Laugh Lessons

Friday, August 1, 2008

When you are a jobless New York comedian, you learn how to make everyone laugh. You do kids' shows, clean shows and adult shows. And you learn to do it well.

JB Smoove, 54, has come a long way from his comedic beginnings in the Big Apple 15 years ago. He has written for or been in more than 60 episodes of "Saturday Night Live" and, perhaps most notably, Leon on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

"Once you have to do something, you'd be surprised at how you could make it happen," Smoove says.

Smoove has plenty of other words of wisdom for aspiring comedians; some that sound a heck of a lot like they have been pulled out of a textbook for becoming a successful comedian. In no particular order:

· "Anyone can tell a joke, but not everybody can perform a joke."

· "Every joke gets the same amount of energy."

· "Once you get an audience in your hand, all you have to do is hold them."

· "Don't steal!"

One thing he doesn't preach is having a concrete plan. In fact, he doesn't believe in them. What he brings to Washington is his self-declared "motor mouth" and little else. That way "if that skit doesn't work I am not sitting here like, 'Oh, my god, my plan is out the window and now I am stuck,' " Smoove says.

So far it seems to work. But if Washington doesn't laugh?

Well, he will always have at least one fan, who, at the moment, is 4 years old.

"My daughter thinks I am a riot."

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