J.B. Smoove is an actor, writer and comedian whose career spans over 20 years. Best known for his role as Leon Black in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Smoove has featured on SNL, Everybody Hates Chris, and a number of feature films.
Chakra Attack is one of my favourite incidental features in GTA 5. Fronted by Ray De Angelo Harris, the talk show appears on West Coast Talk Radio wherein its fictional host haphazardly explores spirituality, relaxation and the concept of duality to hilarious effect. Harris is voiced by American actor, comedian and writer J.B. Smoove—who is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm.
While chatting about his involvement in Grand Theft Auto 5, it occurs to me that Smoove's Curb Your Enthusiasm character, Leon Black, might enjoy videogames.
"Listen. I think Leon would love videogames. I think he'd really love GTA 5," says Smoove. "His life might be like GTA. We don't know much about Leon's story, he doesn't have a true origin. You watch these Marvel movies—everybody got a damn origin story. I know those guys are superheroes, but no one knows where Leon came from. We know a little bit about him, but I think if we knew more about him that's something we could channel. Who is this guy? Where did he come from?"
Larry David, on the other hand, does not strike me as someone who enjoys videogames. On the show, Larry lives with Leon. With this in mind, I ask Smoove if he could ever envisage Larry sitting down with Leon to play videogames.
"I think it'd have to be something about life itself," says Smoove. "I think Leon and Larry could play GTA 5, because there's enough in there of a lifestyle that Larry has no idea about, that he's never experienced. Take Larry down that road. On a mission with Larry? I think that'd be so hilarious. Just to explain the game to Larry, and how it works, you know? Larry, we're gonna get in this car. We're gonna drive across town. We're gonna get this deal poppin'. We're gonna do this, we're gonna all these steps.
"I think that would so intriguing to him. I think he would get caught up. I think if Leon introduced him to GTA and told him how it works and how crazy it is—you know, there's ladies in it, there's intrigue, there's power, there's fights, there's running, there's driving cars, there's all of that stuff that you have never experience, Larry. I think Larry would get caught up in it and he'd be addicted to it. And Leon would have to pry the controller out of his hands at some point. I think that'd be a funny episode—Larry gets caught up in a videogame. He's up all night. His eyes are red."
At this point I'm laughing out loud. I tell Smoove if this doesn't feature in a future episode of Curb, I'm going to be very disappointed.
He continues: "Ha! How great would that be, man?! Aw man, how great would that be? Larry's eyes are red and… aw man.
Leon: What's wrong with you, man?
Larry: I was up all night playing that videogame you got me hooked on! I can't stop. I just can't stop. You got a game in you? Come on, let's play a game. Just one game.
Leon: I can't! I got other things to do, man.
Larry: … One game?
"That would be awesome, man. How great would that be? Larry's addicted to the game. He can't stop playing. Aw, man! Then he starts living like the game. He starts doing stuff the game would do in real life. That would be great."
Did I just inadvertently brainstorm a GTA 5-inspired episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm with the show's Leon Black?
Curb returned with its ninth season last year off the back of a six-year hiatus, and was renewed for number ten shortly thereafter. If an 11th season follows, a Grand Theft Auto episode is probably/possibly/definitely unlikely. But, as J.B. Smoove says, how great would that be?
Look out for our full conversation with J.B. Smoove on playing Ray De Angelo Harris, GTA 5's enduring appeal, and working with Rockstar in the coming days.