Jerrod Carmichael Discusses Bill Cosby Episode of 'The Carmichael Show'
"This is one of the first times in American history where black people are able to be genuinely just human beings," says Carmichael. "Our conversations cannot necessarily fit into a box or be inhibited in any way. We can argue, and we don’t necessarily take one side of an argument."
"The Bill Cosby episode was the same as when we did the protest episode, when we did the kale episode; we did all these things that were based on conversations on real-life things that were happening," actor and comedian Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) told The Hollywood Reporter during the Comedy Actor Emmy Roundtable.
"I have an obligation as a comedian, as someone who exists in the world, to just reflect those conversations," he said. "I just do it as honest as possible."
The episode of The Carmichael Show brought controversial opinions into the sexual-assault accusations against Bill Cosby. Carmichael told THR how important it was to voice the difference of opinion.
"This is one of the first times in American history where black people are able to be genuinely just human beings. We’re able to really exist in America, and our conversations cannot necessarily fit into a box or be inhibited in any way. We can argue, and we don’t necessarily take one side of an argument. It’s balanced. The intention of my show is to reflect that."
When asked if anyone, black or white, told Carmichael not to do the episode, he said, "Yeah. Sure. Mostly lawyers," inciting laughs among the Roundtable members. "But not doing it wasn’t an option."
Carmichael went on to stress the importance of bringing a dramatic background to comedic work, saying that is what comedy is: "It is dramatic." He quoted Steve Carell as saying, "An actor in a comedy shouldn't be aware that they are in a comedy."
He went on to say that comedy is "tension that needs to be broken, and you have to be able to create that tension in order to let the air out. And so coming from a dramatic background is so beneficial to comedy. The situation can be funny, and it can be funny because you maybe said a very serious, perhaps absurd thing in that moment, but it has to be real."
More roundtables featuring comedy actresses, drama actresses and actors and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV, with the premiere of the Comedy Actors Roundtable on Sunday, July 17. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables, with full episodes available on THR.com after broadcast.