Randal Graves is a fictional character in director Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse, portrayed by Jeff Anderson. He was introduced in Smith's debut film Clerks. He also appeared in comic books, an animated series, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and a sequel to the original film.
Randal is a clerk at RST Video, located next door to the Quick Stop convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey. In the first film and the cartoon, Randal is a prime example of the typical slacker: He works in a dead-end job, has no respect for customers, and arrives at work late every day. He periodically closes the store (during work hours) to chat with his best friend Dante Hicks, a Quick Stop clerk. Whereas Dante believes that title dictates behavior, Randal does whatever he pleases. He has been known to order porn movies for RST Video in front of customers, spit water in customers' faces, and intrude on private conversations about sex.
One of Randal's ancestors, who was [Scots-Irish, immigrated to the New Jersey in the 17th century.
Randal's behavior at times appears contradictory; for example, he notes that he hates people but loves social gatherings, and says, "This job would be great if it weren't for the fucking customers." Such behavior spills into his relationship with Dante, whom he often coerces into highly unlikely, theoretical situations by manipulating him into feeling guilty. Randal goes off on an analytical theory of something outlandish, before going to the complete opposite. He might also perhaps be the worst confidant of all time, frequently causing an uproar in Dante's personal life by spilling secrets to those he shouldn't.
His life centers on movies, video games and pornography. He often quotes dialogue and discusses films, goes to other video stores to rent porn, and is often depicted in Clerks: The Animated Series with a porn magazine. His love life is nonexistent (at least in a romantic sense). The few relationships he had never lasted because of his nonchalant attitude; his ex-girlfriends were subsequently so fed up with men that they became lesbians. In contrast, it is implied he has a budding sex life, despite his overall pathetic existence; he has girls over when his mother isn't home and when she is, he brings them over to the Quick Stop. In Clerks II, it is stated that many of his sexual exploits are with "barely legal pussy" (eighteen-year-old girls), thanks in no small part to their willingness to take part in taboo sexual acts (such as what he and others refer to bluntly as ass-to-mouth).
Appearances after Clerks.Edit
A Clerks live action TV series was produced, without Kevin Smith's permission, by Disney in 1995. Anderson auditioned for the role of Dante, since his role was filled by Jim Breuer. Anderson later said he was glad he didn't get the part, as he thought it was "like Saved By The Bell". The series never aired.
Randal also appears in the three Clerks comic books Smith has written: Clerks: The Comic Book, Clerks: Holiday Special and Clerks: The Lost Scene, as well as a comic strip, "On the Perils of Cinema", that appeared in the November 1999 issue of Talk magazine. He makes very brief appearances in Smith's other comic book serials, Chasing Dogma and Bluntman and Chronic as well as Walt Flanagan's Dog.
He has a cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which shows him still hanging out with Dante at the Quick Stop. He makes a large decision (for him), finally plucking the effort to get rid of Jay and Silent Bob by getting a restraining order against them. He also appears in the 2002 short film The Flying Car, in which he asks Dante the hypothetical question of what he would sacrifice for marketing rights to the titular technology.
Randal features prominently in Clerks: The Lost Scene, a short animated in the style of the TV series, which, like the comic book of the same name, depicts the events at Julie Dwyer's wake that were never filmed because of cost.
Clerks: The Animated SeriesEdit
Randal is portrayed in the short-lived animated series as an immature slacker who often finds himself in abnormal situations.
- In the series' first episode (which was unaired by ABC), Randal assists Dante in bringing down key series villain Leonardo Leonardo and his "Quicker Stop" establishment. Gaining an idea from the television show The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer, he masquerades as a woman to bring Leonardo to justice.
- The series' second episode finds Randal and Dante locked inside the Quick Stop's walk-in freezer. As they pass the time, it is revealed that the pair were employed by the stores as early as 1985 and met as children in the 1970s (when Randal was also introduced to pornographic magazines; it would be more accurate to say that Randal vaguely acknowledged that Dante had just met him, and that he actually met Dante at some later time when he wasn't engrossed in the dirty magazines of a deceased diabetic).
- In the series' third episode, Randal provokes mass pandemonium after mistaking Leonardo's sickly reaction to rancid burritos as the deadly motaba virus, an act which, when Dante attempts to explain to others, ends up having others confuse Randal for Quentin Tarantino. The stores are quarantined and Dante must publicly admit to being gay in order to save the town from being vaporized by fighter jets.
- The series' fourth episode (the first aired by ABC) finds Randal (seemingly intentionally) talking Jay into suing Dante and the Quick Stop after slipping on spilled soda. Randal also goes on to act as Dante's lawyer, effectively dismantling his case.
- In the fifth episode, Randal beats his high school high score on a "Pharaoh" arcade machine, only to find out that, a la The Last Starfighter, the machine served as a secret government recruitment device to enslave Randal and others in subterranean pyramid construction. All his ex girlfriends became lesbians, making him think that after him no guy would satisfy them.
- While the sixth episode largely mirrors Clerks in terms of style, Randal nevertheless manages to indirectly admit to spying on the President of the United States (by making a prank phone call to Air Force One) and willfully admits to hating The Golden Girls to the point where he harassed actresses Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty.
Dante and Randal are the main characters of the 2006 film Clerks II, set approximately 10 years after the first film, with Randal now in his early 30s. In the beginning of the film, he and Dante get jobs at Mooby's, a new low-rent fast food restaurant, after the Quick Stop burned down.
As in his previous job, Randal goofs off while he is supposed to be working; he spends his day flirting with teenaged customers, berating the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and venting his depression at aging by attempting to relive favorite pastimes. The main plot of the film revolves around Dante's decision to move to Florida with his soon-to-be wife, which leaves Randal feeling rejected.
Randal arranges a donkey show for Dante's going-away party, but Jay (Jason Mewes), another character in the movie, congratulates Dante's fiance on being pregnant, unknowing that the store manager Becky was pregnant with Dante's child, a personal detail she thought he did not know. The donkey show goes on as intended, but Randal finds out too late that a man, not a woman, "performs" with the animal. Everyone in the restaurant, except Becky, is taken to jail, where an infuriated Dante renounces their friendship, leaving Randal devastated and angry. He tearfully tells his best friend that he loves him ("in a totally heterosexual way") and says the two of them should reopen the Quick Stop and run it themselves. Dante finally realizes what he really wants to do with his life, and agrees. The two go into business together.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Smith originally wrote the role of Randal with himself in mind while scribing the first Clerks. film. However, upon realizing that he couldn't possibly memorize all of the character's lines, especially in the lengthier scenes, he took the smaller part of Silent Bob.
- In the "View Askewniverse", Randal and Mallrats protagonist Brodie Bruce are cousins. Both have told sordid stories about a "Cousin Walter." In addition, in the comic book Clerks. (The Holiday Special), Randal makes reference to a sexual act as a "Bruce/Graves family tradition." They also mention a racist grandmother who may be a lesbian.
- Smith's high school friend Bryan Johnson was the inspiration behind the character.