Comedian Jerrod Carmichael shares tense phone call with his mum after coming out as gay

Jerrod Carmichael stares at the camera while wearing a black shirt and a dark red jacket

Jerrod Carmichael has opened up about talking to his mum for the first time since the release of his HBO special Rothaniel, in which he came out publicly as gay.

Carmichael came out publicly as gay in his candid special Rothaniel, which aired on 1 April. In the special, Carmichael discussed his father’s infidelity and said he felt “like a liar” because he hadn’t told anyone his “secret” – that he is gay. 

Fresh off his appearance as a host on Saturday Night Live, Carmichael visited the Late Night with Seth Meyers set to discuss his special and his family’s reaction to him coming out. 

The comedian shared that he had received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans since coming out on the special, but he said “life doesn’t work like that for the rest of it”. 

“I need it to supplement … I think there’s kind of a little bit of a rift with me and my family and like, you know, that kind of core tribe,” he said. “So like I’ve been receiving love from strangers – sexually and non-sexually.”

Jerrod Carmichael explained that he had a “crazy drive” to Meyers’ show as he had a phone call with his parents, and it was the first time that he had talked to them since Rothaniel aired. 

“My mom practices a lot of cognitive dissonance with it, or denial rather, so I have to come out like every other conversation,” he said. 

Carmichael admitted he was “nervous” to talk to his mum because “it was a lot” in the special, and he said there were a “lot of things that I was afraid to say to her”.

He told Meyers that his family has a tendency to be “polite” and just “smile through things” instead of talking about them.

“There’s a lot of elephants in the room,” he explained. “I think my family lives inside an elephant actually.”

He said it was an “emotional call” and his mum “expressed a lot of love” for her son. Carmichael described how it was “almost very nice” until his mum said that these “sins” were “tearing the family apart”. 

“It was almost very nice until my mom said, ‘These sins are tearing the family apart’,” he said. “It just speaks to the kind of the core of the problem that there’s this insurmountable mountain that we can’t really get over.” 

The Transformers: The Last Knight actor also revealed that he is in a good place with his dad, who recently texted to “take responsibility for trauma he caused”. 

“He apologised for a lot of the chaos like, ‘I’m so sorry for the chaos’,” he recalled. “My dad speaks very dramatically. It’s nice though.”