Jerrod Carmichael Comes out as Gay During HBO Special Ahead of 'SNL' Debut

Jerrod Carmichael bravely came out during the filming of his new HBO comedy special, Rothaniel. The special, which debuted on Friday, features several stories about his journey of coming to terms with his sexuality and divulging the news to his loved ones. The comedian admits he's received mixed reactions from those closest to him. After telling a story about discovering his father had been unfaithful to his mother, Carmichael takes a break before revealing his own truth. "After that was out in the open, I was left alone feeling like a liar, because I had a secret," he said. "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."

The audience gave Carmichael a round of applause. "I'm accepting the love, I really appreciate the love. My ego wants to rebel against it," he said, explaining that he's had difficulty in the past. "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," he said.

The 34-year old was born and raised in North Carolina in a religious family. In his 2019 HBO special Home Video, he spoke about past experiences with men. "I've hooked up with dudes before," he said. In Rothantiel, he admits his relationship with his mother has been estranged since he came out. However, he is hopeful for a better outcome in the future. "As much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free," he says. "And I do feel freer."


Carmichael is hosting SNL on April 2. He had a semi-autobiographical sitcom on NBC, The Carmichael Show, which ran for three seasons.