The Humor Mill

J.B. Smoove To Perform In St. Louis At The Lumiere!


Funny guy J.B. Smoove wouldn’t mind answering to the title of “The Jay Z of Comedy” one day.

The comedian-actor says he wants to be known as someone who is making moves and taking chances.

“I want to be a breath of fresh air,” says Smoove, who performs Saturday at Lumière Place Casino.

Smoove, who has started a managing/production company with his manager, says he’s eyeing a late-night show and another series in which he’ll be the focus.

“I’ve been everyone’s wing man already — sidekick,” he says. “I want to present my own brand, something I can produce, something I can have my hands in.”

Smoove calls himself a free agent after turns on Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Kevin Hart’s mock reality show “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and the Will Arnett sitcom “The Millers.”

Doing occasional stand-up gives him the immediate response he can’t get on TV.

“You can leave the show and go to the hotel room and say, ‘Damn that was a good show,’ and relish in the moment.”

The self-professed motormouth says his style onstage is to perform for the audience and his surroundings.

“I’m one of those guys who enjoys improvisation,” he says. “I love being in the moment and pulling people into my world and going where the audience takes me.”

Smoove says he likes observational humor. In his show, he talks about his life and relationships, his daughter and his dog, the irritating man beside him on the airplane, the casino where he’s performing — anything that’s in front of him.

Whatever it is, “I put JB’s spin on it. I take things and see it through my own eyes. I’m thinking about calling this the ‘Thinking Out Loud’ tour because that’s what I do — I think out loud.”

He does it in a way he describes as funny and never offensive.

Smoove says each concert is its own thing. He has talking points, but outside of that, there’s no planning.

He promises to break every rule of comedy onstage.

“I like being on that tightrope with no rope,” he says. “And I like to make myself laugh. That’s genuine laughter when you make yourself laugh. You’re not a robot repeating the same lines. It’s very different in every city, and it’s been forever since I’ve been in St. Louis.”

He knows some fans are coming to see the actor from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“The J.B. you see on ‘Curb’ is real,” he says. “And that’s what you see onstage. They love that guy. Some people call me Leon (his ‘Curb’ character). I’ve been having this amazing time right now where I have a different demo that wants to see me. When ‘Curb’ was hot, my audience was 80 percent white. With ‘Real Husbands,’ it started to balance out.”

Regardless of the demographics of his audience, he says his show is the same.

“I talk about universal things that make sense,” he says. “I don’t separate people by my material. That’s being consistent to what people love about you. I give them what they want.”

As fans of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” know, the show has been on an indefinite hiatus.

Smoove says he has a feeling David will want to do another season or two.

“In an interview a few months ago, he said there was a 20 percent chance. He likes to let things marinate.”

What J.B. Smoove • When 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday • Where Lumière Place Casino, 999 North Second Street • How much $25-$35 • More info

By Kevin Johnson, St. Louis Today

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