On this day in comedy on December 16, 1965 Comedian, Actor, Writer, J. B Smoove (Jerry Angelo Brooks) was born in Plymouth, North Carolina.
Smoove grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, then headed to Virginia where he attended Norfolk State University. There he took the route of most students, he studied hard, worked a job printing T-shirts and tinkered with model trains and he got into stand-up comedy. That’s why he had to change his name from Jerry Brooks to J. B. Smoove. He looked more like a J. B. than a Jerry.
Following a memorable appearance of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and several high profile tours, Smoove’s explosive style of physical comedy caught the industry’s eye and he became the king of the recurring characters. He had the recurring role of Leon Black on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as roles on Everybody Hates Chris and Saturday Night Live. On the latter Smoove was also a writer.
J.B. Smoove also got to sit at the big table. He was a full cast member on the Brad Garrett / Joely Fisher sitcom, ‘Til Death on Fox. He was featured on The Millers for CBS. Smoove was a cast member on the sketch show, Cedric the Entertainer Presents and hosted the Russell Simmons stand-up series, Stand-Up at the El Rey.
However, Smoove’s more than a creature of television. Kicking things off with 1997’s Lesser Prophets (in th role of Chucky), Smoove was omnipresent in films; appearing in With or Without You, Pootie Tang, Mr. Deeds, Date Night, Hall Pass, The Sitter, We Bought a Zoo, The Dictator, A Haunted House, Think Like A Man, Clear History, Top Five and many others.
Smoove’s animated personality allowed him to be used extensively. He’s been a pitchman for various products. He’s lent his voice to animated fare (The Simpsons, American Dad, Smurfs 2, Black Dynamite, and Robot Chicken). Smoove was instrumental in reviving the Wanda Sykes produced version of NBC’s stand-up comedy competition, Last Comic Standing. He served as its energetic host. Smoove’s one of The Replacers in the video game Call of Duty: Black-Ops II and provides the voice of Dr. Ray D’Angelo Harris, host of the Chakra Attack radio show in Grand Theft Auto V. He even transcended his own celebrity and has played versions of himself in a number of projects including Kevin Hart’s reality show, Real Husbands of Hollywood.
In 2007 JB Smoove earned the Writers Guild of America award for Best Comedy/Variety Series and his first comedy special JB Smoove: That’s How I Dooz It premiered on Comedy Central in 2012.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton