The racial and cultural segmentation of audiences that’s been a fact of life for comics on the road is disappearing, according to funny man JB Smoove, whose latest TV gig is hosting “Russell Simmons Presents Stand-Up at The El Rey” on Comedy Central, debuting July 11. He points out, “I go back to the first season of Def Comedy Jam (in 1992). When I started, it was like the turn of black comedy. We had our audience, the white comics had their audience. Now, everybody’s pulling closer together. Shows are more diverse, audiences have changed. You see that everywhere — everything is merging, everyone gets each other now. It’s an amazing place to be as far as music and standup.”
Smoove has several different fan bases – from his turn as potty-mouthed houseguest Leon Black on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to his “’Til Death” role alongside Brad Garrett, to his ridiculous standup. He loved taping the first set of installments of “Stand-Up at the El Rey” partly because “It’s a great mix. I love these young comics. I have a young energy, an enthusiastic energy, and with these young folks on the show, we just feed off each other with this positive outlook that’s contagious.” He adds, “I think there will be more shows, and I think there will be a tour.” Meanwhile, Smoove has a nonstop string of dates this summer, and he’ll be seen on TBS tonight (6/24) as part of Cedric the Entertainer’s “Urban Circus”
“I’m on linen,” he declares. “I mean, the iron is hot — and linen is the hottest setting you can get.”
INDUSTRY BITS: Casting for subsidiary roles on Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” continues, with actors vying hard for even the smallest bit parts. Not only is the revered director a lure, so is the uncanny cast of superstars lined up for the thriller, which is now targeted for a production start in mid-December. Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard and Gwyneth Paltrow are all set for the scary epic that has intertwining stories from four continents about a killer virus rampaging over the earth.
Director Savage Steve Holland is prepping a movie that sounds like an allegory, about a grown man living like a 10-year-old, because if he becomes an adult, he’ll lose his fairy godparents who give him everything he wants. Casting is under way.