Jerrod Carmichael has come out as gay in his new HBO comedy special Rothaniel.
Set to premiere on HBO on Friday, the 34-year-old comedian’s latest special is directed by Bo Burnham and sees him open up about his sexuality. As Variety reports, the special was taped at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City back in February, and he told the audience he’s gay after sharing a story about catching his father cheating.
“After that was out in the open, I was left alone feeling like a liar, because I had a secret,” he said in the special. “One that I kept from my father, my mother, my family, my friends, and you. Professionally, personally. And the secret is that I’m gay.” After some silence from the audience, he was greeted with applause and admitted he once thought he’d never come out.
“I’m accepting the love, I really appreciate the love. My ego wants to rebel against it,” he said. “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. Because I know it changes some people’s perceptions of me. I can’t control that.”
The news comes ahead of Carmichael hosting this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live with musical guest Gunna. He previously said that he had “hooked up” with men in his 2019 HBO special Home Video, but he never put a label on his sexuality publicly until Rothaniel. The special will premiere at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, and will be available to stream on HBO Max after.
Outside of his stand-up comedy, he’s also set to release his directorial debut On the Count of Three later this year. The comedy thriller, which is about two depressed friends who vow to kill each other before the end of the day, debuted to strong critical response at film festivals last year.