evening with Kevin Smith" & "Evening Harder" (still one of my favorite titles ever).
Here's the thing about stand-up comedy: the most important thing is that it be natural. You have to believe that you're not seeing 'em sweat, as the old expression goes. I've seen a million good routines full of great jokes that had my brain screaming "you should be laughing at this!" The problem comes in the delivery and whether or not it's forced.
If you look like you are performing then you're dead in the water, at least for me. You should be either storytelling or having a conversation with that audience that's paid good money and taken the time in their lives to come see you.
By God, the man can tell a story in my language.
My wife of 20 years (my Jen, if you will) were in tears at the Spokane Amendment story (and all of its side-tales). There wasn't a note of bullshit there or in his relationship with his kid. It's real shit told in a real way by someone who knows how to be funny without busting his ass to try. I wouldn't think you could build a show around a story about a blowjob with a quick nut and his wife's ensuing shock at his ability to cum so quickly, but leave it up to the man with a "filthy mind and a heart of gold" to do so. Bravo, sir!
He even finishes up the set with some real, heartfelt shit that was so positive (and frankly so utterly necessary for some folks to hear) that it brought a tear to my eye. And that brings me to the next part:
Kevin Smith nearly died right after this show from a heart attack.
Most everyone knows the story as it was widely covered by the media. My daughter (whom I had literally just watched Clerks & Mallrats with for the first time ever a couple of nights before) was shaken when I texted to tell her that Silent Fucking Bob almost died. She loved the movies, but she also knows what an impact he's had on my life and my generation, my people.
Vulgar, highly intelligent, & big-hearted, Kevin Smith is my personal spirit animal. His work has shaped my sense of humor and taste, but more importantly it's his story that has made me do exactly what his message at the end of the show was and that's CHASE YOUR DREAMS. If you're not inspired by a guy who charged up credit cards to shoot a black and white flick that's all dialogue and started a movement then you should be. It really is better to fail spectacularly than to sit there and wonder if that idea would've worked.
Particularly poignant was his "irritation" with people telling him how talented he is. Not feeling talented so much as being willing to stand the fuck up and go after it from a level playing field is the biggest the difference between the me who's chasing his dreams and the pussy of a few years ago.
Kevin Smith helped me find my voice. I'm damn glad he still has his. His brush with death after this particular show makes me think that George Carlin was standing next to God and said "Hold the fuck up. Not yet."