Best ‘Clerks’ quotes, ranked

Clerks
Image via View Askew

These days, Kevin Smith wears many hats. In addition to being a writer and a film director, Smith has multiple podcasts including Fatman Beyond which he hosts with Marc Bernardin, and he often tours as he is doing now with his new film, Clerks 3. Let’s not forget how Kevin Smith got to where he is today and take a look at his first film, the 1994 classic, Clerks.

Clerks was initially made on an extremely small budget of $27,575, and it was shot in black and white. The funding for the film came from Smith personally as he used multiple credit cards, at least one loan, insurance money from a flooded car, as well as selling some of his comic book collection. The film was sold to Miramax for $227,000, and Smith suddenly had a career as a filmmaker. 

Part of what made Clerks so groundbreaking, apart from its small budget, was Smith’s dialogue. His characters would make pop culture references and vulgarity, reminiscent of when you’re hanging out with your friends. Let’s take a look back at Clerks and rank the 10 best quotes from Smith’s first film. Be warned that some of these quotes and their accompanying clips do contain profanity.

10. “Navy Seals!”

“Navy Seals!” is one of the funniest cutaway jokes in any Kevin Smith film, and it had to make the top-10 best quotes in Clerks. The line is exclaimed by a random customer of the RST Video Store as Randal talks about the worst kind of customers. 

Anyone who has worked in a video store, for a theater, or who has sold movies of any kind can easily empathize with Randal, as it represents all the people in the world who get excited about garbage movies. However, we are not disparaging the quality of Navy Seals with Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn. This is the only quote on the list that does not make sense if you take it out of context, but it still earns the number 10 spot.

9. “Noinch Noinch Noinch, schmokin’ weed, schmokin’ weed, doin’ coke, drinkin’ beers.”

Jay was given some of the most outrageous lines in the film, being the prime example of that younger kid that would always hang around the older kids in school and say the dumbest things to get a laugh, only his audience is the one and only Silent Bob. Of course “Noinch Noinch Noinch, schmokin’ weed, schmokin’ weed, doin’ coke, drinkin’ beers,” would not just be isolated to Clerks with Kevin Smith writing the song into other films as one of Jay’s callbacks. But its inclusion in Clerks cements Jay as being a loveable moron, instead of being the most unlikable character in the film. Making the drug dealers endearing enough to carry their own film was a weird choice in hindsight, but it did work.

8. “You know there’s a million fine-looking women in the world dude, but they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of them just cheat on you.”

Silent Bob only has one line in the entire movie, so it had to be on this list. “You know there’s a million fine-looking women in the world dude, but they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of them just cheat on you,” was the start of Smith giving himself a line in all of his films, and it might very well be his best line across all of them.

It being Silent Bob’s only line is enough to put it on the list, bringing it to number eight is the message of the quote. When you are young, dumb, and working at a convenience store, it can be easy to throw away a good relationship for something you used to have or chase a toxic love that you once had. Someone needed to look Dante in the face and tell him what he needed to hear, and it just so happened that someone was Silent Bob.

7. “This job would be great if it wasn’t for the f**king customers.”

“This job would be great if it wasn’t for the f**king customers” easily takes the seventh spot on this list because it is one of the most relatable quotes in the entire movie. Anyone who has worked in any sort of service industry, any job which has customers, or anyone who has left their house and met other people knows how annoying some people can get. The quote rings especially true when you are in a position where you are forced to do something for someone who is that annoying type of person; it is its own brand of hell. It represents the half of the movie that is Smith commenting on the service industry rather than commenting on his own personal relationships and might be the most honest quote in the film.

6. “That’s what life is: a series of down endings.”

If you have to pick one line from Randal and Dante’s conversation about Star Wars and the contractors who worked on the Death Star, this line is it. Their entire discussion belongs on this list as it represents every conversation fans have had regarding their favorite franchises, but this line represents their 20-something worldview as well, especially Dante’s. 

With that being said the Star Wars conversation debating which was better Star Wars: Episode V—Empire Strikes Back or Star Wars: Episode VII—Return of the Jedi. If you were to present most Star Wars fans with that question, the likely answer would be Empire Strikes Back, but Randal manages to complicate the plot of Return of the Jedi by suggesting that contractors were hired to rebuild the Death Star.

5. “Hey, try not to suck any d**k on the way to the parking lot.”

“Hey, try not to suck any d**k on the way to the parking lot” is a brilliant throwaway line, yelled by Dante to Veronica after she admits to having oral sex with 37 different guys. What makes the line even better is that someone waiting outside the Quick Stop walks to the parking lot after he says it, implying that he will try to become number 38. It brings a nice moment of levity to the situation after Veronica storms out of the Quick Stop and makes Dante look like a jerk, which is not necessarily a negative.

4. “I assure you, we’re open.”

Clerks Open sign
Image via Miramax

It’s not quite a spoken quote but, “I assure you, we’re open” is one of the most memorable quotes of Clerks, taking the fourth spot on this list. The reason for the signage in the movie is that someone places gum in the locks of the window shutters prior to the start of the film. When Dante sees this, he uses black shoe polish to create this makeshift sign which says, “I assure you, we’re open.” While this is a little less prominent in the real world, a quick Google search would find you some real-world examples of people using this sign as an homage to Clerks.

3. “If you plan to shoplift, let us know. Thanks”

Clerks Shoplift sign
Image via Miramax

This is another quote that is written in the film rather than spoken, and another that lives on in the real world. It’s not unbelievably rare to come across an “If you plan to shoplift, let us know. Thanks” sign in convenience stores or gas stations around the world. It is not one of those quotes where when you see it or hear it and burst out laughing; not many of the quotes in Clerks are. Over time, it will elicit many a chuckle, and combined with Dante’s exhausted and clearly “over his job expression,” it does exactly that.

2. “I’m not even supposed to be here today.”

Taking the second spot on this list and perhaps the most iconic quote from Clerks is Dante repeating, “I’m not even supposed to be here today,” throughout the film. From the very beginning of the movie, we are told that—like many other casual employees—Dante has been asked to go to work for a shift, even though he is not supposed to be working and has a hockey game later on in the day.

With him repeating it throughout the film, it is burned in our brains that everything that goes on in the store, from the Chewley’s gum guy to the old man dying in the toilet, was not supposed to be Dante’s problem that day. It also affirms how much of a pushover Dante is, which is the cause of most of his personal issues, and Randal points this out towards the end of the movie. Ultimately anybody who has ever been asked to work on their day off can relate to this, which is why it takes the number two spot on this list.

1. “37! My girlfriend’s sucked 37 d**ks. In a row?”

Easily the most memorable quote from Clerks comes right from the mouths of Dante and a random customer. Veronica tells him that she has “gone down” on 36 different guys, 37 when you count Dante. Dante responds with “37! My girlfriend’s sucked 37 d**ks,” bewildered, with a customer responding with “In a row?” With Smith’s fans, this quote becomes like a sort of involuntary tic, whenever you hear “37,” “in a row” will surely follow, whether you say it out loud or just think it. That makes it the best quote in the film, and one that has been imprinted in the minds of many fans of Clerks

There are easily more than 10 memorable quotes from the 1994 classic, Clerks, but these are the ones we feel are the best. It is not exactly a surprise to have so many memorable lines in a Kevin Smith movie, who is known for his tight screenplays. Let’s hope that Clerks III has the same effect in 20 years.