With news that his NBC sitcom The Carmichaels would be picked up for a season 2, Jerrod Carmichael caught up with Vulture magazine to reflect on the show’s first season. He expressed inspiration for the show, diversity and shares that fans will finally get a chance to know what his character does for a living. Read an excerpt of their interview, below.
V: Have you always dreamed of having a TV show?
That was one of my first dreams, before I even knew I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. I knew I wanted to do a show on NBC — it’s rooted in its history, it’s part rooted in nostalgia, and part rooted in the potential of it. For me there was no other choice. Being honest, I wouldn’t have done this type of show for any other network. It’s a personal thing. I’m also excited to jump into NBC at a time when they are rebuilding. It’s their time to find a new identity, and a time to strengthen, and to rediscover how great NBC comedies were. I wanted to be part of that process.
V: What did you learn while producing these six episodes? Is there anything you want to change?
It’s like music in the sense that with any band, you start off writing songs, you see a spark, and you hear something. I think we’re pretty good. I think we play well together. But knowing what the potential is, I’m excited to just keep honing the rhythm. When you see U2 or the Rolling Stones after years of knowing each other, they don’t have to look at each other to connect. I’m excited to hopefully get to that place with this cast that I love so much.
V: The show is based on your family, right? How close is the depiction?
It’s inspired by the principles of my real family — meaning all of the stories aren’t autobiographical. There are certain things that are plucked from real life, and certain lines that are legitimately things my mother or father said. But it’s more the principle that our family is very argumentative. We like to discuss things. We like to talk about everything, we like to get to the bottom of things, and we like to try figure things out. That’s what I take the most from.
V: You covered so many politically dense topics: gun control, Black Lives Matter, LGBT issues. Will the show continue to be focused on topics like those?
With the six episodes, a lot of them were very topical. But it was based on conversations that I was having at the time. More than anything, if I’m having conversations about things happening in the news, the show will reflect that. I was having a lot of conversations with my parents about health, and that episode is rooted in that. I’m just honest to the conversations I’m having, and all the writers are, too. It’s still very early for us, so there’s no true formula. It’s just instinct. Gender, as we know, is such an American discussion that’s being had right now.
V: Six episodes in, and the audience doesn’t know what Jerrod does for a living. What’s up with that?
It was rooted in a lot of indecisiveness on my part. We didn’t talk about it because I didn’t want to talk about it — because I needed to be sure. Now it’s been such a buildup that I’m just gonna have some fun with it when we actually talk about it. I fully take the blame!