Life

JB Smoove Hopes Quarantine Teaches Us To Be More Resourceful (And A Little Kinder)

JB Smoove is widely known as one of the great Hollywood nice guys. I’ve heard this a lot, from our entertainment writers, but I’ve also seen it firsthand. When my dad was dying, Smoove dropped him a nice tweet (in those earlier, friendlier days of Twitter) that my pops got a kick out of. Small mercies like that make a big difference when facing cancer.

This week, Smoove leveled up his nice guy game, joining with BIC and Good360 to donate 200,000 razors to those in need. The promo efforts around this donation opened the door for me to hop on the phone with Danny Duberstein himself. We chatted about quarantine, his newfound passion for vertical hydroponics, and the need to become more resilient and resourceful during tough times.

I also thanked him for my dad’s favorite TV moment ever:

“It may not be such a good idea, the whole ‘flip it’ thing.”

“I like it, man. I like it!”

***

First off, I have to thank you. When my dad was dying of cancer, you have a line from Curb that was his favorite joke ever. And when he was really sick, we watched it, over and over — just this one clip. And then you tweeted something nice at him and it made his day. And I just want to thank you for that genuineness that you always bring.

That’s all we do, baby. I love it, man. Oh, man. That warms my heart, man. The purpose of what we do, man, and that’s what humor does. It’s long-lasting. So I’m happy that I’ve got a chance to do that, man. I always try to lend myself, if I can, to these moments. So I’m happy that your dad got a chance to enjoy that, you know?

I’ll never forget him quoting, “Flip it. Topsy turvy this motherfucker.” So thank you again, for that.

I’m happy to hear that, man. So happy to hear that.

Speaking of you doing good, you’re involved in a giving initiative right now. You want to tell us how that came about?

Yeah, man, sure. I’ve been campaigning with my guys at BIC for a while, and they always come up with these amazing opportunities to give back. We’ve done it several times. And what we just did on Giving Tuesday was just an extension of that. Giving Tuesday, of course, we all know as a global generosity movement. What we’re trying to do is unleash the power of people and organizations. We want to try to transform our communities. And then of course the world, man.

I partnered with BIC and we’re going to do a donation of 200,000 BIC Flex 5 razors. That’s going to Good360.
And Good360 is doing some amazing things, man. Of course, it’s up my alley, man. They are an organization. They distribute highly needed products and donations to people overcoming challenges in their lives. Of course, we know this year is a very important time to give back because everyone’s dealing with… It’s 2020. Everyone’s dealing with the pandemic. And 2020 has been rough, man, believe me.

Normally every year I have this huge New Year’s party. In 2019, when plans for ringing in 2020 came around, we put some boots to 2019. Because 2019 was bad also. And we were like, “2019, get out of here. We’re putting the boot to you.” We said, “2019, get the hell out my face.” Who would know that 2020 would be like, “Okay, I’m waiting for you!”? 2020 has been rough, man, but this was the perfect opportunity for Good360, the perfect opportunity for BIC to get everybody, keep us going, you know what I mean? And Good360 has already distributed over $200 million worth of goods in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So this is all needed, needed, needed.

I love that you bring up we need to be more community-minded, socially-minded right now during a difficult time. Is that a mindset that you’ve had always? Has that been your approach? You know, I told the story of you doing something touching for me when my pops was sick. Is that something that has just kind of always been your way of thinking?

Always. This has always been my thought process always, man. I’m a guy that wants everyone to win. And I want everybody to at least have the opportunity to win. That’s my main thing. You know what I mean? It’s one thing to want everybody to win, but all the best people don’t always win. Sometimes bad people win. But we want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to win. And that’s always been my mindset, man. Because I think everybody could bring their A-game, everyone could bring the effort — if they have the opportunity to do that.

I’m a big proponent. I’m also a Boys’ and Girls’ Club alum. So I’m always planting these seeds, trying to make sure everyone has a swing at the ball, at least. Everyone should have at least a swing at the ball. I’ve always been involved with those positive moments in my life, where I will always want to make sure I give back on something large scale like this, or something as small as walking to the airport and seeing someone who just wants a good word and just wants some advice or some direction. I’ll stop and talk to them for 15 minutes. I missed my flight one time making sure this one guy had the right frame of mind. I missed my flight. I missed my flight one day. But I thought about it after, maybe it’s something about me missing this flight that was…

I ended up meeting another business associate. On that same day, I didn’t meet him, but I did a movie with Cameron Crowe called We Bought a Zoo, with Matt Damon. And that day I missed that flight, this was so funny. So that day, I missed that flight, right? And when I got back from that trip, I got an audition call for We Bought a Zoo. I go in for the audition, and Cameron says, “Hey man, I saw you at the airport. I saw you at the airport. I didn’t walk up to you. I just wanted to observe you and your movements. And I saw you in the airport. I just watched you talk to people. I watched you move around. And so I said I wasn’t going to say anything to you. I didn’t want to meet you there. I wanted to bring you in for an audition for this role. But I wanted you to be the same guy that I met through my vision of you, as opposed to meeting you personally.”

He said, “I wanted to feel your energy.” That’s kind of how he does it. And I got to the audition. He said, “Hey, I saw you at the airport.” I said, “Oh, wow.” I said, “What day was it?” He said, “Last week.” I said, “Oh yeah. Yeah.”

So it’s crazy how you end up where you’re supposed to be at. Sometimes you need a little push. But sometimes these are moments that I cherish, that people want to see your character. They want to know who you are, exactly. You know what I mean? And seeing this opportunity right here — with BIC and Good360 — it just keeps going, man. It’s kind of like I’m racing in a relay race and I’m passing the baton to myself. You know what I mean? And I just keep passing that baton to another version of me.

I love that visual.

Keep it the way it’s going, you know what I mean?

That’s beautiful. Now, you’re associated with maybe the most neurotic human alive, in Larry David. And you’ve been in quarantine, which makes us all neurotic. When I watch five or six episodes of Curb, I know I get more neurotic. So I imagine you living it, you’ve gotten a little more neurotic. What is the JB Smoove quarantine routine?

Oh, man. What we do is, my wife I, my wife Shonda, we are very simple, man. Believe me, we are very simple. We just like what we like, and we love who we love. We’re vegans, of course. We like simple things, man. We like RVing. We like to cook. We have our own garden in our yard that we cook off of. We get our little vegetables and we do that, man. We’ve been keeping it really easy-breezy, man. You know, maybe once in a while, we have a big yard, so we’ll just have a little social distancing picnic with another couple. We’ll just have some wine by the fire feature. We just keep it real simple, man.

I think some of us are built for these moments. We’re the helping hand you need. And everybody’s not built for these kinds of obstacles. And sometimes you just need to hear that you can get through it. Sometimes you just need to hear it. And sometimes it comes in the smallest form. But we’ve just been taking it easy, man. I take little Zoom jobs here and there. Of course, we started shooting Curb already. I’m back to work-work.

You’re taking it as it comes; seeing the bright side.

I think all of this is weird because I feel like, even in the midst of this craziness we’re going through, I think it allowed people to sit the hell still for a minute. Of course, we don’t want the loss of life attached to it, but still it felt like people needed clarity a little bit. I think that goes along with everything that’s going on, the COVID, the political stuff, anything and everything that you can attach this 2020 to, somehow in the midst of it all, we’ve got to come out clearer minded and knowing your path even greater. Knowing your path. And I think a lot of people got clarity with a lot of things, and I think we needed that.

Now, let me ask you this, you talk about growing your own food. I’m very into growing my own food. Do you find that COVID and just the idea that society can be knocked out makes you want to be more self-reliant? Is that a piece of it?

Oh yes indeed, man. You have to be resourceful in this moment. You have to figure out… It’s kind of like those squirrels, man. Those squirrels are really good at that, man. They got so organized. They will make sure that rainy day is covered. They got some seeds planted. And I think that’s the main thing is to plant enough seeds that you can get your mental and your physical can make it through. Some people can get their physical right but their mental ain’t right. They can’t deal with all this. You’ve got to have a balance of both. You’ve got to have your health. Your mental health, your physical health is going to be the benefit of you making it through all this.

Your temperament’s got to be right and I think you’ve got to be able to brush things off and understand that, especially when you’re dealing with people because people are going to be people. We have to figure all that out, and then you’ve got to know who to deal with and who not to deal with. I think we have to make sure that all your physical and all your mental bases are covered, and then the rest of the stuff you kind of deal with on a single basis. But I can say that eating right and keeping your mindset right has helped greatly in this pandemic stuff. As long as we all can stay healthy enough and stay safe, I think we can get through this, and we can get back to some normalcy.

Was there anything that you learned during the quarantine that you hadn’t done before? I know a lot of people got into bread, or if you had a favorite cocktail you learned to make, some favorite dish, you learned to make?

This garden, this is our first garden. We’re only maybe two months in with this garden. So we have a vertical garden, which is built by a company called LA Urban Farm. So it’s not the typical garden where you use dirt and all that stuff and compost. This is a vertical garden.

Vertical hydroponic, right?

Exactly.

That’s what I use, too.

We have three of those.

Oh, wow.

Oh, we’ve got three of those bad boys. We love it. We basically invite our friends over… We’ve got so much stuff, we invite our friends over to go shopping. We tell them, “Bring a little basket with you and just like pick off the garden. Get some greens, get some chard, get your mixed greens, get your cauliflower, get your kale, get your mustard greens, get all the stuff you need, get your butter head lettuce, get your onions.” We’ve got everything we need on that boy. We have all our herbs. We invite friends over all the time. “Listen, just come over with a shopping bag, because we’ve got so much that we are willing to share it,” which is also great. You share what you have.

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Thank you so much for your time and energy. I really appreciate it.

Yeah, man, all best to you, man. Stay safe, man, and we should definitely meet in person one day.

I can’t wait.

Especially with that story about your dad, man.

We’ll flip it together. We’ll topsy-turvy the motherfucker. I appreciate you. And I appreciate all you do.

Yeah, we’ll topsy turvy that motherfucker.

Around The Web

×