Jerrod Carmichael Took Bill Cosby’s Advice—Then Ghosted Him

Lloyd Bishop/NBC
Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Comedian Jerrod Carmichael confronts the terror of being perceived in his new HBO series Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show—on which, for example, he’s already discussed his crush on Tyler, the Creator with Tyler, the Creator.

Continuing his streak of brutal honesty, Carmichael appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, where he revealed that Bill Cosby once gave him some advice that he followed while making the show.

“I am showing really embarrassing, uncomfortable things in my life on the show,” Carmichael told Meyers. “I have nothing to hide with anybody, ever, now, so I feel really happy about that. But it’s hard, week to week, having to relive some of these moments.”

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“Because you’re not sitting in the edit, right?” Meyers asked. “So when you see the episode, it’s really, for you, only the second time you’re seeing it: when you lived it, and then [when] you see how it comes together.”

“I stay out of the editing room,” Carmichael confirmed, “because I’ll take out all the good stuff. I’ll be really precious and take out the things that make me look bad, but then the show wouldn’t be good.”

“Who convinced you, ‘don’t go to the editing room?’” Meyers asked.

“Honestly? Bill Cosby,” Carmichael said. “It was advice I got from Bill Cosby, he said, ‘Stay out of the editing room.’ He told me that, and then I never talked to him again,” the comedian added, shooting the laughing audience a sharp look. “I think he went to jail or something.”

In 2017—a year before Cosby was convicted for sexual assault—Carmichael addressed the discourse around the comedy legend in an episode of his sitcom The Carmichael Show. “You gotta separate the personal life from the work. Talent trumps morals,” Carmichael’s alter ego character says in the episode, which was titled “Fallen Heroes.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast about that episode in 2017, Carmichael explained that he’d been invited to Cosby’s house three years prior, before Cosby had fallen from grace in horrifying fashion. “It’s a place of categorizing that you have to take your mind to in order to not erase any good memory, but also being aware of the responsibility you have to be a moral person,” Carmichael said at the time. “I look at meeting him, and he was very kind to me, so I won’t be disrespectful of that. But there are real, serious accusations and you have to be respectful of those as well. The mind is torn, but I think both can coexist, even within our own heart.”

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Elsewhere in his Late Night interview this week, Carmichael talked about appearing on the last season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which he said had meant a lot to him as a young, closeted gay kid.

“I was talking about how I’m in therapy and exploring a lot of things in therapy, and Ellen asked if I was seeing anybody,” Carmichael said. “I thought it was a good time to make a joke, so I was like, ‘Ellen, it’s funny that you mention that, because I actually recently realized in therapy that if a guy doesn’t somehow remind me of my mom, I can’t get hard.’ Nothing. The audience went silent,” Carmichael said, as Meyers cackled.

“I looked over to Ellen for support, and she was just like, ‘Jesus Christ,’” Carmichael recalled. “And then it got cut out of the show. We’ll see if it makes it in this.” (It did.)

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