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Kevin Smith to play four sold-out shows at Helium

When Kevin Smith made his breakthrough with the 1994 indie movie “Clerks,” the writer-director immediately and firmly established his persona: the verbose slacker obsessed by niche pop culture. But when Dante and Randal started debating plot points in the “Star Wars” movies, it was hard to remember that the space opera franchise (and its merchandise) had essentially vanished from the public’s eye at the time. Smith was one of the people who helped it roar back to life.

Times have certainly changed. The Internet has exploded, comic book adaptations rule the box office, and “Star Wars” is about to return with a seventh movie. Nerds seem to be ruling pop culture, and if Smith isn’t its fanboy king, he certainly is in the royal family.

While Smith’s career as a filmmaker never really rose above cult status, his gift of gab has attracted a devoted following. His passionate and funny oratory on all things nerdy has entertained fans on his AMC show “Comic Book Men,” on the podcast network SModCo and at his live shows across the country. He comes to Buffalo for four sold-out shows on May 17-18 in Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St.).

“Nerd culture seems to be at its apex,” Smith said at Chicago’s C2E2 convention in 2013. “That’s what’s amazing about this time in history in terms of entertainment. It’s fractured. It used to be about the (having) widest possible audience, but right now, it’s about having ‘a’ audience. And if you have a niche audience? Even better. Now they’re like, ‘Look, we’ll take less eyes, as long as those people are passionate because we can then sell (stuff) to them.’ ”

– Mark Ciemcioch

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