J.B. Smoove on Writing a ‘Good Bad Advice’ Book in the Voice of Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Leon

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Leon. Photo: HBO

Curb Your Enthusiasm’s profane freeloader Leon Black has so much to say, he’s put it all into an advice book. An “as told to” of sorts, The Book of Leon: Philosophy of a Fool brings Leon’s special brand of wisdom and guidance via comedian J.B. Smoove, who plays him on HBO’s Emmy-nominated comedy.

In 241 pages, Leon imparts his R-rated insights on everything from sex and money to fitness, sperm banks, and aging. “If you ask me, foreplay is for someone who lost his pinkie or his thumb, because if you have five fucking fingers you should be practicing ‘fiveplay,’” he writes. “What I’m saying is don’t hold anything back when it comes to foreplay!” He also discusses ideas for things he’d like to do, like create an UberFeet app where he’d work as a walking companion for strangers. “If you order me, you have to be patient ’cause I gotta walk to you from wherever the fuck I am, and maybe that’s far away. Or if I’m close, I may have decided to stop by a friend’s place to nap or some shit.”

In an interview with Vulture, Smoove said he thinks what fans love the most about Leon is his “good bad advice.” “My mantra for the book is: Leon: he ain’t wrong, he just ain’t right,” Smoove said. “There’s a way of saying something where you’re not wrong, but you ain’t right for saying that shit.”

“It’s his take on life,” he continued. “And why not hear someone else’s version of what the fuck you should be doing with your life? Some people only understand it in those terms. I put him amongst the Platos and the Socrates and all these amazing people because I figure his way of thinking — some people really truly believe everything Leon says. They live by that shit! They live by the word of the ruckus! Tapping that ass! Getting that ass! They honestly believe in that shit, in that brutally honest take that Leon has.”

The comedian considered writing an actual memoir, but then started wondering what it would be like for Leon Black, who has been living with Larry David’s character since the sixth season for no apparent reason, to memorialize his thoughts and opinions. At first, he thought he might not be able to do so since HBO owns the character, but David gave him his blessing. “He told me people would love it,” Smoove said.

The Book of Leon will be released by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books on October 10 and might be mentioned during an argument between Larry and Leon in the highly anticipated ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which premieres October 1. In the scene, Larry says, “You’re so full of shit, Leon. Why don’t you put all that bullshit in a book?” Smoove recalled, though he is not certain if the scene will make the episode. Leon replies: “You know what, I just might do that shit.”

Smoove, who also recorded the audiobook in character, said he was careful to not to write over Leon’s head. “I wanted it to have the feel of a first-time author,” he said. “I want it to feel like, Wow, fucking Leon’s an idiot. I wanted to make it feel like the character really fucking wrote this book. I wanted to have honesty in who I think the character is, which I think is really cool because it separates J.B. from Leon and allows Leon to be Leon.”

The Book of Leon closes with a look into the future — what Leon might do the day he finally leaves Larry’s house. But that doesn’t mean the Leonisms will stop there. Smoove is already thinking of writing a second volume called Allow Me to Elaborate.  “How great a title is that?” he said. “I’m elaborating on the elaborations!”

J.B. Smoove on Writing a ‘Good Bad Advice’ Book