'The Carmichael Show' is unapologetically black in primetime
“My intention with standup, with this show, with film, with anything that I do as overzealous as it sounds, is to contribute to expanding consciousness. It’s genuinely what I think I’m here for.” -Jerrod Carmichael
Jerrod Carmichael is widely known for his undeniably unique style of stand-up comedy featured in the HBO comedy special Jerrod Carmichael: Love at the Store. Some folks might recognize him from his recent film role alongside Seth Rogan and Zack Efron in Neighbors, or you might identify the sound of his voice from his work on the adult animated sitcom Lucas Bros. Moving Company.
Carmichael is currently entertaining millions of viewers with The Carmichael Show, an NBC-scripted sitcom that he created, executive produces and stars in.
The modern-day series, which is based on comedian’s real life and family, stars Loretta Devine, David Alan Grier, Amber Stevens West, Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery.
“I write characters that I’ve met. I write words that I use, I write very honestly, and if it’s unapologetically black that’s because I’m unapologetically black,” Carmichael told theGrio.com during an interview on the set of The Carmichael Show.
Thus far, the show has tackled hot-button topics such as Islamaphobia, homophobia, the Black Lives Matter movement, and gun control, to name a few.
Just last month, Carmichael and his cast dedicated an entire episode, titled Fallen Heroes, to the sexual assault controversy surrounding legendary comedian Bill Cosby.
“The Bill Cosby episode… that wasn’t from a headline,” Carmichael said. “I have a personal relationship with Bill Cosby. I’ve known and talked to Cosby a few times.”
Grier, who stars as Carmichael’s TV dad, says that he believes The Carmichael Show owes it to viewers to address hot topics like Cosby, no matter how unsettling it might be.
“The thing I loved about our Cosby episode were the different opinions. Everybody comes at it with a different opinion,” Grier said. “We’re not shying away from things about race… about our culture. To not do that to me would be false.”
Devine added that she’s learned to focus on delivering the material regardless of her personal opinions on the taboo issues the show addresses.
“After the first season, we realized that our job was to deliver the message in light of what side of the element he puts you on. There’s always a right and wrong or a yes and no. That’s what I love about the show. There’s so much truth in it. When we did the Cosby show, I really had to think, ‘Would I go see him if I had tickets this weekend?'”
In case you’re wondering if Cosby has ever watched an episode of NBC’s new outspoken family, he has.
Carmichael revealed that Cosby actually “likes” his show.
“He watched the pilot… I talked to him after one of them and he saw it and it and he reached out and said yeah, he liked the show.”
The Carmichael Show airs on NBC at 9/8c.