The return of the Golden Globes after a yearlong hiatus was always destined to be a slightly awkward affair. While plenty of award shows had to skip a year due to pandemic-related concerns, the Globes were banished from the NBC airwaves last year due to concerns about racism in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). While the organization eventually expanded its membership to create a more diverse voter base, the Globes continued to appear in headlines for the controversial decision to turn the event into a for-profit entity.
It would have been difficult for any host to gloss over the two years of controversy, but that possibility was almost definitively ruled out when Jerrod Carmichael was selected to host the show. The comedian has never shied away from addressing sensitive issues head-on in his philosophical stand-up specials, and he employed a similar approach from the moment he took the stage at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night.
“I’m your host Jerrod Carmichael, and I’ll tell you why I’m here,” Carmichael said to open the show. “I’m here because I’m Black.”
Carmichael made no secret of his thoughts about the HFPA and did not mince words about the organization’s past struggles with diversity.
“I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died,” he said. “Do with that what you will.”
In his typical conversational style, Carmichael recalled the moment that he was invited to host the show. “One minute you’re making mint tea at home, the next you’re being invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organization,” he said.
The comedian admitted that he had doubts about taking the job, but ultimately accepted the gig after his friend convinced him that the $500,000 salary was too good to pass up. But he also made it clear that his presence on stage was not an endorsement of the Golden Globes as an organization, and he noted that he refused to meet with HFPA president Helen Hoehne before he hosted.
“I took this job assuming they hadn’t changed at all,” he said. “I heard they got six new Black members, congrats.”