In a gold rush industry with lots of brands and pitchmen and women, JB Smoove might be the biggest face of sports betting.
The comedian hosts “One Course with JB Smoove” on MSG — sponsored by Caesars Sportsbooks, for whom his ad campaign is ubiquitous. It’s an interview show in which guests have included Fat Joe, Eli Manning, Kenan Thompson, Tracy Morgan and CC Sabathia. His conversation with Tina Fey will air after Monday’s Knicks game and his chat with Henrik Lundqvist runs after Tuesday’s Rangers game.
He spoke to The Post about the show, how frequently his gambling spots are recognized and his belief that he and Larry David could run the New York Jets.
Smoove said that the Caesars ad campaign — which felt like it ran during every commercial break in the NFL playoffs, is all over social media and includes a big billboard on the Las Vegas strip — made him think about all the great spots he grew up with, like Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” or Charmin’s ads with Mr. Whipple.
“I didn’t realize it was going to be that much,” he said. “But I’m not mad at it.
“Character-driven commercials tend to tell a story, and I think the more you tell that story, as long as you’re consistent with the character and you make it funny, I think people like it. I get a lot of feedback from the commercial. Now, personally I did not know my face would be everywhere until I saw it everywhere. When I went to Vegas, I’m like wallpaper. I love it.”
Nonetheless, he says that overall he is still more recognized out on the street for his work as Leon on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” than he is for the sports betting campaign — except in cities that are “really, really, really big sports betting cities.”
Smoove, who describes himself as a “long suffering Jets fan,” talked about David’s previous claims that he could be a formidable offensive coordinator for Gang Green.
“I’ve absolutely spoken to Larry about this on several occasions, and I have told him that we should at least put an application in,” Smoove said. “He could be head coach. I could coach wide receivers. It would be an amazing opportunity for us. Of course we could coach the Jets. With our vast knowledge of football, and the suffering that we’ve been through over the years, we know one thing: we don’t want to lose.”
Smoove has done commercials for the Jets and speaks about them as “we.” He’d like to see more continuity across the team because “we have not gathered any chemistry.”
He thinks that with consistency and chemistry across the organization Zach Wilson could be a great quarterback for the Jets — but acknowledges the 22-year-old is still a “kid.”
“That young man, I can’t say I knew the Jets would pick him, but we have to build him. We have to see what he has,” Smoove said. “He’s had some bright moments, so we can’t say he’s not talented. But he’s a kid. Keyword here — he’s a kid. Do you trust your child to do everything that he wouldn’t normally know how to do? No. At some point, he’s gonna tie his shoe upside-down. You’ve gotta work with him.”
With regards to his MSG interview show, Smoove discovered some wild facts about his subjects.
He previously had “no idea” that Lundqvist has a twin brother.
“I didn’t know they make people that handsome in twos,” he laughed.
It dawned on him while interviewing Sabathia that the former Yankees great could’ve been a football player had he not pursued baseball.
He praised the journey of his former “Saturday Night Live” colleague Fey.
“For a woman on the show — it made me realize that we really need to balance out the levels here between women and men,” he said. “Becoming head writer at ‘SNL’ was absolutely genuine, and I think people need to hear that kind of stuff.”
Dream guests of Smoove for the show, should it get renewed for a second season, include Joe Namath, Bill Hader, Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, Tiffany Haddish, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Kevin Hart and musicians Gary Clark Jr. and Billie Eilish.
“I’m inspired by so many different people,” he said. “I think the show has enough balance there where you can basically interview anybody.”
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