Director and New Jersey native Kevin Smith is back on the mend following what he called a “massive” heart attack earlier this year, and as he said told Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin on Monday, it’s thanks in part to his new relationship with Weight Watchers.
“I joined Weight Watchers and they made me an ambassador,” Smith, 47, said on NBC’s Today. “So it’s me, Oprah, and DJ Khaled. I’m in pretty good company. We’re all trying to lose weight and stuff like that. Well, I am. I don’t know what they’re up to. So I got another 18 pounds for the doctor goal, but I think I’m going to try to lose 25 more pounds on the program.”
Smith stopped by Today on Monday morning to update fans on his condition, which has improved since a “widowmaker” heart attack — a 100 percent blockage of his left anterior descending (LAD) artery — nearly killed the Clerks director in February. At the time, Smith was unaware he was having a heart attack, and believed his condition was a reaction to “some bad milk,” as he said in an emotional Facebook video detailing the event.
Doctors saved Smith’s life with an emergency procedure that inserted a stent into his artery, which helped relieve the blockage. Since then, he has pursued a vegetarian diet and joined Weight Watchers, and lost about 32 pounds as a result, as Smith told Today. The director has long struggled with body weight issues, dating back at least to a high-profile 2010 incident in which Smith was removed from an airplane due to his size.
And yes, Smith, one of Hollywood’s most prominent potheads, was high for his emergency surgery, which his doctor confirmed with him beforehand. But not just on marijuana, given the circumstances.
“[The Doctor] was like, ‘Are you high?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I got blazed before my show, man. Maybe that’s why I feel no pain?’” Smith said on Today. “He was like, ‘No, you’re on fentanyl.’”
Doctors kept Smith conscious during the procedure, which he said left him feeling “great” after it was over.
“The doctor said at one point, ‘I’m going to open the stent now and you tell me if you feel better.’ The moment he did, I felt instantly better and it made sense because none of the blood was going through there for who knows how long. [I had] 100 percent blockage [for] years, so I wasn’t getting proper oxygen. So now I feel great.”
During the interview, however, Smith said he was “feeling fantastic,” thanks to pot.
“I’m a wake-and-baker, so I’m feeling fantastic,” he said. “I’ve been up since 5 a.m., I’m ready to embrace the day.”
Aside from his Today interview, Smith found himself in New York for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of All These Small Moments, a film starring his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, 18.
“I’m happy for her because it’s the first-ever movie she’s done without me, and that’s the most important thing in the world to her,” Smith said. “She’s like, ‘I don’t want to be in another Kevin Smith movie.’”
In 2015, Smith was set to film Clerks 3 in the Philadelphia area, but changed production to a Mallrats sequel, which then morphed into a television series. Initially, Granite Run Mall was to be the shooting location, but Exton Square Mall took over as the pick before plans for both projects were scrapped last year.
Since then, the Red Bank-born director has worked on another locally set show: The Goldbergs, for which he has directed two episodes. His last film, Yoga Hosers, which starred daughter Harley, was released in 2016. Silent But Deadly, an upcoming comedy special filmed the night of his heart attack, airs May 11 on Showtime.