Photo courtesy of AMC
Most filmmakers would rather hunker down behind a camera than expose themselves in an anything-goes forum with fans. Not Kevin Smith. As he proved Tuesday at Acme Comedy Company, he’s a much more consistent raconteur than director, entertaining two sold-out audiences over a four-hour stretch.
The auteur behind “Clerks” and “Dogma” warned the early-show crowd that while the evening would be based entirely on their input, it was cheating to call it a Q&A since his long-winded answers would probably only leave time for two-and-a-half questions. In actuality, attendees were able to squeeze in about six, which ranged from an update on his rescue dog to a list of his favorite storytellers. Whatever the inquiry, Smith was fast, funny and generous. He made it clear that there was nowhere else he’d rather be – except maybe on the Acme rooftop smoking a joint.
These types of evenings can easily be hijacked by an overenthusiastic fan, which is exactly what happened in the final half hour when someone obsessed with Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales” all but rushed the stage. But Smith, who spent one day as an actor on the set of the notorious bomb, avoided a potential car wreck by turning his answers into a passionate defense of Kelly, a filmmaker more committed to seeing his quirky vision come to life than topping the box office.
A question about Smith's favorite storyteller opened the door to a treasure chest of George Carlin anecdotes.
He was less kind about Ben Affleck, who starred in “Chasing Amy” long before he put on the Batman cape, although it was hard to tell whether there was genuine animosity or Smith was just busting on a good pal.
“Do you think it takes talent to stand up here and talk about myself?” Smith said near the end of his first show. “It just takes memory.”
Not so. Riffing on a professional career that includes a movie about a guy turning into a walrus is a gift, one that keeps on giving with two more performances (8 and 10 p.m.) Wednesday night. Tickets will be scarce, but if you want to give it a shot, visit acmecomedycompany.com.