Comedian Jerrod Carmichael has come out as gay in his new HBO comedy special, “Rothaniel,” which premieres April 1.
The special was filmed in February 2022 at the Blue Note Jazz Club, across from the Comedy Cellar, in New York City. Carmichael tells stories of his family history, plus his own coming-out process, in “Rothaniel.”
As reported by Variety, Carmichael recalls catching his father cheating and relating to having a “secret.”
“After that was out in the open, I was left alone feeling like a liar, because I had a secret, one that I kept from my father, my mother, my family, my friends, and you,” Carmichael said. “Professionally, personally. And the secret is that I’m gay.”
Carmichael adds as the audience claps, “I’m accepting the love, I really appreciate the love. My ego wants to rebel against it.”
Later in the special, Carmichael continues, “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 comedian is making his “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut April 2. The North Carolina–born comic rose to fame in the Los Angeles stand-up scene before creating the sitcom “The Carmichael Show.” The semi-autobiographical series was canceled after three seasons at NBC.
“Rothaniel” isn’t the first time Carmichael has addressed homosexuality: In the 2019 HBO special “Home Video,” Carmichael talked about his sexual experiences with men and remembered telling his mother, “I’ve hooked up with dudes before.”
Carmichael admits in “Rothaniel” that, three years later, his relationship with his mother has become more strained since his coming out. “As much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free,” Carmichael says. “And I do feel freer.”
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.