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Why Jerrod Carmichael is ‘grateful’ for Ellen DeGeneres’ exit – The Hollywood Reporter

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Jerrod Carmichael returned to The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday as part of the talk show’s final season. While there, the duo spoke about their shared high-profile experiences and the impact DeGeneres had on the Rothaniel actor.

Carmichael opened up about the honest back and forth, explaining his desire to connect with DeGeneres the last time he was a guest on the show, promoting his NBC series The Carmichael Show. The actor, writer and director admitted that because he was “locked up” and “really, really scared” he didn’t say what he wanted to.

“It’s one of those things where it’s like I have so much to tell you and you were definitely such an inspiration – in a specific way – and I almost missed the chance to come and tell you. , and it’s really nice to be able to be here again. I’m so grateful for that,” he told the host.

He went on to say he was “especially grateful for you,” telling DeGeneres how her decision to publicly identify as gay 25 years ago had a direct impact on him, before jokingly calling it out, ” a gay white Desmond Tutu who just spreads the love”. ”

He said: “We both faced all the obstacles that came our way and each has their own personal journey, family and personal issues to overcome. But you had to come out at a time when, I mean, it was just impossible. There was no precedent. There was no Ellen DeGeneres to show you what it looks like.

“I watched it with my mom. I watched everything. I watched your sitcom. I watched you talk to Oprah. I watched the interpretive dance in the special,” he said. he continued, “My mom looked at you and she laughed at you and you were welcome home. It’s not nothing. I don’t want to overlook that, because it’s really huge. Being a Southerner and a Christian and those things—the idea of ​​having a gay man in my mom—it seemed impossible. And you did.

In turn, ‘my hero’ DeGeneres Carmichael revealed she texted the comedian ‘right away’ after his special debut, before asking him about how emotional he was feeling on the show. of live humor, to which the Rothaniel The star said he felt “very terrified” and “a release and a relief”. the Ellen Show The host also shared her surprise that the content for her special was not released before it was released on HBO Max.

“You shot it in February and then it started airing recently, so it’s been a long time,” DeGeneres said. “I can’t believe there wasn’t a leak. I can’t believe this only came out right before you were hosting SNL.”

DeGeneres then opened up about his experience of seeing people who aren’t public being afraid to touch anything around being gay for fear of being associated with it, highlighting Carmichael’s first special, in which he joked about the best way out. “Why would you do that unless you pitched the idea out there to see how people would react?” she asked.

“I mean, it’s all part of stepping out of it. I felt distant. I think a big part of my act was that it wasn’t personal. It’s all projection,” he said. “So I say things about gay people like I would say things about relationships, women, politics or whatever.

“I’m sure some of the things in my life that I deeply regret were a product of self-hatred and denial of who I really was,” he added. “So I think the material and a lot of those things — like when I wasn’t talking about myself, I was talking about everyone outside of me, I was just throwing punches and missiles as much as I could. All smoke bombs, all like distractions from who I really was and what I was afraid of.

The two ended their conversation by bringing up the response from Carmichael’s family, who the comedian says haven’t quite come to terms with his identity. He told DeGeneres it was “not easy,” but the distance between them was “OK.”

He told DeGeneres, “I make the decision to be solid, kind of accept the things that are and the things that I can’t change,” then joked, “[I] looks like I’m just saying the serenity prayer right now.

“But it will take me a long time to be able to be in this position. It means some distance from a family, but that’s okay. It is not obligated. I hope that will change, but that’s how it is right now. That’s not to say it’s a sacrifice of happiness and I think it’s really, really important to say that too.

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