Jerrod Carmichael opted for brutal honesty as the host of the 80th Golden Globe Awards on Tuesday.
“I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here ’cause I’m Black,” he said, opening the show. This was the first Golden Globes Ceremony since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association came under fire in 2020 for controversies including a lack of diversity and unethical financial practices.
“I’ll catch everyone in the room up,” Carmichael continued. “The Golden Globe Awards did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — which, I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died, so do with that information what you will…”
Carmichael then walked the audience through his process of deciding to take the job of Golden Globes host: “I was at home, drinking tea, when I got a phone call from my man Stephen Hill. He said, ‘Jerrod, I’m producing the 80th Golden Globes and it would be an honor if you would agree to be the host.’ I was like, ‘Whoa.’ One minute you’re making mint tea at home, and next you’re invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organization. Life comes at you fast!”
“I said, ‘Stephen, I’m torn. I’ll be honest with you: I’m only being asked to host this, I know, because I’m Black.’ He said, ‘Let me stop you right there, Jerrod. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re talented. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re charming. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re one of the greatest comedians of a generation.’”
After wide applause from the audience, Carmichael jabbed, “But Stephen’s Black, so what does he know? He’s only producing the show because he’s Black! They’re not gonna tell him why he’s here either!”
Carmichael said that, unsure of what to do, he spoke about his moral dilemma to a friend “who, for the sake of this monologue, represents every black person in America.” She asked how much the gig would pay, to which Carmichael said that it wasn’t about the money.
“She said, ‘Jerrod, enough of all that! How much are they paying you?’ I said, ‘$500,000.’ She said, ‘Boy, if you don’t put on a nice suit and take them white people’s money!”
Obviously, Carmichael took the job, a decision he was proud of until he got an email from his publicist that HFPA president Helen Hoehne wanted to sit down for a one-on-one conversation with him, to which he responded, “No thanks. I know a trap when I hear a trap.”
He figured he could get away with skipping the meeting without consequences, saying, “Or what? They’re gonna fire me? They haven’t had a Black host in 79 years, and they’re gonna fire the first one? I’m un-firable!”
Closing his monologue, “I’m going to be honest with you, I took this job assuming they hadn’t changed at all. I heard they got six new Black members … congrats to them. Whatever. Sure. But it’s not why I’m here. I’m here because of all of you. I look into this room and see a lot of talented people. People that I admire. People I would like to be like. People that I’m jealous of. People that are incredible artists. Regardless of whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s past may be, this is an evening where we get to celebrate, and I think this industry deserves evenings like these.”
Carmichael is best known for his work as a stand-up comedian, including his 2022 HBO special “Rothaniel,” which earned him an Emmy for variety special writing. HBO also premiered his 2014 and 2017 specials “Love at the Store” and “8,” respectively. In 2021, he directed, produced and starred in the comedy-drama film “On the Count of Three.”