For Jerrod Carmichael these last few years have been great ride as the second season of his NBC series The Carmichael Show. In an interview with The New York Times, Jerrod further discussed his comedy and how he doesn’t look to scold the black community but instead suggest the route of no longer playing the victim.
When I raised this topic with Carmichael, he reiterated that his jokes were intended as motivational tough love. He said he heartily rejects the ‘‘pull up your pants’’ mantras and ‘‘bootstrap’’ narratives of black respectability politics but aims nonetheless to encourage ‘‘personal responsibility’’: ‘‘It’s not saying I’m on the system’s side; it’s me saying I’m determined to beat it, and join me, why don’t you?’’ As for the reactions and possible misinterpretations of white fans, these were not foremost among Carmichael’s concerns. ‘‘I’m not talking to you; it’s not about you,’’ he told me.