SPOILER ALERT: Do not read unless you have watched “Foisted!” the Oct. 1 episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
J.B. Smoove’s Leon was a later addition to the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” cast, but he’s quickly become a crucial one. “Foisted!” sees him becoming Larry David’s personal assistant, after he helps Larry “foist” his current assistant (Carrie Brownstein) onto the unsuspecting Susie (Susie Essman). Along the way he introduces Larry to a new term: “lampin’.” Variety spoke to Smoove about the word and how it ended up in the show.
Did you invent lampin’?
No, I did not invent lampin’. Lampin’s a real thing. Just like “getting that a–.” Larry never heard of “getting that a–” until I said it to him. You should have seen the first take. Larry’s face was like … Larry does a little eyebrow thing, like he was trying to figure it out. I was trying to really paint the picture of what it was. Larry didn’t know what the hell “getting that a–” meant at all. He never heard it in his life. “What is getting…?” “Getting that ass.” Didn’t know what the hell “getting that a–” meant. Lampin’s gonna take off. Although we’ve been using lampin’ for a while, I don’t think it ever got its notoriety. Now it’s time for lampin’.
Are those moments on the show based on real conversations you have with Larry?
Oh yeah. The first time I had a hat by a buddy of mine … He makes hats and stuff. He has his own store here in New York. He had a hat that had “Lamptons.” He has a store in the Hamptons. The hat said, “Lamptons.” That means I’m “Lamping in the Hamptons”.
I wore the hat and I went to see Larry in his office. He was sitting behind his desk. I stopped by the office. Had my little “Lamping” baseball cap on. He was like, “What’s that mean?” I said, “It’s Lamptons. It means I’m ‘Lampin’ in the Hamptons’.” He said, “What’s ‘lampin’?” I said, “Chilling. Chilling, laid back, cooling.” He was like, “Oh. I never heard that before.” I said, “Larry, you haven’t heard a whole lot of s—t before.”
Then when we did the show, I said, “I’m lampin’.” He fell out. He said, “Holy s—t. Now I know what lampin’ is, seeing you in your lampin’ mode. I know what lampin’ is.”
Lamping is about to be the word. You thought “getting that a–” took off? Wait until lamping gets going. I think “crudi-take” is gonna do well. “Cruditake.”
Cruditake. Cruditake is gonna be great.
Speaking of that scene, talk about Leon now being Larry’s assistant.
He makes Larry work for everything, man. He really feels like he’s giving Larry something. Therefore, he should not be responsible for nothing. Something for nothing, that’s his philosophy.
What does it feel like to be back?
It didn’t even feel like we were off the air six years. You’re still your character because people ask you questions about the show or they call you Leon while you’re on a plane with them sitting next to you in First Class. They talk to you the whole trip.
This happened to you?
All the time. This one guy talked to me the whole five hours to New York. He never called me J.B. I was Leon the whole time. Then I had the aisle seat. He was like, “Can I get out, Leon?” Everybody else heard him say Leon. Even the flight attendant was like, “Leon, you OK? You want something to drink?” Who am I to correct him, like, “Oh I’m J.B.” F—k it. They love the character, so you end up answering questions as Leon, about the show.
How much does Leon have in common with J.B.?
There’s a lot of Leon in J.B., but there’s no J.B. in Leon. J.B.’s more organized. J.B.’s more fashionable. J.B. has a little be more class to himself. He loves decadent things and cool s–t like that. Leon could never do J.B. He just ain’t that kinda dude.