'The Carmichael Show' to Tackle Donald Trump in Election-Themed Episode (Exclusive)

Series co-creator, writer and star Jerrod Carmichael talks to THR about the episode, which will air May 29. "I think Donald Trump, more than any candidate in history, has really held a mirror up to America," he says.
Ben Cohen/NBC; John Lamparski/WireImage/Getty Images

Bill Cosby wasn't safe, and neither is Donald Trump.

The Carmichael Show is set to tackle the presidential candidate in its season-two finale, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The episode centers on the upcoming election overall and addresses several polarizing factors besides the Republican hopeful. The half-hour was penned by co-creator, writer and star Jerrod Carmichael along with co-creator Nicholas Stoller. It will air May 29.

"I was actually trying to avoid doing it. But the world won't let you avoid talking about Donald Trump," Carmichael tells The Hollywood Reporter about the episode. "Not just him, but the election in general is a very interesting one, and it's really, really important. It just proved unavoidable."

This is just the latest hot topic to be addressed on the NBC multicam comedy, which hails from 20th Century Fox Television. In addition to discussing controversial subject matter like gun control, gender, religion and gentrification, The Carmichael Show made headlines when it devoted an entire episode to the sexual-assault allegations against Cosby.

As with many of the other topics covered on his show, Carmichael frequently has discussed Trump, and his political viewpoints in particular, in his stand-up act.

"That's what's fun for me, is to try and find a different perspective, to try and find the most honest, sometimes uncomfortable, perspective that we can have on him," he says. "The same way when we did the Cosby episode; it wasn't just an accusation. … This isn't just a 'Donald Trump is crazy' episode. It's really just a, 'Well, what does this say about America?' I think Donald Trump, more than any candidate in history, has really held a mirror up to America."

Like Cosby, Trump is a sensitive topic in the halls of NBC. He hosted The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice for more than a decade before NBC cut ties with him last June after what the network deemed to be "derogatory" comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants. However, that relationship has warmed in recent months, with Trump hosting Saturday Night Live and making several appearances on Today and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Carmichael admits there was "some caution" at the network about addressing Trump, "but they were a bit more open to it, especially after the Cosby episode," he says.

In addition to dealing with Trump, Carmichael says the show's season-two finale will offer "a few thoughts" on all the presidential candidates. "We kind of address everyone," he says. "It's as divisive of a conversation as I think it is in every family. It's the Thanksgiving conversation you try and avoid, magnified."

Overall, the comedian hopes the episode reflects an "honest conversation" about the candidate and the election overall. He says, "I want to have an open, genuinely balanced argument about even Donald Trump."

The Carmichael Show airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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