Jerrod Carmichael Comes Out as Gay in His HBO Special ‘Rothaniel’
Jerrod Carmichael had foreshadowed being gay in a lot of his stand-up before Rothaniel. However, it was only during the taping of Rothaniel that he came out of the closet for the first time.
Looking back at his entire stand-up material, every gay joke he has ever made hit different now. And there have been plenty of those in the bygone years.
He admitted to feeling "freer" after coming out, but his revelation wasn't just about himself.
Jerrod Carmichael Came Out as Gay in 'Rothaniel'
Before doing the big self-outing, he prefaced his decision with a family story. He told a story about how his father had been cheating on his mother for years.
Jerrod Carmichael came out of the closet for the first time in public in his HBO special 'Rothaniel.' (Photo: Twitter)
The comedian realized, after his father's secret was out, that he was the only one with things hidden in the family.
"I was left alone feeling like a liar, because I had a secret," he confessed to the audience.
He said he had been hiding this secret from his family, friends, and the audience, addressing them as "you."
"And the secret is that I'm gay," he finally completed his big reveal.
The crowd went silent for a while, but then burst into thunderous applause. As the cheering stopped, he looked to be in relief.
"I really appreciate the love," he said, going on to talk about how he thought he would never come out.
"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," he added, fearing the change in people's perception of him after knowing he was gay.
Even though Rothaniel was the first time he actually admitted to being gay in public, he has been open about his experiences with men in the past.
In his 2019 HBO special Home Video, he revealed he had a conversation with his mother about sexual experiences with men.
But even though he was relieved after outing his secret, people around him had varied reactions.
How Jerrod Carmichael's Family Reacted to His Coming Out
"I keep saying I'm gay in New York and people keep clapping," Carmichael joked on his April 2022 appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. "It's very kind."
But not everyone was so nice. He admitted to having a "rift" with his family after his coming out. He admitted to talking with his parents for the first time after the special's release on his way to the show.
Carmichael came out to his mom before the special, but he said his mother practiced "a lot of cognitive dissonance" with the fact that he was not straight. She also would be in denial at times.
So he had to come out to her in every other conversation they had. Both his father and mother expressed a lot of love for him during that conversation.
But his mother, a religious woman, also said his "sins" were tearing the family apart, which he saw as the core of the problem.
"There's this... insurmountable mountain that we can't really get over," he opined. "And it was real dramatic."
Rothaniel isn't all about Carmichael being gay, but that was what made the headlines.