Non-fiction Weekend - Too Fat For 40

Too Fat For 40 Kevin Smith

Steve Taylor-Bryant spends the day immersed in Kevin Smith's Birthday celebrations as he watches the man himself tell some great stories in Too Fat For 40...

"There's a line where Apatow gets to and he stops, he dances on the line, he moonwalks on the line, and that's fine. I like to get to the line and say 'why are we here?' and then go over there where no one is. Unfortunately the audience isn't there either"

I like Kevin Smith a lot. I like his humour, yes a lot of it, as referenced in the performance, is 'dicks and Star Wars' but if you go beyond the obvious crudity in any of his Jay and Silent Bob films you'll find a real funny human being. I think the human being tag is an important one here as it’s very easy for us as fans (or haters) to hold our celebrity choices up on pedestals and forget that outside of the media coverage of their every moment there is an actual person with actual feelings and emotions and, with this show in particular, the real human side of Kevin Smith is brought out for all to see. This starts as a typical Kevin Smith show, you've all watched parts of them on YouTube so stop pretending you haven't, but beneath the film based stories of what it's like to direct Bruce Willis, how much of a wonderful guy George Carlin was and ripping Ben Affleck at every opportunity, there is an honesty and self-deprecating look inside the heart and soul of the funny filmmaker and you get to know what it's like to fail, to be picked on and to be publicly humiliated.

For those who don't know the story Kevin Smith was deboarded from an aeroplane for being too fat. He was lied to by the airline, who then panicked and tried to make things right when they realised that, after being thrown off, he'd taken to Twitter and ranted for a while (Smith has approximately 2.9 million followers so can do a lot of reputational damage to a company) and, as you could imagine, this is possibly the most humiliating thing that could happen to a person of size, you can multiply that by any extraordinary number you wish when you are a well-recognised star like Smith is. There is obvious anger as Smith tells the story but it's almost like he's grateful it happened as it sparked in him a period of self-study and that arms Smith with a lot of material.

Dotted through his long monologues and twisting roundabout ways to answer audience questions are some very humorous, belly laugh stories. When asked what it's like to direct Bruce Willis, Smith takes over an hour to answer and talks about his early successes, his disappointment at the bad reception to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, his time doubting himself, a fantastic 20 minutes on what it's like to pooh whilst stoned, and how a documentary on the life of Wayne Gretzky and particularly Gretzky's father helped Smith see he needed to try and stop making Jay and Silent Bob films and forcing himself, now late 30's, to make the films he did in his 20's. This brought him eventually to Cop Out and Bruce Willis, a story well worth the price of the DVD alone.

Too Fat For 40 Kevin Smith

“Can you write that down for my mom? She’ll be like ‘I knew you were special’ and shit”

He moves on to his current mode of transport, the rock star coach, and tells of life on the road, his relationship with his drivers, and his Marijuana smoking on his bus. This leads to an event at the Canadian border where he is arrested for drug smuggling, which comes shortly after the events of his next story - when he was surrounded by the LAPD after watching From Dusk Till Dawn on his huge television and a neighbour hearing the screams for help in the opening scene and thinking that Smith had kidnapped people called the cops.

All in all the main show is about 3 1/2 hours of a slightly more grown up Smith but still on sparkling form telling stories like an old friend. The bonus disc in the set has another 50 odd minutes of the Q&A, edited down slightly, but containing gems like when Jason Mewes sent a dope cake, and how many weddings Rev Kev is ministering this year, Smith's thoughts on 3D (which are the same as mine) and whether Jay and Silent Bob are slightly too old and creepy to be in Clerks III.. I know this show is now 6 years old but, as a fan of Smith, I've just spent nearly 5 hours in the best of company, but I think those of you that don't "get" the Silent Bob era should try again to love this slightly older, more wise yet still sweary Smith. You won't be sorry.

Image - Epix.