Jerrod Carmichael's Coming Out Led to a "Tricky" Relationship With His Parents

Jerrod Carmichael's mother has pretty complicated feelings about her son's sexuality.


Apr. 15 2024, Updated 10:54 a.m. ET

Jerrod Carmichael red carpet
Source: Getty Images

Few comedians have established reputations as funnier and more thoughtful people than Jerrod Carmichael. From The Carmichael Show to his endeavors as a standup comedian, he has proven himself to be both versatile and funny, and he has continued to expand the boundaries of what he is capable of as a performer.

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As Jerrod becomes more and more well known, though, some have wondered who his parents are. Jerrod has talked openly about his parents, and specifically about coming out to them, at various points throughout his career. Here's what we know about who they are, and what Jerrod has said about their relationship.

Who are Jerrod Carmichael's parents?

jerrod and cynthia carmichael
Source: HBO

Jerrod with his mom Cynthia

Jerrod Carmichael was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Joe and Cynthia Carmichael. Joe is reportedly a truck driver, but not much else is known about who his parents are.

Jerrod has been open about the fact that he grew up in a poor family, that doesn't offer a ton of insight into who his parents were. While he hasn't given their bios, though, Jerrod has offered plenty of commentary on how his sexuality has affected his relationship with them.

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"Me and my mom have a God-sized wall between us. You know, that's the impossible thing to navigate," he explained during a Howard Stern interview in 2022. "I'm trying to trust fall into a new interpretation of religion because I do think it has value.

Jerrod explained by that Christianity eventually became a source of "self-hate" for him, and that it ultimately kept him in the closet longer.

Source: YouTube
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"Like, I haven't completely let go of it and I'm trying to reinterpret it for me and I've been trying to get my mother to have some type of openness to her interpretation of it and it's hard," he continued. "It's a tricky thing because people — my mother, not just people. My mother holds onto religion because it got her through really rough times."

Jerrod has had to distance himself somewhat from his mother.

Jerrod explained that, because his mother was conflicted about his sexuality, he ultimately felt like he needed to build some space between them.

"She didn't account for a gay son. She doesn't really know what to do with it," he said. "I can feel her being lost. I want to work with her but talking to her and not acknowledging that part of myself causes a reverberating effect of self-hate that I can't afford right now. So, I added distance. I think it's important."

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joe and jerrod carmichael
Source: HBO

Jerrod with his dad Joe.

Jerrod said that while it has been hard with his mother, his father has been supportive, and even served as a sort of "referee" between him and his mother.

"'Your mom called the other day, so take some time to call her. She loves you and misses her baby boy,'" Jerrod recalled his father telling him. "What I wrote back was, 'I know. I love her too, but her baby boy is now a big gay man and I think we need some time to come to terms with that.' And that's where we are."

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