Sharing a workplace with Kevin Smith earned Jason Mewes a spot in the pop culture fabric of the late 1990s and into the 21st century with a string of appearances as motormouthed drug dealer Jay in the writer-director's interwoven comedies. Mewes' first appearance as Jay came with Smith's feature debut, "Clerks" (1994), which established the character's penchant for manic, stream-of-consciousness monologues, as well as his relationship with non-verbal sidekick, Silent Bob. The worldwide success of "Clerks" in the indie film market led to more appearances by Mewes as Jay in Smith's films, such as "Mallrats" (1995), "Chasing Amy" (1997) and "Dogma" (1999). The characters even got their own movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (2001), which emphasized their buffoonery over Smith's usual trenchant observations about suburban life. However, the sudden rush of fame seemed to have a detrimental effect on Mewes' health, and he struggled for several years with a very public drug problem before returning to acting in films like "Clerks II" (2006) and several independent features. His critically praised turn as an addled would-be porn star in Smith's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" (2008) indicated that his unique comic talents could have a life beyond the sweetly stoned limitations of Jay.