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Midway through the NBC event, Carmichael took to the stage holding three Golden Globes trophies.
“Backstage, I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned,” he said. “Look, I’m just a host briefly or whatever, but I have a pitch. I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Anyway, from Top Gun: Maverick, please welcome Glen Powell and Jay Ellis!” Carmichael then said.
Some background: Cruise returned his previously won Globes after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association became embroiled in scandal in 2021 for, among other things, a severe lack of diversity in its member ranks. Then Cruise was snubbed for a nomination this year in the best actor category for Top Gun: Maverick (though the blockbuster film itself is up for best drama). He is not in attendance at the awards.
Shelly Miscavige is the wife of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige and has not been seen publicly for 15 years.
This led Leah Remini, a former Scientology member who has become one of its most outspoken critics, to tweet a video of the joke, along with the message, “Thank you Jerrod Carmichael! Where is Shelly??”
The joke follows Carmichael’s unusual opening monologue where he tackled the HFPA’s diversity scandal head on.
After presenting an award to Zendaya for best actress in a drama for Euphoria, who was not in attendance, the Maverick pair launched into a bit about the importance of their roles as supporting actors for star Tom Cruise. “All you number ones would be nothing without us number twos. Without Hangman, Maverick would be dead,” said Powell, ending the bit. “Think about that. It’s a good thing Tom’s not here,” said Ellis.
Jackie Strause contributed to this report.
Jan. 10, 11:30 p.m. Updated with Remini’s tweet.
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