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Kevin Smith engagingly overshares about his recent heart attack on The Late Show

Kevin Smith, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

It’s not really a stretch to say that Kevin Smith has become much more entertaining in person than in his films over the years, with the writer/director/podcast maven/raconteur’sHollywood name-dropping one-man shows providing a charmingly self-deprecating running commentary on Smith’s life and career. So much so that, during a taping of his latest standup special, the unfortunately near-prophetic-in-its-vulgarity Silent But Deadly, Smith essentially almost talked himself to death. On his Tuesday appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Smith told Colbert how he didn’t recognize the symptoms of what turned out to be a massive heart attack after taping the special (which has been picked up by Showtime for a May 11 debut) until his chipper doctor revealed that the director had suffered a “100 percent blockage” in his left anterior descending artery, which, Smith claims, is called “the widowmaker,” since some 80 percent of people with his condition don’t make it.

Being Kevin Smith, the filmmaker—looking ruddy and trimmer after some doctor-ordered, post-surgery weight loss—took off on a digressive, funny, and typically graphic description of pretty much every aspect of his health scare. (They had to shave Smith’s groin for the procedure, leading to him telling Colbert, “I have body shame issues and my junk is small,” for example.) Colbert, for his part, was left, like his audience, just enjoying the telling, as Smith endearingly talked about his groggy serenity at the prospect of leaving a life that’s been very good to him, and extolled the virtues of pulse-slowing weed during a cardiac event. (“I’m putting that on a T-shirt,” Smith said of his doctor’s diagnosis that Smith’s pre-show joint probably saved his life.) Wrapping up with the claim that his already-booked Late Show appearance was the one thing that kept him tied to the mortal plane during his February near-death experience, Smith thanked Colbert, too, while Colbert could only reply that, next time Smith’s on, Colbert hopes he gets to actually ask him a question.


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.