The other day I had the opportunity to speak with comedian and actor JB Smoove about his current and upcoming projects, his unique approach to stand-up comedy, and a way of life that he defines as “The Ruckus.” You may best know JB as Leon, Larry David’s ex-brother-in-law, from The Black family on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He’s gearing up to shoot the 8th Season of “Curb,” but JB’s also got several other projects poppin’ at the moment. Take a gander at our conversation below.
SJ: Tell me about this new show you’re hosting, “Russell Simmons Presents Stand-Up at the El Rey.”
JB: Anytime Russell Simmons calls you and tells you he’s doing something you gotta do it. This show could have been about cake. It could have been called "Russell Simmons Presents Birthday Cakes" and you gotta consider it. So Russell calls me up and says I’m doing this new show and I’d love for you to host it. The El Rey is a historic theater in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles. So I’m hosting the show. It’s a version of Def Comedy Jam. It’s young comics, comics from all over, and I’m just the captain of the ship.
SJ: Are these up and coming comics? Will we know some of the names?
JB: Mostly up and coming comics, which is great. Everybody killed it. Everybody murdered it, man. You notice how the world has changed? How bad words have become good words? They killed it. They murdered it, man.
SJ: So if we tune in we can expect a whole lot of killing and murdering.
JB: Killing and murdering, man. Verbal ass-whoopings. Comedians, that’s our thing. The worse condition we leave you in, the better. Comedians try to murder you, they try to kill you. They try to make you piss on yourself. We try to make you shit yourself. We are horrible. Comedians have bad intentions for a good audience. You make someone spit their drink out, that’s pretty common, but if you can make their whole bod break down. Murder ‘em, kill ‘em, they fall off their chair, they spit their drink out, piss on themselves, shit on themselves, and get thrown out the club. The full f*ckin’ monty, man.
SJ: What’s it like having Russell Simmons as a boss? Does he make it rain constantly?
JB: That dude is f*ckin’ loaded with cash. It would take you five days to rob that dude. Take this advice: always ride the coattails of the rich and famous. Russell Simmons could have done a show about Chlamydia and I would have done it.
SJ: Speaking about somebody with weight, are you working with Larry David on the 8th Season of “Curb You Enthusiasm?”
JB: You cannot get rid of Leon. You’d have to assassinate Leon to get rid of him. I’m looking forward to some new Leonisms, too. I’m looking forward to gettin’ in that ass.
SJ: You’re going to get into your character’s ass?
JB: I’m gonna get in Larry’s ass. I bring the ruckus. The ruckus will be brought this season, again.
SJ: Can you let us in on anything about the new season of “Curb?”
JB: Man, I don’t know anything. All I know is they’re shooting some in New York and some in L.A. I don’t know anything until I get to the set. I’m one of those guys that don’t like information until I get there. Larry’s pretty secretive. I know a little bit about nothing.
JB: Huge fans of those guys. Loved working on the movie with Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis. Had a ball doing it. And Stephen Merchant. What is that guy, like 6’9’’? Normally I’m the tall guy on set, this dude was like 6’9’’ or some shit.
SJ: Can you tell us some about your character in the film?
JB: I just play one of the homies. One of the friends. My name is Flats. I play Stephen Merchant’s brother-in-law.
SJ: What other projects do you have going on at the moment?
JB: I’ve got a ton of shit going on. A few other films I’m considering. Working on a few other shows. Doing my stand-up on the road. I’m just trying to pay Discover and Mastercard off. One thing you don’t want is motherf*ckers calling you the rest of your life.
SJ: Inception comes out next week and everyone is really excited for it. Are you excited to see it?
JB: Anything that Leo DiCaprio is in, I’m going to see that shit. They could combine his movies and I’d see that shit. The Inception of the Titanic. The boat could come back out the water and I’d see that shit. He’s got a cool-ass name.
SJ: In the movie, Leo’s character goes into dreams. If Leo went into your dreams, what would he find?
JB: Oh man, he’ll find some shit, man. The ruckus just flies in my body. He’ll go into my bloodstream and find that my ruckus level is high. I’m in the 90% range of ruckusness. The ruckus makes you thick skinned. You ever been to a petting zoo and rubbed a rhinoceros ass? His ass is like leather. That’s what the ruckus is.
So there you have it, everyone. The ruckus is like a rhinoceros ass. I want to thank JB for taking the time to speak with me. Be sure to look for him hosting “Russell Simmons Presents Stand-Up at the El Rey” Sundays at 11PM/10c on Comedy Central. The new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” premieres next year on HBO.