When Jerrod Carmichael told the audience that he was gay, he feared their reaction.
But instead of booing, they clapped in acceptance, to his relief.
Carmichael, a 34-year-old comedian, came out during his new HBO special “Rothaniel” April 1. “Rothaniel” tells the stories of his family history with his own coming out process, according to Yahoo! News. He talks about the weight of keeping his secret hidden, and how coming out has changed his relationships with friends and family for better or worse.
Carmichael also shared a story about his father cheating on his mother for years.
“After that was out in the open, I was left alone feeling like a liar, because I had a secret,” he told his audience. “One that I kept from my father, my mother, my family, my friends, and you. Professionally, personally. And the secret is that I’m gay.”
After a long silence the audience claps.
He also said that he’s “accepting and appreciating the love” and how his “ego wants to rebel against it,” Yahoo! News reported.
“I rebelled against it my whole life. I thought I’d never, ever come out. At many points I thought I’d rather die than confront the truth of that, to actually say it to people. Because I know it changes some people’s perceptions of me. I can’t control that.”
Even though Carmichael only now has officially come out, he has in the past spoken about having sexual encounters with other men. During a 2019 HBO special “Home Video,” he confessed to his mother saying “I’ve hooked up with dudes before,” according to TVline.com.
He’s admitted that his relationship with his mother became more fraught since he came out in “Rothaniel,” but has hopes for the future.
“As much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free,” he said. “And I do feel freer.”