There’s a moment in Jerrod Carmichael’s 2014 HBO stand-up special, Love at the Store, where he suddenly says, “I wanna talk about rape.” What follows is a microcosm of Carmichael’s comedy, a subversive, semi-funny, fully awkward joke about what would happen if you saw a shooting star while being raped. “Would you,” Carmichael asks, “use your one wish to stop that rape immediately or would you see the big picture and wish for the usual million dollars?” The devious, purposely shocking bit is met with mostly hesitant chuckles, and afterwards Carmichael admonishes himself: “Hey Jerrod, maybe you can get rape to work! Like maybe, like, maybe people are ready for that!”

Ready or not, here comes Jerrod Carmichael. The 27-year-old from Winston-Salem, N.C. has spent the last half-decade building a particularly famous fanbase with his stand-up act—Spike Lee directed his stand-up special and Bill Cosby (before he became BILL COSBY) invited him over to his house—and later this month, he’ll officially cash in his co-signs and become the newest face of comedy on NBC with The Jerrod Carmichael Show. It’s a big deal, not just because a relative unknown is bursting onto the primetime scene with his own self-titled show, but because Carmichael is being asked to pick up the NBC baton in a post-Tina Fey/Amy Poehler/Steve Carell world. But Carmichael’s not scared—instead he happily puts his loosely autobiographical show up against classics like Cheers, Seinfeld and The Cosby Show. Apparently once you manage to make people simultaneously squirm and laugh on HBO, a sitcom feels like a total breeze.

A few weeks ago, we got Carmichael to sit down for a long breakfast with us and hit on everything from his show to Kendrick Lamar to whatever the fuck honeydew is.