Before he was known as Smooth-E, the Thousand Oaks, Calif. native was nicknamed the “Suburban Homeboy” for bringing hip-hop to the suburbs. So why did he change to Smooth-E?
“Because Eric Schwartz didn’t sound good on the scratch. I surrender to the blender, you can call me the Jamba Jew,” he joked.
The born entertainer started as a disc jockey for bar mitzvahs, which he considers ironic since he spent his own bar mitzvah money on DJ equipment.
“My parents told me to save the money towards college, but I said, ‘Nah, I’mma spin records.’ I ended up going all over the world DJing.”
Although Schwartz originally thought of stand-up as a separate type of career, he’s since brought together the two art forms to create a unique experience. Much of what Schwartz does speaks about timely cultural references of today, usually through song parodies.
“I touch upon a lot of pop culture because it’s our legacy,” Schwartz said.
The self-proclaimed quarter-step-Mexican-Jew said he does not have a single comedic inspiration. Rather, he is open to all sources of influences.
“Any kind of comedy, good or bad, is a good influence because you learn from it. There’s so much out there to be influenced by, it’s almost like there’s a voice inside my head that acts as a filter to influence whatever I do.”
The bald, glasses-sporting comedian claimed to be a “total nerd” and is proud of it. “I like to surprise people. They don’t expect me to rock flows and make beats. They look at me like, ‘oh, cool, tech support.’ I have a dual personality going on.”
Schwartz was one of the first people to perform at Stand-Up, Scottsdale! when Howard Hughes converted it from the famed entertainment venue of the ‘80s, Anderson’s Fifth Estate.
“I have a love for what he’s done,” Schwartz said of Hughes. “He’s taken it from a little bar to a really great venue. I got to see him build it over the last couple of years, and he doesn’t try to limit comedians. He just wants to see comedy succeed in Phoenix.”
Friday’s show will be 10 of the Valley’s best comedians, followed by a 20-minute set of Smooth-E for $10 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Smooth-E’s 50-minute Saturday act is $15 starting at the same times.
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