Jerrod Carmichael On Navigating In Hollywood, Not Having A Mentor & Social Media Comedians
After being picked up for a third season, co-show creator, Jerrod Carmichael, has been working diligently to redefine sitcoms centered around African-Americans with his NBC series, The Carmichael Show. In a recent interview, Carmichael dishes on his humble beginnings in Los Angeles, his new found success, views on Donald Trump and Instagram comedians. Peep the excerpts below.
On the different challenges he faced with his television show:
The biggest challenge was marketing and making sure that it wasn’t marketed as that [stereotypical sitcom centered around African-Americans]. There are big moments in the show, and marketing only likes to show those moments because they think people’s attention span is really short. The loudest moments, they would put in the trailers.
On how he finds inspiration:
I just try and write from truth. Just try to make the most truthful version of it. Things inspired by my actual parents and discussions. It’s more about an argument than anything else.
On how the show stands out:
With anything you do, a lot has to do with context. Whatever you do, it has to be in the context of what everybody else is doing. Try to find out what everyone is doing, try and do the opposite. Try to avoid becoming a cliche.
On the beginning of his career:
I moved to L.A. when I was 20. I’m competitive, you know? In North Carolina, there are some great comedians, but I wanted to be around people who dedicated their lives to it [comedy]. I moved to L.A. and I started doing my comedy there. You do open mics, you sleep on couches which leads to shows. You’re always kind of having the 8 Mile moment. You just meet people, and form these networks.
On the people that got him to the place where he is now:
I don’t have a mentor or anything. Its no one person I can point to and say “this” person helped me. I like figuring stuff out myself.
On his experience with doing “Transformers: The Last Knight”:
I haven’t even seen the movie yet. I hope I’m in it. I mainly did this movie because I wanted to work with Michael Bay.
On navigating and working in Hollywood:
You have to be careful with these things. Hollywood is full of things that seem like an opportunity, but you have to be really really cautious. You have to be cautious doing something you don’t serve a function in.
On Donald Trump:
You ever watch spy movies? You know how its always these inferred beams somewhere and they always have this secret mist that they [main character] spray, and it lets you know where the beams are and you have to avoid. That’s who Donald Trump is to America’s society. It lets you know where boundaries are. It lets you know exactly where you are and where not to go. He is the human equivalent to a fire drill: ‘Oh, this could happen!’”
On social media comedians:
If you do it, hopefully you’re doing it because you’re good at it. And not, ‘this is where your opportunity is going to come from.’ Because there are other ways. As much as it seems like there are shortcuts, there aren’t many.
Photo: Kodak Len’s Instagram