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Congratulations are in order to Jerrod Carmichael, formerly of The Carmichael Show who has come out as gay in his upcoming HBO comedy special.

“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.

After telling a story about realizing his father had been cheating on his mother for years, Carmichael takes a beat and looks out at his audience. “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.”

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.”

I should also point out that in his 2019 special Home Video he has admitted that he has has sexual relations with men. In Rothaniel, he revealed that he came out to his mother, but their relationship at the moment is rocky. “As much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free,” he says. “And I do feel freer.”

I will admit I’m not familiar with Jerrod’s comedy, and I didn’t watch his short-lived NBC sitcom. Now that he’s come out, I have to say I’m more interested in learning about him, since being black and gay gives his world experiences more weight.

I can even see him leading a new sitcom where we can see how he navigates through the world as a gay black man, and through comedy unpack his childhood family traumas.

I’m definitely going to check out his special which is available now on HBO and HBO Max.

Also be sure to check him out tonight on SNL since he will be hosting.

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