In the top drawer of my dresser, there is a ticket stub to a Q&A Kevin Smith was supposed to do at K-State back in the late '90s, which he canceled, due to breaking his leg. I held onto it, because it was supposed to be rescheduled. The reschedule date was also canceled, because his daughter Harley was born.
So, when I say that Smith's Saturday night appearance at the Midland was something for which I'd been waiting 10 years, I am not exaggerating in the slightest.
And thank fucking God, Smith didn't disappoint. From his opening words, "You make it very clear I'm not too fat to be loved," he killed. The man is a master storyteller. Seriously, he could quit making movies forever, and just make a living as a "spoken word" performer.
For three hours, Smith took questions from the audience and riffed on various topics, most related to making movies. The questioners were usually trying for some way to draw attention to themselves, be it a woman who got her photo taken with Smith on stage, a guy trying to get Smith to make a movie with him, or the girl with a Rebel Alliance logo tattooed on her happy trail (who was attractive and surprisingly single, thus resulting in a flurry of men offering to date her).
Smith managed to stay away from certain hot-button issues that have been popping up via his Twitter feed. Regarding his recent "too fat to fly" problems with Southwest, he said only, "I've had some recent issues with an airline, and let's just leave it at that."
His recent declaration against critic managed to be avoided, as well -- actually, it's fairly unsurprising that the questions weren't meant to inflame passions or get anyone in a tizzy. Smith was speaking to the faithful, and there was no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, the reason the show was held at the 1700-person Midland was because of successful Kansas City screenings for both Clerks 2 and Zach & Miri Make A Porno.
"That's View Askew country," Smith said.
The audience was diverse, certainly. There was a young gay black man wanting to get hooked up with Smith's friend Malcom Ingram, the aforementioned tattoo-sporting young woman, and several kids. A 13-year-old kid got on the mic, and Smith asked him, "Have I said anything to confuse you?" Evidently not, although the kid seemed rather nervous about having seen a grown man talking about ass-to-mouth with his parents.
Stopping at QuikTrip on 78th on the way home, I ran into a father with his two kids who'd been at the show. He took them, driving all the way from Medicine Lodge so that he could share the show with his 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son. That's cross-generational appeal, people.
The only negative reactions to Smith's appearance came from the Phelps clan protesting out by Consentino's, to which Smith said, "Ladies and gentleman...that was no protest. We had more people when I protested Dogma!"
Various one-liners that got big laughs:
On bears and cubs: "If you take out all the rectal, it's kind of sweet."
On Cop Out: "I've never worked with a movie star before -- don't tell Ben Affleck."
On directing: "You're getting paid to pretend -- fucking pretend, motherfucker."
On his fans: "I am them and they are me."
Deserving of mention is the fact that the ladies at the Midland box office, going on nothing more than my driver's license and press credentials that consist of a tattoo on my forearm reading "Rock Star Journalist," hooked me up with tickets after a snafu with my passes. They rule. Thank you, ladies.