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Hamptons Life

Aug 8, 2017 12:40 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

JB Smoove To Perform Stand-Up At Guild Hall In East Hampton On Saturday

Aug 8, 2017 6:07 PM

Stand-up comedian and actor J.B. Smoove—who’s headed to East Hampton this Saturday, August 12, to perform at Guild Hall—has had many jobs in the field of entertainment, from “Saturday Night Live” writer and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” cast member to “Last Comic Standing” host, and the voice of mutant warthog Bebop on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon.

But it’s the odd-jobs he had before he made it big that he can talk about all day.

“You’d be surprised the things I’ve done before I’ve done the things I’ve done—if that even makes sense,” Mr. Smoove asserted, while speaking from his home in California and doing some housecleaning.

“I did a little bit of everything. I sold fire extinguishers door to door,” he shared. “It was more like a pyramid scheme, meaning that you sell fire extinguishers, you tell a few friends about it, and you get them to sell fire extinguishers, and then they tell a few friends about it, they sell fire extinguishers, and so on and so on—and as they gain commission, you get commission off the commission, off the commission that you already started with the commission that you already had the first time.”

He’s conflicted about his time hawking fire extinguishers.

“You were caught up in a pyramid scheme, but at the same time, you kept people safe,” he said. “So, you didn’t know your boundaries. You didn’t know whether you were doing a good job, or you were just making money.”

He was also a perfumer, back in high school. “Who do you think makes the stuff? Me! I made that stuff for you,” he explained. “I mixed it in a little beaker. It’s not easy to do. It’s not like making a cake.”

He said making perfume is more in the line of making a juice or smoothies, mixing rosemary, lavender and alcohol—alcohol that’s dangerous to even breathe.

“Before I started doing stand-up, for a time, I was working at this place called Soda Systems. I was one of the guys who fixed the soda machines in the bar.” He would repair the “soda guns,” ensuring bartenders could keep making mixed drinks.

So not only did he save families from fires over the course of taking odd jobs, he saved parties.

Among the resume builders more in line with his career as a professional comedian were appearing on “Apartment 2F” on MTV and “ComicView” on BET, and narrating the film “Pootie Tang.”

“It’s purposely trying to expand my horizons and do different things and not be cornered in one little thing,” Mr. Smoove said of all the jobs he’s had. “You can’t put a thing on me. Every time they think they figured me out, guess what I do? I change the game and make something new. Because then, not only are you entertaining the world, you’re entertaining yourself. You got to entertain yourself first. When you’re on stage performing, you got to picture yourself in the front row laughing at yourself.”

He’s looking forward to going back to an old job: Larry David is bringing “Curb Your Enthusiasm” back to HBO after a five-year hiatus—and Mr. Smoove will reprise his role as Leon, Larry’s roommate.

“I’m really excited for everyone to see it,” Mr. Smoove said. “We had a ball shooting this season ... you’re going to absolutely love it.”

This year, he also appeared in an Audi commercial, which was technically a short film spin-off of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” In the ad/film, Mr. Smoove plays a DMV employee giving a driving test to Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.

But for his efforts, he didn’t get an Audi of his own out of the deal.

“I’m not being greedy. I’m not saying a top-of-the-line Audi. But nothing?” Mr. Smoove said incredulously. “You know what I mean? Something—even a lease, a short-term lease or something. Two-year lease. If I was in the commercial, why not let me continue to advertise the car by riding the car around? ... At least until the movie comes out on DVD.”

He acknowledged he’s a “big-time” car guy. “I’m overloaded with cars, but I’m not a fancy car guy.” No Lamborghinis, Ferraris or Bentleys for him.

When he appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” last year, Mr. Seinfeld surprised him with a ride in a Studebaker Avanti, of which fewer than 6,000 were made between 1962 and 1963.

“I’m more into, like, classic cars,” Mr. Smoove said. “I’ve got a ’68 Lincoln. I’ve got an ’08 first edition Dodge Challenger SRT. I’ve got an ’08 international MXT—that’s a truck. I’m a country boy at heart, man. I don’t need no fancy cars. I’ve got an RV—I got that kind of stuff. Concrete stuff. Stuff with substance to it.”

The RV is 38 feet and named “Outlaw.” The vanity plate “SMOOVE” was taken, but he was eager to share the plate he ultimately got for the RV: “WE OUT.”

He said he takes his RV anywhere he can pull up freely and take up two or three parking spaces—though he said he can’t take it to RV parks. Visiting an RV park doesn’t work for someone like him who is recognizable, he said, explaining that someone will inevitably knock on his RV door asking for ketchup or Worcestershire sauce—any condiment, really—to make an excuse to meet him.

He takes his RV to RV resorts, he said, with amenities like pools. He noted that he doesn’t often see other African-Americans in RVs.

“I don’t know how many black folks do it,” Mr. Smoove said. “If I have to be the guy who breaks ground, so be it.”

J.B. Smoove will perform Saturday, August 12, at 8:30 p.m. at Guild Hall in East Hampton. Tickets range from $45 to $100. Call 631-324-4050 or visit

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