'''Til Death'''s new sidekick -- J.B. Smoove adds wit to the Fox comedy

By Chris Nashawaty
Updated April 11, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

As someone whose favorite hotel ritual is kicking back with a room-service shrimp cocktail and a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond, I’ve been deeply let down by Brad Garrett?s current comedy, ‘Til Death. It’s like a smudgy Xerox of every bickering-husband-wife sitcom that’s ever trotted out a saucy double entendre. Until now. And that’s thanks to the goofily antic stand-up-comic-turned-actor J.B. Smoove, who plays Kenny Westchester, a 38-year-old man accidentally paired with Garrett’s Eddie after a Big Brother program bureaucratic mix-up. A former Saturday Night Live writer, Smoove walked off with the most recent season of Curb Your Enthusiasm as Leon Black, the fiery houseguest whose filthy riffs and crackpot advice (stealing a vintage Yankees jersey off some poor schmo’s back) rivaled Larry’s. If you liked him there, you’ll love him as Kenny. After all, they’re more or less the same character: the black guy who makes the awkward comic lead nervous, then befriends and hangs out with him, teaching him how to be less awkward and white. ”Kenny?s closer to me,” says Smoove (a.k.a. Jerry Brooks). ”He likes to roller-skate and have fun and go to strip clubs. Leon looks out for people who look out for him, that’s how Leon rolls.” As long as Smoove is looking out for Garrett, I I’ll share a shrimp cocktail with Til Death anytime.

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