Born: June 12, 1974
Date of Birth: June 12, 1974
Hailing from New Jersey, Mewes graduated from Henry Hudson Regional in 1990 with his good friend Kevin Smith. After a few months in college and film school, Smith worked at a local store with Mewes. Mewes eventually landed a job at the video rental store close by, and Smith had his inspiration for Clerks. Once the script was complete, he asked Mewes to play the role of Jay. With only a little acting experience in school plays, Mewes accepted the part, thinking it would be fun. Clerks was made after hours at the store where he worked during the day. As Jay and Silent Bob, the two played an idiosyncratic pair of suburban drug dealers, providing brief comic moments throughout the film. Jay's ramblings were often interrupted by a rare moment of wisdom from Silent Bob.
Clerks was hailed at festivals worldwide and became a cult classic. Mewes wasn't prepared for the film's success. "It was weird. All of a sudden Kevin told me that the movie got bought and was gonna be shown in a movie theatre. I was shocked. I was psyched." In fact, after the film was made and distributed, Mewes got back to regular work as a roofer and continued to work until he was called in to do Smith's next two films, Mallrats and Chasing Amy. Following the success of these films, he bided his time working behind the counter at Smith's comic book store.
Now well known, Mewes and Smith started doing a number of MTV commercials playing their famous characters. Mewes also made a rare appearance as a character other than Jay in the indie film Drawing Flies (1996). Although he seemed doomed to be typecast as Jay for the rest of his career, Mewes didn't seem too concerned. When asked about his typecast role he said, "In Kevin's movies I would like to stay Jay. But, yeah, I'd love to do something else in someone else's movie." After once again landing the role of Jay in the 1999 comedy, Dogma, he continued to play Jay in following productions like the series, Clerks: The Animated Series, and films like Scream 3, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks.