by Mike Corbett
Say what you want about Kevin Smith as a filmmaker, but there’s no denying the man can talk. His abilities as a raconteur lead to several successful speaking tours of college campuses throughout the country, and eventually lead to the creation of his juggernaut podcast network, SModco. As the crown jewel of the network, SModcast, approaches its 300th episode, I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to podcast that constantly inspires me to keep being creative and pursue my comedic goals. Mostly though, it helps to keep me sane at my desk job, by making me laugh like a maniac.
SModcast was launched in February 2007 as the latest collaboration between Smith and his longtime friend Scott Mosier. Together, with Smith directing and Mosier producing, they’d succeeded on the indie film scene with movies like Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and more. After coming to the realization that their conversations had become mainly about business, the pair decided to start a podcast, simply to give them an excuse to shoot the breeze with each other every week. With a new episode nearly every week since its launch, SModcast has earned a massive following, inspired countless other podcasts and even spun off into many other podcasts, now all part of the larger SModcast Network, or SModco. But with all its success, the formula has remained mostly unchanged; two longtime friends get together and riff on anything and everything; their personal lives, their film careers, weird happenings and every gosh-darn adorable Canadian news story they can find.
Regardless of the subject they’re covering, I always find SModcast to be a compelling listen, simply to experience the dynamic between Smith and Mosier. Friends since their time together in film school, the two quickly and effortlessly get on the same wavelength and being feeding each other’s creativity. Their conversations so often following the basic ideas of improv; give, receive, expand, and heighten. Over the course of an episode the pair will take a small idea and grow it to ridiculous proportions, exploring every angle, all with the kind of hilarious vulgarity you’d expect from the guys behind Clerks.
In recent times, these exchanges have borne fruit, in the form of Smith’s forthcoming film, Tusk. The film had its beginnings on SModcast episode entitled “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” In it, Smith and Mosier tackle the bizarre story of a Canadian man looking to hire someone to live with him, and wear a specially crafted walrus suit. After pointing out the many things obviously off kilter about the idea, Smith and Mosier began to think up a backstory for the man, his motivations for creating a walrus suit and the fate that might await any person who accepts the job. A week later, Smith was hard at work on the script that would become the film Tusk, which will be released this Fall.
The story of Tusk’s creation, for me, perfectly embodies the spirit of SModcast, and why I’ve become such a devoted listener. Behind all the dick jokes, and there are many, there’s a message: Be creative, chase down whatever crazy ideas you have and try to make them happen. It’s a message that’s there every time Mosier criticizes a film for being too predictable, and pleads with filmmakers everywhere to create something unique and original. It’s there whenever Smith talks about avoiding people who ask “Why?” at every idea and instead surrounding yourself with people who ask “Why Not?” It’s a message that is certainly there whenever the duo encourages everyone to start a podcast, if for no other reason than to see where it may one day take you.
While I’m a fan of Kevin Smith’s films, I can understand that some might view them as acquired tastes, and not their particular cup of tea. I’ve always found Smith to be sincere, passionate and humble, and all three qualities, along with his talented comedic mind, are on display in each episode. Scott Mosier is so often a perfect complement, earnest and straightforward in his opinions, with a quick wit that effortlessly keeps up with Smith. When the two get on a roll, it’s an extremely entertaining experience, and a great example of the comedy that can be created from two friends simply throwing ideas back and forth.
So, if you’re looking for a laugh, give SModcast a shot. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you to see just how far your ridiculous ideas can go.
SModcast is available on iTunes, or SModcast.com