I found out about the Q&A session at the Michigan Theatre thanks to following Kevin Smith’s Twitter account, and very quickly purchased a ticket for myself. I had heard of, but never seen, these events, where Smith fields questions from his fans and makes funny out of the answers. So it was poised to be an evening of new experiences.
There were two things about the Q&A that really impressed me. The first was the length of the talk. I figured he’d go for an hour, hour and a half at most. Instead Smith fielded questions for nearly three hours, it was an impressive display from the fat man. The other thing that impressed me, though in retrospect it should not have, was the way in which Smith engaged the people asking the questions. Instead of simply fielding the question and rattling off an answer he would oftentimes strike up a conversation with the questioner. And if he didn’t feel the answer he gave was satisfactory then he’d let the person ask a second question — often to the consternation of the questioner who wasn’t expecting to have to answer a follow up.
However, the biggest revelation of the entire evening had nothing to do with how almost shockingly forthright and profane he was. Nor was it his pathological self-deprecation. No, the biggest revelation of the night for me was that Kevin Smith is not “one of us.” By that I mean he has irrevocably crosse that line between pop culture consumer to creator, and as a person who trades on his position as the uber-slacker I found that striking. Now I am not saying this is a bad thing, nor do I think it’s something he himself would much deny. In fact, just recently I read an interview with him on the Huffington Post where he said that, if in not quite the same terms. In the session that night this was best illustrated when an indignant fanboy asked a question about the Disney/Marvel merger. It was pretty clear that the fanboy was expecting Smith to agree with him that the merger is a terrible thing, Marvel is ruined, and so on. Smith took the opposite approach, that the merger made good sense for both parties, and defended that opinion to the fanboy’s increasingly spluttering rebuttals. The striking this about this was not so much that Smith was in favor or the merger, but that he analyzed it from almost strictly an industry viewpoint. Admittedly most of the analysis was boilerplate straight from Bloomberg. But it was clear that he was not viewing the deal through the eyes of a fan, but as someone who works in the industry. As I said, this isn’t all that surprising — he’s worked in the movie business for fifteen years after all — and I’m sure I’m not the first person to mention it. Still, it was the highlight if the evening for me, though the guy who got his rear autographed as the template for a tattoo came close.
All in all, the evening with Kevin Smith was definitely money well spent. I’m not sure if I would go if he comes by again, but as a one time experience I’m glad I took the time to go.
Next up for the Roktoberfest experience, improg rock.