On Thursday Feb 2nd, I was lucky enough to attend a special event called “Kevin Smith: Live From Behind” and even though that may sound like a porno starring the writer/director, it was actually an innovative podcasting experience that was both fun and impressive.
When I first heard about the event I thought the idea was interesting but I was a little skeptical. Basically Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (his frequent co-star who plays “Jay”) would be doing a live version of their podcast “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Canada with a Q&A afterwards, featuring questions from the crowd and from Twitter. The twist here is that the whole event would be streamed live to different theaters across Canada and North America.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a big Kevin Smith fan and this whole thing sounded pretty cool. But at the same time, I’ve seen the director live before as well as listened to many hours of his free podcasting goodness at smodcast.com, so I didn’t know if this live event would really offer anything new to me that I haven’t heard or seen before.
But the curiosity of what the experience of “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” in a movie theater would be like got the best of me. So I headed out to my nearest AMC that was streaming the event and settled in for a night of potty mouthed fun.
When I first walked in I noticed that the theater was on the empty side. There couldn’t have been more than 15 people including myself. Though to be fair, the theater I went to was in a small town outside of Los Angeles, so it was not a huge surprise. Luckily, the size of the crowd didn’t dampen the mood. The people were lively and sitting there with them made the evening all the better.
The show itself started with the podcast portion. I’ve listened to “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” since it started and have been interested in seeing it live at the comedy club they record at regularly. The difference of seeing it in a theater as opposed to live was felt right away. At first, it felt odd watching these two guys talk on a movie screen when they were actually in Canada, making me feel a bit detached. But that oddness quickly went away as the good feelings began to flow from the screen. After a while, the experience became so immersive that it felt like I was there in the room with them.
The podcast is basically Kevin and Jay talking about their lives. The experience of watching these two close friends talk for over an hour can get quite intimate as you peek into their friendship and personal lives. The conversation went all over the place that night and was funny, touching and odd. But it never once felt slow or boring, at least to the people in my theater.
Afterwards was a Q&A with Kevin and Jay for the remaining two hours. This part is where I was thinking of leaving early since I have seen countless hours of Kevin Smith Q&A’s, all mostly discussing similar topics. To my surprise, the people in attendance and the ones on Twitter came up with interesting and funny questions for Smith and Mewes to answer. One great example was when a man asked, “What kind of things should Batman fight?” Not a person per se, but random things such as heath care, the national debt, dolphins, and childhood obesity. Kevin Smith was so tickled by the concept that at one point he even joined in and the two went back and forth with examples of things the caped crusader should take on. The joke climaxed with a fantastically ridiculous concept about Batman vs Stephen Hawking. (You just had to be there.)
The technology for the whole event was quite impressive. The stream went smooth with only one or two spots of technical difficulties and the quality, while not the greatest, was good enough for the show. Not like we need IMAX 3D for two guys having a conversation, although, it would be the most epic conversation ever. I know that theaters do these types of events often with operas and concerts, but seeing it used for podcasting was truly a delight.
As a whole, the event left me with a great feeling. It was as if I just finished hanging out with some old friends and had some great laughs. I really like the idea of streaming these podcasts into theaters, since many people can’t make it out to a live show when these guys come into town. This gave the people who love these podcasts but live in smaller towns a chance to go out and have fun seeing “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” live.
If Kevin Smith does this again (he most likely will) and you’ve never seen him live during a Q&A or podcast, then you really don’t have an excuse not to catch one of these in a theater near you. Good times and more then a few laughs are guaranteed. The interaction and uniqueness makes this a must see. And with the success of such innovative entertainment, I hope this opens the doors for other podcasts to do the same and elevate this form of media that we all love so much.
Written by Jesse.