By Muhammad Muzammal
In time for Chris Rock’s new comedy “Top Five,” Paramount Picture hosted a college student conference call with star J.B. Smoove, who stars in “Top Five.” A film about celebrity and stardom, “Top Five” has received early critical buzz, drawing comparisons to Woody Allen and Dick Gregory. Smoove, a former hip hop dancer, is a stand-up comedian who has had more than a few bumps on the road to his own stardom.
On his long, arduous journey from being a hip hop dancer to starring in possibly the biggest comedy of the year, Smoove remarked about his work ethic, “I’m putting 200 percent into one thing at a time.”
He then spoke about the meaning of failure and how it could bring about success, “We all have to allow ourselves that little threshold of failure in order to see what works for you and what’s not going to work for you. And we got to also remember that you know you can’t take yourself at face value. There’s a million audiences out there.”
Soft spoken and warm, Smoove gave advice to students and told a short anecdote about an intern on set of one of Smoove’s earlier films, “Pootie Tang.” The intern, who Smoove had become friendly with, ended up in charge of a studio 10 years later and had recently contacted Smoove for an acting gig.
On this story, Smoove had an important message. “The phone keeps ringing because you kept your phone on, number one; and number two, you never changed your number, and that doesn’t mean a physical number. You didn’t change. Your number represents you as a person.” Smoove’s philosophy is evidenced in his outgoing personality that is ideal for anyone who wants to know what it takes to be successful. Staying true to oneself and always keeping the same inner core, leads one down a better path.
The interview was over after about 45 minutes and Smoove left, making the students laugh and feel personally touched by his words and stories. “Top Five” comes to theaters Dec. 12.