Jerrod Carmichael at the 2023 Golden Globes

Jarrod Carmichael at the 2023 Golden Globes.
Photo: Rich Polk/NBC via Getty Images

The NBC clip of Jarrod Carmichael’s opening monologue at the Golden Globes opens a few seconds into the standard “Welcome to the 80th Golden Globe Awards,” but in the first moments when cameras roll into the ballroom at 8 p.m. ET went live and Carmichael walked out. , his first words were actually “Stop! Stop, stop, stop. People in the back. Let’s be quiet here, everybody.” He walked across the stage like a well-seasoned high school teacher trying to regain control in first grade after lunch break, instead of trying to talk about them. , waiting for the unlucky group to drop in energy levels. But a teacher in this position knows they have time: they will eventually have a long relationship with these students and be able to gain their attention through quiet power. The problem for Carmichael was that Globe never gave him time.

Carmichael’s opening, seven-minute monologue was the closest he got to the mood Globes seemed to want to establish. It was a method of revealing, in which he created a sense of intimacy with the audience, quickly naming all the elephants in the room, but especially by turning them into easy, nonsensical jokes. to deny “I’m going to tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I’m black,” he said. “The Golden Globe Awards were not broadcast last year, because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – which I wouldn’t say was a racist organization, but they didn’t have a black member until the death of George Floyd.” Somewhere in the room, the voices rose with laughter, and this was the first step towards Carmichael achieving something wonderful: the hidden obscurity by the well-known award Peter. Finally, as Carmichael casually sat on the stage steps and began to tell the story of his involvement in the show, he reached the voice he seemed most passionate about trying to convey. During the few moments as Carmichael stood between the lines, the room was silent.

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For award show hosts and very short comedy sets, silence is the enemy. Silence is lack of confirmation. Silence is a suspended rhythm, a dead room, energy levels falling to irreversible lows. Deliberate performer silence is the epitome of one-man shows and long-running comedic personal reflections, and did you know that the famously booze-filled Golden Globes historically haven’t been about awards shows? Deep introspection was captured by one person’s insistence on slamming the brakes on everyone’s feelings, quietly together in a room. But as Carmichael has shown again and again in his work, he appreciates approval but is ultimately interested in what happens when people who expect comedy are denied easy ways to comfort. . Carmichael fans will have already started the Globes already knowing he made it 8a special that intentionally elicits laughter from the audience, and more recently Rothanilwhich begins as stand-up, then creates opportunities for its audience to ask themselves what comedy even is. But for worse (and for better, because ultimately Carmichael wanted That silence), the Globes audience inside the room and a large portion of the audience at home were not prepared for his full enthusiasm in the usual awards-monologue format.

He described his process for agreeing to host the show: his “moral, racial skepticism” about doing so, how much he was paid (half a million dollars, reportedly, which a lot More than Wanda Sykes told Jimmy Kimmel she was paid for the Oscars in 2022) and his refusal led to a one-on-one meeting with the president of the HFPA. “Or what? Are they going to fire me?” Carmichael said. “They haven’t had a black host in 79 years. They’re going to shoot first? I’m not fireable.” The crowd laughed a little, but it wasn’t a comforting laugh. In a few segments in the opening seven minutes, Carmichael created the awards show he seemed to be aiming for: a heartwarming show, heartwarming and funny, And a show that at its core was largely focused on his own presence. The host. It’s honestly remarkable that Carmichael was able to pull off any of these ceremonies in a deliberately unbalanced, full-on spot. make a mess

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But then, like Cinderella in Midnight or a reluctant employee who suddenly remembers that he still has to do his job, Carmichael had to return to hosting an awards show. “I look around this room, and I see a lot of talented people — people that I admire, people that I want to be like,” he said. “This is an evening where we celebrate, and I think this industry deserves evenings like this.” It was a transmission of straw men, a sudden appeal to decorum that somehow suggested that not everyone should be happy because of the HFPA but somehow. Note that for the rest of the night, the winners will breathlessly thank the HFPA for their care and that no one is suggesting that all awards ceremonies should be canceled because this one was. Carmichael successfully stopped the show for a moment but couldn’t help but finally surrender to the very ancient and unpleasant fact that the show must go on.

If this had been the sum of Carmichael’s contributions, the fun dissonance of these two impulses might have remained in strong balance with each other. Except Carmichael has to keep returning occasionally to introduce new presenters, piss people off on Twitter by interrupting pianist Chloe Flower’s acceptance speeches, and switch in beautiful new arrangements every few commercial breaks. More than once, he appeared flustered or a little angry that the room was paying little attention to him, repeatedly asking audience members to settle down or take their seats. In a return from a commercial break, Carmichael was positioned in the middle of the room staring at a security person, as if they wanted to help him with the ever-increasing chaos. She seemed to return to the room as she had left it: quiet, confident, carried away, unhappy about him. Globes had no patience for this and never would. The emotional memory for the award jolly is very strong, and the congratulatory mechanisms are very powerful – especially when fueled by a room full of people who just want to be normal and thick bottles of sponsorship.

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As the show went on, Carmichael excelled at moments when he slipped in a quick hit — like his joke about the mysteriously missing Scientologist Shelley Miscavige. It may have been an unusual goal, but it was Carmichael working to the more familiar Globes-host playbook: Show up, make a joke that’s clearly shaped like a joke, leave the exit stage. The audience gasped, but it was joyous outrage, not silent fear. In the end, whatever magic Carmichael had created at the opening was gone and the Golden Globes became what they always will be: an awards show – no less, no more.


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