J.B. Smoove Pairs Good Food And Great Conversation With Return Of 'Four Courses'
Funny man J.B. Smoove is making bread off his TV dinners. After bringing the laughs in Chris Rock's Top Five, the seasoned comic is returning for Season 3 of Four Courses with J.B. Smoove, having several seats with world-famous athletes, like John Starks, to astrophysicists, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, for good food and even better conversation.
Before Four Courses touches down at New York eatery, Hudson Malone, tonight (Jan. 19), Smoove dialed in from Los Angeles to discuss this season's guests and his tips on hosting a loaded feast.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)
VIBE: Four Courses is back at it again. What are some changes in the format we can expect to see?
J.B. Smoove: Every season, we have a different array of athletes, comedians, actors, musicians, astrophysicists—it doesn’t matter. This season, we turn it up a notch. I’ve definitely expanded my guest list. I tell all my guests, 'Although you’re being invited to sit at this table, it’s about everyone interacting with each other.' It really feels like a bunch of friends just having dinner. It’s that simple.
What were some meals you had?
I had a chicken dish [that] involved a brick. Somehow, you put something in a metal pan and then they put a brick on top of it to hold it down. I found that to be so amazing. It was delicious. I never had anything on a menu that involved the word "brick." When we have a dish [on the show], I always ask 'Have you ever had this before?’ Some people are very hamburger and hotdog people, pizza people. I want to give people a chance to experience a nice meal and get treated by your boy like this.
Was it ever mandatory for either you or the guests to take an etiquette class?
No, not really. The cameras don’t really focus on people’s hands for etiquette, but some people just talk with their mouth open. So I gotta tell [the cameraman] to cut from those people. I don’t mind you talking a little bit with your mouth open but I don’t need to see your esophagus.
In terms of the lineup, you have a great cast of people from Russell Simmons to an astrophysicist to Sherri Shepherd. Who surprised you the most in terms of demeanor or taste?
Every personality at that table was something else, man. Some of the people I met for the first time [are now] longtime friends all of a sudden. It’s the perfect platform to meet people. You kind of forget the cameras are there. Russell is always good, Sherri Shepherd was absolutely amazing. When she came to the show, she was actually appearing on Broadway and I’m happy she took the time out to come on by. Larry Johnson was back this season; he always has the best stories. All the shows are great but the show with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, and Gilbert Gottfried was really, really an awesome show. That might have been one of the best shows we had this season.
Was there anyone you really wanted to appear on the show who couldn’t make it?
I wanted so many people on the show. It was a weird week. There were other big events going on around the country in Vegas and L.A., like big award shows or major athletic events so it was hard to get certain guests. One major person I wanted was Terrell Owens. I wanted Louis C.K. I wanted Chris Rock. Everyone wanted to show out but it just didn’t work out. There’s always next season.
You also have Garden of Laughs coming up as well.
That’s going to be great. Great comics, great friends coming together for a worthy cause. I’ll be there performing with Lewis Black, Bill Burr, Dane Cook, Billy Gardell—it’s going to be a lot of fun. All the proceeds from the show go to the Garden of Dreams because we’re trying to brighten the lives of children who face obstacles. I grew up in the Boys and Girls Club so I completely understand homelessness, poverty, foster homes; there are kids in these situations right now. Hospitals and organizations can do their part and community organizations can do their part, but to have direct contact with something like this is a great thing.
Lastly, your three tips for breaking bread and having great conversation with multiple guests.
One tip is manners, of course. Always thank your host for inviting you. Two would be always compliment the food. There’s plenty of times people will go to someone's house and the food just ain’t no good. That’s also on my part. I have to make sure the table and the menu is loaded with amazing food. And always, always raise a glass, toast the establishment and thank them for having us. Always make sure we acknowledge the chef. I think, next season, I’ll make sure the chef always comes out.