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An evening (two years ago) with Kevin Smith

Long, long ago, Kevin Smith came to Roy Thompson Hall to shoot a sequel to his popular An Evening With Kevin Smith DVD. It was November 17, 2004. I remember the date because I was hosting the second annual One Minute Film & Video Festival that night halfway across town, and Silent Bob stole half my audience.

So if this went down two whole years ago, why did it take until now for the Evening 2 DVD to finally see release? And what fool let Smith put the entire 2-hour recording of his Toronto appearance, unbroken, on the first disk?

Smith doesn't do prepared material; he just takes questions from the crowd and riffs endlessly on what they ask. The original Evening DVD cut together about a half dozen separate personal appearances by Smith at colleges across the U.S., meaning that the meandering crap was left out and some surprisingly revealing and entertaining storytelling segments were all that remained. (The Superman story, the Prince story, and many an Affleck story, have become cultural legend but hold nothing on the stunningly visceral account of his first sexual experience with his wife.)

Evening 2, unfortunately, runs Smith's Roy Thompson appearance pretty much straight. And somehow, audience handlers that night seem to have managed to locate a greater-than-average proportion of local dimwits to ask the questions.

OK, it's not that bad. It's a bit painful that the first Torontonian to grace the disk is a gormless idiot doing (without setup) a Bob and Doug impression, which (without such setup) will no doubt be interpreted by the DVD's American buyers as a fiercely realistic anthropological document of the modern Torontonian male.

And admittedly, it's fun to watch Smith expound upon such Torontonian mainstays as the midnight double double run and the city-wide fug we fell into when hockey went away for a little while in 2004.

Smith was in town shooting some episodes of his beloved Degrassi at the time, and identifies Canada as one of his favourite places to be. "[Superman's] world blew up, and the Earth became like his adopted homeland... and that's how I feel about Canada," Smith quips to the overjoyed cheering of the audience.

I kept scanning the audience for any sign of someone I knew but no such luck. I think I saw Ellie from Degrassi TNG at one point, but then, I think I see her lots of places. (Don't ask.)

The only supplemental feature on the Toronto DVD is a 10-minute bit in which Smith drives around the city and eventually ends up canvassing everyone in the back of the Silver Snail about the identity of Canada's national food. (Poutine, of course.) Otherwise Evening 2 is a pale shadow on its predecessor, but gets the amiable kitsch factor for the sheer recognizeability of Roy Thompson Hall, our people, and the dime bag of Timbits that an idiot named Jaws storms the stage to offer to Smith.

An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder is on sale now at DVD stores around town and will run you a measley $30.

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