Comedian Jerrod Carmichael Comes Out as Gay Ahead of 'SNL' Hosting Gig

Saturday April 2, 2022

Ahead of hosting "Saturday Night Live" on April 2, comedian Jerrod Carmichael has come out as gay in his new HBO comedy special, "Rothaniel." The special began airing on April 1.

Variety writes "'Rothaniel,' which was taped in February at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City, weaves stories of Carmichael's family history in with his own coming out process. At times contemplative, buoyant, and occasionally heartbroken, Carmichael talks about the weight of keeping this secret throughout his life and career, and how coming out has changed his relationships with his friends and family for both the better and the worse."

In the special, Carmichael tells a story of learning of his father's infidelity and keeping the secret from his family. This led him to realize he was living a lie by not acknowledging his sexuality to them.

"After that was out in the open, I was left alone feeling like a liar, because I had a secret," he says. "One that I kept from my father, my mother, my family, my friends, and you. Professionally, personally. And the secret is that I'm gay."

There is a long pause before the audience claps, at which time Carmichael says: "I'm accepting the love, I really appreciate the love. My ego wants to rebel against it." Later, he adds, "I rebelled against it my whole life. I thought I'd never, ever come out. At many points I thought I'd rather die than confront the truth of that, to actually say it to people. Because I know it changes some people's perceptions of me. I can't control that."

The 34 year old came to prominence on the LA-comedy club circuit before headlining the NBC sit-com "The Carmichael Show," which ran for three seasons that was both topical and semi-autobiographical.

In his 2019 HBO special "Home Video," the comedian talked about his sexual experiences with men during a conversation with his mother when he said, "I've hooked up with dudes before." In "Rothaniel," however, Carmichael admits his relationship with his mother has been more fraught since he came out to her, but he has hope for the future. "As much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free," he says. "And I do feel freer."

IndieWire adds that "Carmichael previously made his feature directorial debut with 2021 Sundance film 'On the Count of Three,' which he also stars in. The buddy-comedy thriller has yet to set a U.S. release date from United Artists Releasing."

"Rothaniel" premieres April 1 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.