‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Star J.B. Smoove Pays Tribute to Richard Lewis: ‘The Coolest Dude’

The actor also tells TheWrap about the “legendary” arguments Larry David and the late comedian got into while filming the HBO comedy

J.B. Smoove and Richard Lewisat HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Season 7 on September 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Despite working with Richard Lewis in a limited capacity on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” J.B. Smoove revealed that he was able to form a close off-camera bond with the late comedian, who was one of his longtime heroes.

“I used to listen to Richard Lewis when I was at my first after school job. I used to have a little a.m. radio and I’d listen to ‘The Howard Stern Show’ and Richard Lewis would be a guest,” Smoove told TheWrap. “I used to be like, ‘This motherf–ker is hilarious.’ This dude was f–king funny and I had always wanted to meet this dude. I called him Dracula, that man wore black all the time and had his hair slicked back and s–t. Cool motherf–ker man. Loved Jimi Hendrix. All the cool s–t, man. The coolest dude you ever want to f–king meet.”

Lewis, who died in February at the age of 76, revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis in April 2023 after privately dealing with it since 2021. He did not appear in Season 11 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” due to recovery from several surgeries — shoulder, shoulder replacement, back and hip, though he later returned for one episode, the season finale. In November 2022, he revealed he was returning for the shows final installment.

“It was hard seeing him battle through his medical issues because you see these motherf–kers as super heroes to you,” Smoove added. “But we all get older, we all have our issues and that motherf–ker was genius, man.”

Smoove recalled receiving a congratulatory phone call from Lewis for his work as Leon Black, who was first introduced on Season 6 of the HBO comedy.

“After my first season was over — this is how genuine this dude was — he got my number and called me. He said, ‘Hey man, this is Richard, I just wanted to call you and tell you I watched this whole season and you are Jimi Hendrix.’ And I wanted to cry. I knew what he meant by that analogy because you connect a feeling to people. That was a huge compliment because I knew what he meant. I love that man,” Smoove said. “This motherf–ker talked to me for two hours. I might’ve gotten four words in, maybe a few lines I got in on this call, but this dude was vibrant and he recapped every scene and episode and what made him laugh about it.”

He also noted how Lewis would mock Larry David for never letting them do scenes together.

“He would say, ‘When am I going to get a scene with J.B.? Larry just hogs you up,’” Smoove said. “So he started calling him Larry the hog. He said, ‘Larry the hog won’t let you do scenes with us.’”

Smoove also spoke about the “legendary” arguments Lewis and David would get into on the show — some of which would continue even when the cameras stopped rolling.

“One time, I was on set with these dudes and I couldn’t tell the difference if these motherf–kers were serious or acting. I couldn’t f–king tell,” he recounted. “We would say cut, and these motherf–kers were still talking. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, is this s–t real, man?’ You’re talking about some pent up animosity and s–t that we don’t f–king know.”

“We were on location and Larry is saying, ‘Get the f–k out of my house.’ And I’m like, ‘Larry, this is not your f–king house, it’s a TV house. What are you talking about right now? Are you guys serious?’” Smoove said. “I believe Larry called 9-1-1 one time. He at least dialed a 9 and 1. He said, ‘I’ll hit this other f–king one if you don’t get out of my house right now.’”

In addition to Smoove, David and Lewis, the Season 12 cast of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” includes Jeff Garlin (“The Goldbergs”), Susie Essman (“Broad City”), Cheryl Hines (“Suburgatory”), Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers”) and Tracey Ullman (“Tracey Ullman’s Show”).

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is executive produced by David, Garlin and Jeff Schaffer, with Laura Streicher and Jennifer Corey serving as co-executive producers.

New episodes air Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO and stream on Max.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.