If you’ve been down with Black comedy for the past decade you’re probably familiar with the name JB Smoove. If you’ve been in tune with television comedy over the last five years you definitely know the name. Having appeared on shows like Everybody Loves Chris and Saturday Night Live, the comedic vet hit the big leagues with recurring roles on FOX’s Til Death and most popularly HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Before he begins shooting the seventh season of Curb this summer (his third), he’ll be hosting Russell Simmons Presents Stand Up at the Elray. VIBE caught up with the mad man behind Larry David’s Leon (pause) for shits and giggles.
Throughout your career, you’ve performed a number of hilarious characters but Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Leon is your most popular. What can we expect from Leon this upcoming seventh season?
Oh as we speak I’m working on a whole new slew of Leonisms. First season I came back with “I dooz it” and “I brings the ruckus to the ladies.” Second season I had to put the dizzle on ‘em and how to get in that ass. Then I got into Kramer’s ass. Oh and I also Danny Dubersteined it last season. Next season I’ma have to come with all new fresh stuff ‘cause the ruckus is spreading like wildfire now. It’s like a virus. Everybody’s catching it.
No homo but best Leon scene of all time is when he schooled Larry on how to get in someone’s ass that disrespected him.
Life is your ass. When you’re at your sickest point in your life the bullshit comes out of your ass. When they mad at you nobody says I’ma kick you in ya heart. They say I’ma kick you in the ass. Cause it’s most vulnerable. Your heart is protected by ribs and tissue. You know what your ass is covered by? Pants and underwear.
What’s the difference between doing an HBO sitcom versus one for FOX?
It’s a big difference. One is scripted and the other is unscripted. When we off the dome we in the moment. I don’t know what I’ma say to Larry. What happens in improv is you create your own storyline. You gotta improvise in life. You gotta improv if the police pull you over. You gotta say something to get you outta that shit. You in bed with a lady you gotta improv. You gotta bring it. You can’t plan that shit. You can’t be like I’ma stick it here and lick her here. She may not like her ass licked. She may be like “Wait wait, what the fuck is you putting that strap on for?”
Your most current project is Russell Simmons Presents Stand Up at the Elray. How did you land that hosting gig?
You build relationships. Even if they don’t pan out now they may come back later. I met Russell first season of Def Jam Comedy Jam and he said one year we gonna do something. All you wanna do in life is do what you do well. That’s when you’re happiest. If a guy calls an escort service and he asks for Karen all the time, it’s ‘cause he know Karen gonna do her thing. When you in one of them nasty bathroom stalls, whose name is always on the wall to call for a good time? Karen. If you sitting down to take a shit and you feel like writing “For a good time call Karen” she must be a hell of a woman.
Russell is legendary with comedy executive production. So it must have been an honor to be hand picked by him.
That man is rich. He got his own credit card. You know how hard it is to get that credit card? I’m hosting his show and I can’t even get one. So when Russell say host some shit you host that shit. Russell Simmons presents chlamydia you gonna be there. It could be the Ganurea show, just do it. You can be in that motherfucker burning like a motherfucker but you don’t care cause Russell Simmons presents. You gotta do it.
What else you got in the works?
I’m on tour selling out shows. I’m having a ball. I’m booked now ‘til end of year so I can’t complain. I’m also working on this new Gillette campaign. And I’m doing something with Reebok. I have a chance to attach my production company Four Square Miles, Inc to these products. If they gonna allow me to come in there and improv, do what I do, and throw ideas out I might as well get a cut off that. That’s what producers do anyway, right? –Bonsu Thompson