Comedy Central // 2012 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // April 14th, 2012
Extended and uncensored!
To most folks, J.B. Smoove is best-known as Leon, Larry David's loopy, infectiously confident pal on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Leon is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining characters on television, and Smoove's playful chemistry with David is a joy to behold. I've also enjoyed seeing him pop up in other supporting roles on both the big and small screen, as he brings a unique comic energy to the table which rarely fails to enliven the proceedings. As such, I was eager to check out his debut comedy special, J.B. Smoove: That's How I Dooz It.
Disappointingly, Smoove's stand-up routine is a spotty, gimmicky, and sometimes overbearingly loud affair that contains too few moments of genuine hilarity. Smoove is fond is fixating on a particular phrase -- say, "that's how I dooz it" -- and repeating it ad nauseam. In fact, that aforementioned phrase gets its own cheesy theme song, which Smoove also repeats a couple of times at the show's opening. "I nearly messed up my pants listening to that song!" he cries, and then eagerly digs into an extended segment about ejaculation. There isn't any real insight or observational humor in the routine, just a series of colorful boasts about the spectacular details of his assorted ejaculations in contrast to the rather unimpressive ejaculations of other men. It's a particularly wheezy variation on the ever-reliable, "Group A does things like this, but Group B does things like this," brand of stand-up.
The most unique and frustratingly limited portion of Smoove's routine is his distinctive physical comedy. Smoove is a former hip-hop dancer, and as such manages to pull off some impressively athletic slapstick. Alas, his ideas for how to employ his physicality into the program are fairly narrow-minded. He's particularly fond of pretending that his chair is a woman he's performing a variety of eclectic sexual acts with, he pretends that the microphone cord is a string of ejaculate, and the microphone itself is...well, I'm sure you can guess. Near the conclusion of the show, Smoove pretends to be King Kong, tying the microphone around his waist and allowing it to dangle between his legs as he thumps his chest and roars.
Smoove's raw energy is impressive, but his jokes have a tendency to burn out long before he's finished with them. He's a naturally funny guy, but too much of the show feels gimmicky and forced. During its weakest moments, it plays like an unintentional parody of a bad stand-up routine, as so much of Smoove's act can basically be boiled down to "easy sex joke + catch phrase." The moments in which he'll tap into some genuinely inspired, off-the-wall hilarity are so infrequent that they only serve to remind us of just what a missed opportunity Smoove's stand-up special was. In fairness to him, his crowd seems atypically enthusiastic, so maybe it's just one of those things that works better as a live experience.
The DVD transfer is fine, offering solid detail and depth. Likewise, the Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is adequate without ever really going out of its way to impress. Extras are limited to a 5-minute "Behind the Smoove" featurette and a 3-minute collection of "Dooz and Doozn'ts."
One has to admire the obvious effort Smoove has put into his first stand-up routine, but far too much of his energy is wasted on third-rate material. Perhaps he should reconsider how he dooz it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site