Actor-comedian J.B. Smoove (Jerry Brooks), 50, is best known for playing Leon Black on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He currently is performing standup on tour. He spoke with Marc Myers.
I was 3 when my family moved from Plymouth, N.C., to Mount Vernon, a suburb of New York. Once there, we moved around four times, and each time I had to attend a different school.
My mom had four brothers and five sisters in Plymouth, and much of my extended family still lives there. They’re all funny and the humor rubbed off. During family reunions and holidays in Plymouth, you can’t get a word in edgewise. Everyone is talking and laughing at once. The first time I took my wife there for a reunion, she had no idea what they were all talking about. I told her to just laugh and hug everyone.
In Mount Vernon, we eventually settled in the Levister Towers housing projects. I’m the oldest of three brothers. Before Terrence was born, Floyd and I shared a bedroom. We made clubhouse tents out of bed sheets and we turned metal clothes hangers into basketball hoops.
We also were Lego fanatics. We used them to build large cars. Then we’d get on opposite ends of the hallway and push our cars down the linoleum drag strip into each other. Whoever had the most parts left after the head-on collision won.
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