As partygoers cavorted around him, Creative Artists Agency’s Steve Smooke sat back into a couch at NBC Universal’s post-Golden Globes party last month, placed an elbow on the armrest and let rip a big grin.
Clearly, he was enjoying the moment.
His client Jamie Foxx, whom Mr. Smooke has represented since packaging the WB series “The Jamie Foxx Show” a decade ago, had just won the award for best actor in a musical/comedy film for his role in “Ray.” The actor-comedian-musician-producer thanked Mr. Smooke by name.
“He expressed a loyalty that is incredibly rewarding,” Mr. Smooke said of the acceptance speech. “It wasn’t just me-he thanked his managers, myself, [Mr. Foxx’s feature agents at CAA] Kim [Hodgert] and Rick [Kurtzman],” Mr. Smooke said later, adding that CAA works as a team, with agents who specialize in various disciplines collaborating with a client’s manager to develop and guide careers.
Still, Mr. Smooke, described as “unassuming” by one TV executive, and Mr. Foxx have come a long way together.
At the time that Mr. Smooke packaged “The Jamie Foxx Show,” Mr. Foxx was coming off “In Living Color” and Mr. Smooke was covering The WB for CAA. Mr. Foxx went on to roles in such films as “Any Given Sunday,” “Collateral” and “Ray.”
Today, as an agent in the TV department of CAA, Mr. Smooke represents actors, writers, on-air personalities, producers and directors, and is involved in the process of integrating advertisers into television programming. His packaging credits include The WB’s “The Steve Harvey Show,” Fox’s “Cedric the Entertainer Presents” and “American Idol” and Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show.”
His roster of comedian clients has continued to grow since the early days of The WB, when in addition to signing Mr. Foxx, he signed Cedric the Entertainer. His current comedian clients include Bill Bellamy, Dane Cook, Mike Epps, Patton Oswald, Donal Logue, Jay Baruchel and Frank Callendo. He signed Al Madrigal during the Aspen Comedy Festival earlier this month.
Mr. Smooke’s passion for comedy dates to at least the 1970s, when, still in high school, he tried stand-up at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. “I appreciate how hard it is,” he said.
Mr. Smooke defines his professional style as frank. “I think that it will go on my tombstone that I was always honest,” he said. “‘Love him or hate him, he was always honest.’ One thing I think my clients appreciate is that I’m straightforward with them.”
Before joining CAA in 1991 Mr. Smooke was VP of Western sales/first-run development for Genesis Entertainment. Before that he was a media buyer at Foote Cone & Belding.
JUST THE FACTS
Title: Agent, television department, Creative Artists Agency
Date of birth: Sept. 29, 1961
Place of birth: Los Angeles
Who knew? Mr. Smooke was an extra on the comedy series “Cheers” for six episodes. His role consisted of sitting at the bar, where he drank near beer.