Jerrod Carmichael praises Ellen DeGeneres for being a huge inspiration in his own coming-out journey on her show Friday.
Carmichael recently came out as gay in his HBO special, “Rothaniel”, and expresses his gratitude to DeGeneres for paving the way by coming out 25 years ago.
The comedian shares how he felt in the moment he came out publicly and how he feels about sharing his truth with his family.
“I’m thankful for you because we both faced whatever obstacles coming out and everyone has their own personal journey.
“You faced coming out at a time when it just was impossible, there was no Ellen DeGeneres to show you what it’s like. You faced a lot, but I watched it with my mom… my mom watched you and she laughed at you and you were welcome in the home,” which he says meant a lot coming from a southern, Christian family.
Carmichael jokes, “You’re like a gay, white Desmond Tutu.”
As DeGeneres questions Carmichael on how he felt in that moment, he admits: “Terrified. I never thought I would publicly be out and gay. It was hard in that moment,” admitting it was also a release.
He says that although coming out means he has to have some distance from his family right now, “It doesn’t mean it’s a sacrifice of happiness.”
Carmichael also spoke to Jimmy Kimmel about coming out, telling the host: “I think I feel freer. After coming out, you realize that, like — I realize a lot of people are in the closet about something. Through the process. It’s inhibiting. Like, I realize I take better pictures since coming out because I’m not worried about looking gay. Was I not smiling because smiling is gay? So silly.”