Jerrod Carmichael knows why he's hosting 2023 Golden Globes: It's 'because I'm Black'
Comedian Jerrod Carmichael didn't pull any punches with the Golden Globes as the Hollywood awards show made its TV comeback after a hiatus riddled with controversy.
"I'll tell you why I'm here. I'm here because I'm Black," the "Rothaniel" comic said Tuesday in his opening monologue as this year's host. "I'll catch everyone in the room up."
And he did just that.
Carmichael, who signed on as host in December, addressed why the ceremony didn't air on TV last year. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the Globes' host organization, underwent reforms to diversify its ranks after a 2021 Los Angeles Times investigation sparked conversations about the the group's ethical and financial lapses and a lack of diversity among its then-87 members.
"The Golden Globe Awards did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. — I won't say they were a racist organization, but they didn't have a single Black member until George Floyd died," Carmichael said bluntly to scattered, nervous laughter. "So do with that information what you will."
Taking a seat onstage at the Beverly Hilton to connect his star-studded audience, Carmichael recounted how producer Stephen Hill, who is Black, contacted him about the hosting opportunity.
The recent Emmy Winner said he was "torn" when first offered the gig.
"One minute you're making mint tea at home, the next you're invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organization," he said to more laughter, as the audience warmed up to his jokes. "Life really comes at you fast."
Facing a "moral, racial dilemma," Carmichael said the $500,000 paycheck was a major deciding factor.
After accepting the job, the comic said he was required to meet with the HFPA president, Helen Hoehne, to learn about the organization's recent reforms. But he said he wasn't too interested.
"I'll be totally honest with everyone here tonight. I don't really need to hear it," he said. "I took this job assuming they hadn't changed at all. I heard they got six new Black members. Congrats to them. Whatever."
He concluded his set by celebrating the "really incredible artists" and the evening dedicated to honoring their work.
"Regardless of whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s past may be, this is an evening where we get to celebrate," Carmichael said. "I think this industry deserves evenings like these. I'm happy you all are here. I'm happy I'm here."
Here's a transcript of Carmichael's full monologue:
Settle, settle, settle, settle, settle. People in the back, let’s be a little quiet here. Everybody, let's be a little quiet here. Everyone, let’s be a little quiet here.
Hello. Welcome to the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards.
I am your host, Jerrod Carmichael (applause). Sure. Sure, sure, sure. And I'll tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I’m Black. I’ll catch everyone in the room up.
If you settle down a little bit, I’ll tell you what’s been going on. This show, the Golden Globe Awards, did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., 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.
I’ll tell you how I got here. Why am I here on the stage with you guys tonight?
Well, I was at home (sits down). Was drinking tea and I got a phone call from my man Stephen Hill. Stephen Hill is a great producer, and he said, “Jerrod, really, I’m honored to be making this phone call.” He said, “I’m producing the 80th Golden Globes, and it would be an honor if you would agree to join as the host.”
I was like, “Woah.“ You know? Like, one minute you’re making mint tea at home. The next you’re being asked to be the Black face of an embattled white organization. Life really comes at you fast, you know?
So I said, “Stephen, I’m torn, I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little torn. Because, one, it’s a great opportunity, thank you for the call, but I’m only being asked to host this, I know, because I’m Black.”
And Stephen said, “Let me stop you right there, Jerrod.”
He said, “You are being asked to host this show because you are talented. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re charming.” He said, "You’re being asked to host this show because you're one of the greatest comedians of a generation.”
But Stephen's Black, so what does he know? Like, he’s only producing this show because he’s Black. They’re not gonna tell him why he’s here either.
So I said, “Stephen, this is a lot for me. Let me call you back.”
So I did what I do when I have a moral, racial dilemma. I called the homegirl Avery, who, for the sake of this monologue, represents every Black person in America.
And I said to Avery, I said, “Avery, they asked me to host the Golden Globes.” I said, “What should I do?” She said, “Oh, Bookie, I’m so proud of you. Now, remind me which award show is that again?”
And I told her what the show was, and I told her how last year didn’t air because of the no Black people thing and she was like, “Well, how much are they paying you?”
And I said, “Well, Avery, it’s not about the money. Honestly. It’s about the moral question of whether I should allow …” She said, “Jerrod, enough of all that, how much are they paying you? “
I said, “Five hundred thousand dollars.”
And she said, “Boy, if you don’t put on a good suit and take the white people money …”
And I kind of forget that, like, where I'm from, like, we all live by a strict “take the money” mentality.
I bet Black informants for the FBI in the '60s, their families were still proud of them.
Like, they were like, “Did you hear about Clarence's new job? They’re paying him $8 an hour just to snitch on Dr. King. It’s a good government job.”
And I called Stephen back and I said, “I’m happy to do this,” and I was really proud of that decision … until I got an email from my publicist saying that Helen, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., wanted to have a one-on-one sit-down with me.
And I said, “No thanks.” I know a trap when I hear a trap.
And I thought it went away. Then it came back and they were like, “Well, they’re not really asking, Jerrod. They’re insisting that you take the meeting.”
And I’m like, “Or what? They’re gonna fire me? They haven’t had a Black host in 79 years. They’re gonna fire the first one? I’m unfireable."
And it came back again, a third time. They were like, “You know, Jerrod, Helen just really wants to educate you on the changes the organization has made in regards to diversity."
And I'll be totally honest with everyone here tonight — I don’t really need to hear that. I took this job assuming they hadn’t changed at all. 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 truly because all of you. I look out into this room and I see a lot of talented people. Like, people I admire, people I would like to be like, people that I’m jealous of and people that are actually really incredible artists.
And regardless of whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s past may be, this is an evening where we get to celebrate, and I think this industry deserves evenings like these, and I’m happy you all are here. I’m happy I’m here.
And I hope we have some fun tonight. I’m a little over time, but they figured it out, I’m sure.
Times Assistant Managing Editor Samantha Melbourneweaver contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.