Jerrod Carmichael officially comes out as gay in his new comedy special, Rothaniel, which debuts Friday night on HBO. In the soul-baring stand-up set, which drops just one day before he hosts Saturday Night Live, Carmichael confirms he’s gay for the first time and works through how keeping that secret impacted his family, particularly his deeply religious mother.
“As much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free. And I do feel freer.” The Carmichael Show creator says after revealing that his father’s infidelity being exposed made him feel like a liar because, now, he was the family member with a secret. So Carmichael decided to do something about it and finally came out to the audience, which applauded after realizing what they just witnessed. Via Variety:
After a long silence, the audience claps, to Carmichael’s visceral relief. “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.”
Again, it’s a big and important moment for the comedian, especially in the way that he did it, on-stage, in a big HBO comedy special, on the eve of an SNL hosting gig. Good for him, both for this and for working his way back onto NBC after his sitcom, The Carmichael Show, received an 11th-hour cancellation following its second season.
Rothaniel premieres April 1 at 9 PM EST on HBO.