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J.B. Smoove Distinguishes Himself from TV Alter Ego 'Leon'

[photo courtesy Cashman & Associates]

He's the foul-mouthed, over-confident friend of Larry David from the award-winning HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.  But comedian J.B. Smoove wants you to know that he is not his character, 'Leon Black.'  However that might be

more difficult to believe with the recent release of his new book, The Book of Leon: Philosophy of a Fool.  ​

"There's a lot of Leon in J.B. but there's no J.B. in Leon.  That's my mantra and my way of separating these two guys," Smoove said.

Because of the personality differences, Smoove needed to get into character as he was writing in the voice of his popular TV character.

"I would put my do-rag on.  I would put my robe on and my little flip-flops on and sit down and channel him.  I really wanted to make sure the book captured Leon completely," Smoove said.

While Leon's personality comes off as outrageous, Smoove believes his character has something to contribute with his opinions.

"Even though he's a character some of the stuff in the book makes perfect damn sense for a person who lives day to day and a person who's not worrying about tomorrow," Smoove said.

Smoove believes the popularity of his Leon character has broadened the appeal of Larry David's show.

"Adding a black family and adding Leon opens up HBO and 'Curb' also to new fans," Smoove said.

J.B. Smoove brings his stand-up comedy to the Cleveland Improv this Friday and Saturday night.




Dave DeOreo is coordinating producer for Ideastream Public Media’s arts and culture team.