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J.B. Smoove says you only get five seconds to impress "grimy hot dog" Larry David

J.B. Smoove, Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

With Curb Your Enthusiasm coming back for its 10th season on Sunday, January 19, Seth Meyers had old Saturday Night Live writing cohort and Curb’s perpetually scene-stealing Leon, J.B. Smoove in the house for Tuesday’s Late Night. Sorry, that’s “season-damn 10" of Curb, as the ever-ebullient Smoove put it, telling Meyers that, although his character has only been on the show for half that time, he’s already angling—Leon-style—to come back for season 11. Fans of the show are no doubt on Smoove’s side there, as his Leon Black has become a fan favorite as Larry David’s semi-unwelcome houseguest, frenemy, occasional bodyguard, and all-around no-bullshit sounding board. (Plus, with the untimely death of other Curb all-star Bob Einstein, Marty Funkhouser, won’t be around to provoke Larry to irascible distraction, so someone’s got to pick up the slack.)

As for Smoove’s relationship with the real Larry David, the actor and comedian told Meyers that theirs is a much less fraught one, largely because Smoove has observed David in his natural habitat, and knows the rules for interacting with the notoriously cantankerous Larry. According to Smoove, Curb Larry and real Larry are both annoyed to escalating madness by little things, but real Larry “has a whole different set of stuff that bothers him.” Still, as Smoove related one recent interaction when David—sitting alone at a Golden Globes party, natch’—was accosted by an enthusiastic Dutch fan and close-talker, there does seem to be some overlap. Smoove said there’s a “5-second rule” that applies to any interaction with David, wherein you have just those handful of seconds to engage David, prove you’re not a psycho, and—most important of all—assure him you aren’t planning to ask for a dreaded selfie. According to Smoove, that makes Larry a “grimy hot dog,” since, like the fabled rule about food safety, there’s a brief, blessed interim in which you can fix any mistakes. (Meyers noted that that’s actually the 3-second rule, but, hey, Larry David is nothing if not magnanimous, right?)


The busy and nattily dressed Smoove (currently plying a bustling side-hustle in two comics universes, both in Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise and as a garrulous plant named Frank on DC’s killer Harley Quinn), also helped noted Curb Your Enthusiasm fan Meyers out by filling in some of Curb’s “Leon-isms.” You know, like “mopey dick” (what it sounds like), “long balls” (ditto), and “lampin’” (requires a little explanation).

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.