On HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David performs himself. Ted Danson performs himself. Richard Lewis plays himself. So it’s uncomplicated to believe that J.B. Smoove, who plays Leon, Larry’s motor-mouthed, freeloading roommate, performs himself, or at least a near facsimile.
But that turns out to be backward. “There is a large amount of Leon in J.B.,” Mr. Smoove explained, “but there is no J.B. in Leon.”
To illustrate, the 54-calendar year-aged actor, who was in the Diamond District of New York on a frigid Wednesday afternoon, pointed to his custom made a few-piece gray match, black fedora, two-tone Hugo Boss footwear, silver tie clip and silver pocket enjoy.
“Leon could not wear this,” he reported. “Leon would spill gravy on it or a thing, you know.”
Mr. Smoove, who was in city to advertise the show’s 10th time, required a gold pocket watch for his collection. “You know what, pocket watches are a shed artwork,” he said, “so what we obtained to do is bring this style back to the fold. Model, I think, is something that refines you.”
As Mr. Smoove walked together West 47th Street, his fashionable figure cutting via the vacationer-mobbed sidewalks, he went on and on about his really like for analog timepieces.
“Everybody appears to be at the time on their phones now,” he mentioned, no cost-styling in a staccato patter that sounded, Okay, a lot more than a small like Leon. “When the apocalypse takes place, your mobile phone is heading to be worthless. You improved have a watch on, or a pocket observe, or you improved know how to read the solar, simply because if every little thing shuts down, none of this is likely to operate. Income is heading to be really worth zero if every thing goes to hell.”
Making an attempt to settle Mr. Smoove on any one particular conversation topic is like striving to capture a hummingbird with a kitchen strainer he dips, he dodges, he flutters, rarely hovering in any one spot for extended. He only appeared to pause his Leon-esque flights of cost-free affiliation when lovers stopped him on the avenue. “Hey brother, how are you person?” Mr. Smoove claimed to one person who asked for selfie.
“I’m the unofficial mayor of New York,” mentioned Mr. Smoove, who grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., just north of the city, and retains an condominium in Brooklyn Heights. “I could be the coach of the Jets, the coach of the Knicks. I could be the mayor. I could be an abundance of factors in this article in the metropolis and get absent with it, too.”
This is not to say he does not like Los Angeles, where by he spends a lot of the 12 months. “I like L.A. since I can do matters that I cannot do listed here,” he said, pausing in entrance of Jewelers on Fifth, a sprawling, fluorescent-lit emporium crammed with booths dripping with diamonds and gold. “A great deal of people do not know this, but I’m an R.V.’er. I freaking really like it. Outside the house of traveling and acting, I believe you need something to ground you, and R.V.-ing is existence to me.”
He has a 39-foot Damon Outlaw that sleeps 10 folks, with 5 televisions. “I’m not saying I’m a rough-it type of man,” he explained.
He ducked into the emporium to see if any person was offering pocket watches. The shouts arrived right away: “Hey, J.B. Smoove!” “Last week’s demonstrate was outrageous, man!”
Mr. Smoove, also, is happy with the existing period of “Curb.” “I’ve been on the demonstrate because time five, and the first episode is normally the clearly show wherever Larry crops seeds, and this calendar year he planted so a lot of seeds, he had like 5 or six story strains heading.”
He was a substantial admirer before he was cast. When he was a writer for “Saturday Night time Live,” his spouse, Shahidah Omar, instructed him one particular night time: “You’re going to be on that present because you say nuts things all the time, and I could see you and Larry together.”
Not prolonged just after, while traveling to Los Angeles for a friend’s funeral, his agent explained to him he experienced an audition for “Curb.” Cosmic, suitable? But to Mr. Smoove, that’s just how the universe operates. “I always imagine about time, and how the planet is moving,” he claimed. “I often speculate who individuals are in their earlier.”
And what greater way to capture time than on a classic pocket view. It turns out, they are tricky to come across in the Diamond District. After browsing dozens of booths, Mr. Smoove at last noticed just one gleaming in a glass case. He leaned in to examine it. It was gold, sure, but pretty petite, maybe a women’s, the vendor suggested. “Oh, I want a significant man’s a person,” Mr. Smoove mentioned.
He slipped outside and walked a number of doors down to yet another enormous jewellery emporium, the Diamond Exchange. Pay dirt. A corner booth identified as NYCWatchmaker had a various primary vintage versions on show. With the treatment of a surgeon, the booth’s proprietor, Harris Freedman, achieved into the situation and offered Mr. Smoove with an open up-faced gold Patek Philippe from the 1950s that price tag $6,000.
Mr. Smoove nodded approvingly. “Wow, attractive,” he explained. “It’s a good, clean up enjoy.” But he was in the market for a pocket watch with a dial include that he could snap shut with authority. “It’s like people today who acquired to be definitely fantastic at the old cigarette lighters — click, simply click, click,” he mentioned, pantomiming the gesture with prosper.
He enjoys all those small retro prospers. When he was in London filming “Spider-Gentleman: Much From House,” he would whip out his pocket view with theatrical aptitude. “Everyone believed I was British,” he said. “I experienced my small topcoat on, would suggestion my hat at the ladies.”
Stooped over the case, Mr. Smoove admired the aged-environment craftsmanship a Breguet with a guilloche dial. Any obtain, however, apparently would have to wait, as Mr. Smoove took off on a different a flight of fancy, about past lives, in advance of heading towards the doorway.
“You know exactly where I felt most at household?” he asked. “Rome. I swear to you, I felt like I lived there prior to, in another time.” Also, his authorized title is Jerry Angelo Brooks. Angelo appears Italian, he mentioned, and “every time I pulled my passport out, every particular person that go through it claimed, ‘Ah, Jerry Angelo, welcome back again,’ ‘Jerry Angelo, you are back.’ Isn’t that weird?”
“Man,” he claimed, as bundled in his overcoat on the chilly road outside the house, “I could chat all day.”