While most Hollywood writers often stayed behind the scenes, J.B. Smoove found success on both sides of the camera. After paying his dues early in his career as a stand-up comic, the straight-shooting and charismatic Smoove landed a plum job as a writer on the seminal sketch comedy program "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). Working alongside famed "SNL" alums such as Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and Tina Fey further increased Smoove's presence in show business. His pitch-perfect casting as Larry David's freeloading houseguest and sidekick on HBO's critically acclaimed series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ) was even hailed as one of television's funniest characters. Smoove turned his recurring role on "Curb" into a scene-stealing performance that helped establish his reputation as a well-rounded and sought-after comedian.
Jerry Brooks was born on Dec. 16, 1964 in Plymouth, NC and raised in Mount Vernon, NY. He adopted the stage name J.B. Smoove when he began his entertainment career as a hip-hop dancer and stand-up comedian. One of Smoove's earliest onscreen appearances was performing stand-up on the original "Def Comedy Jam" (HBO, 1992-97) in 1995. After playing minor characters in feature comedies like "Pootie Tang" (2001) with Chris Rock and "Mr. Deeds" (2002) with Adam Sandler, Smoove struck comedy gold in 2003 when he was hired as a writer on "Saturday Night Live." He also had bit roles on the long-running sketch comedy show, which included playing Jimmy "J.J." Walker for a "Good Times" (CBS, 1974-79) parody.
During his final year writing for "SNL," Smoove received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy/Variety Series (Including Talk) along with fellow show scribes Tina Fey and Seth Meyers. He further padded his acting résumé with a recurring role on the comedy series "Everybody Hates Chris" (UPN, 2005-06; The CW, 2006-09), based on the childhood experiences of "SNL" alumni Rock. Smoove played a local barbershop owner who doled out helpful advice to the locals who lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, where Rock grew up. Smoove also appeared as various characters on the short-lived sketch comedy program "Cedric the Entertainer Presents" (Fox, 2002-03).
In 2007, Smoove landed his breakout role on the Emmy Award-winning "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The series starred Larry David, the co-creator of NBC's hit comedy "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1990-98), who played a semi-retired neurotic television writer that was loosely based on him. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" followed David's neurotic and blunt central character as he navigates one awkward situation after another. Smoove portrayed Leon Black, David's freeloading and profane houseguest who initially moves in after Hurricane Katrina left his family homeless - even though Leon himself was already living in Los Angeles at the time of the storm. Leon was also a smooth ladies' man who helps David deal with the tense social situations he ends up in. Smoove's performance on "Curb" earned the actor raves from viewers and critics, including Rolling Stone that described Leon as "TV's single funniest character." Taking on a variety of roles - from guest appearances on the comedy series "Til Death" (Fox, 2006-2010) with Brad Garrett, to making a cameo as a cab driver in "Date Night" (2010) opposite Tina Fey and Steve Carrell - increased Smoove's presence in the entertainment arena. More sizeable film projects soon followed, including a featured role in "The Dictator" (2012) with Sacha Baron Cohen, Megan Fox and John C. Reilly.
Cast (Feature Film)
Made his television stand-up debut on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam"
Played a minor role on an episode of NBC's "Law & Order"
Cast in a supporting role opposite Chris Rock in "Pootie Tang"
Landed a minor role opposite Adam Sandler in the romantic comedy "Mr. Deeds"
Began writing for long-running NBC comedy variety program "Saturday Night Live"
Landed a recurring role on "Everybody Hates Chris"
Cast in a supporting role on HBO's critically acclaimed comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as Larry David's freeloading house guest Leon Black
Made a cameo as a cab driver in the comedy feature "Date Night"
Acted opposite Jonah Hill in the comedy "The Sitter"
Cast in the Cameron Crowe directed family feature "We Bought a Zoo," starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson
Acted opposite Sacha Baron Cohen in the comedy film "The Dictator"