What the Hell Happened at Jerrod Carmichael’s HBO Taping?

Jerrod Carmichael’s HBO Stand Up Special Premieres Saturday, October 4th

taped his HBO special on Friday night in New York City and there’s a lot of buzz about the special, but it’s not all good. Almost every comic gets some negative feedback after a taping, so seeing some Twitter complaints is not surprising.  But when our own Monday morning columnist Jeffrey Gurian reported back that he didn’t think the special went well, that made us pay attention.

He said the show got off on a bad foot when fans who were lined up around the block, had to wait in below freezing temperatures because the show started an hour late. According to Jeffrey, Jerrod’s opening act was never introduced, and read his material off a piece of paper. When Carmichael took the stage, things didn’t get much better. Jerrod’s hour was full of prolonged silences, soft-spoken material that was difficult to hear, and instances of repeating material without explanation. “He spoke at such a slow pace, laboring and deliberating over each word as if his life depended on it,” Jeffrey writes in his column that you can read tomorrow morning. According to Gurian, Carmichael went over time– even after producers told him they had enough material and eventually told him they had run out of tape. “It was probably the strangest, most unusual performance I’ve ever seen, especially for something being taped for TV.”

Disappointing to hear of course. We know and love Jerrod from his hit NBC show, The Carmichael Show. It’s been the little show that could, debuting in a rough calendar spot– late August 2015– and proving itself by becoming the most watched summer network comedy in eight years.  Jerrod’s been on , , Corden, Fallon, and Colbert, and he made the prestigious Forbes Under 30 list this year; and got a book deal. He’s one of those stars that catches a wave, and deservedly so. Carmichael is as funny as the accolades would lead you to believe, and his first special, Love at the Store was well received in 2014. The special was directed by Spike Lee. This time around fellow comedian Bo Burnham, who just released his own special in 2016, sat in the director’s chair.

We went to Twitter to see what other fans had to say about the taping and reactions were mixed. There were plenty of positive reactions, like @MsNyreeEmory who said “My face in various stages during ‘s taping last night. In a good way.” and @Giraultsisme who was inspired watching Jerrod and Bo work last night. But other tweets complained about the cold, being left outside to wait, or were offended by some of Carmichael’s jokes, like @KatherineSmithand and @HuckSawyer2 who paraphrased one of Carmichael’s  jokes about Hitler and Jews.

Of course, the only way to truly judge a special is to wait for its release and watch it. Jerrod Carmichael’s special is coming exclusively to HBO in 2017 and we’ll be watching….

And you can read Jeffrey Gurian’s full column, tomorrow morning.






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