A native of Mount Vernon, NY (born Jerry Brooks -- hence the initials), standup comic, comedy writer, and actor J.B. Smoove began his career as a dancer in an hip-hop ensemble, performing as J. Smoove. The performer transitioned to schtick early on and cut his chops in Manhattan-area clubs, then landed a few small roles in Hollywood features (including the 2001 Pootie Tang and the 2002 Mr. Deeds), before striking gold on Saturday Night Live as both a sketch writer and a sketch participant. Smoove culled greatest attention, however, for his recurring role during season six of Curb Your Enthusiasm; he played the über-confident, street-smart Leon Black, a member of an African-American family adopted by Larry David and his wife after their residence is decimated by a hurricane. Smoove later acknowledged that the popularity of the role "set fire" to his career and led to roles on the sitcoms Everybody Hates Chris and 'Til Death.