How Jerrod Carmichael roasted Hollywood at Golden Globes 2023


“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,” quipped Jerrod Carmichael as he kicked off hosting duties at the 80th Golden Globes, taking strategic aim at his employers for the night, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

Not acknowledging the elephant in the ballroom from the start would have set a conspicuously soft tone for both Carmichael and the scandal-mired organization, the subject of a 2021 Los Angeles Times investigation that led to a raft of reforms within one of Hollywood’s most lucrative awards bodies.

So instead, the Emmy-winning “Rothaniel” comedian came out of the gate by calling out some of the HFPA’s most infamous controversies, chief among them the group’s previous lack of diversity. Also in his crosshairs over the course of the night: Scientology, The Slap, Kanye West and more . Not even Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid” was safe.

Despite being one of few celebrities in attendance who dared bite the hand that feeds them (rather than cite a convenient work-related reason for skipping the festivities, this year’s excuse du jour), the emcee let loose fewer and fewer barbs as the three-hour-plus show fell behind schedule. Here’s an annotated guide to all the shots Carmichael managed to squeeze in from the Globes stage.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

“I’m here because I’m Black,” Carmichael said in his opening monologue, referencing the group’s previous — and glaring — lack of a single Black member. (Now, he added, there are six: “Congrats to them. Whatever.”)

“I’ll catch everyone in the room up,” he offered. “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.”

Despite initial hesitation from across the industry to return in full force to support the Globes, they bounced back. Invited to host this year’s awards, even Carmichael admitted to wrestling with the “moral dilemma,” telling producer Stephen Hill, “I’m only being asked to host this, I know, because I’m Black.”

After accepting the gig and, he said, its $500,000 paycheck, he recalled declining requests to meet with new HFPA President Helen Hoehne so she could “educate” him about the group’s newfound attempts to fix their reputation.

“They haven’t had a Black host in 79 years,” said Carmichael. “They’re going to fire the first one? I’m unfireable …. 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.”

Sebastian from ‘The Little Mermaid’

It was still early in the telecast when Carmichael, riffing with guest Globes pianist Chloe Flower, commented on the familiar tune she was playing to bring the telecast back in from a commercial break: “Under the Sea,” from the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid.”

“Is the crab from ‘The Little Mermaid’ racist, did we figure that out?” he ad-libbed before the presentation of the best animated film award, which went to “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.”

The red crab, voiced in the movie with a Jamaican accent by actor Samuel E. Wright, won a Grammy and the Oscar for best original song in 1989. “It was voiced by a Black man, but he was from South Carolina,” said Carmichael. “Does that count? Is it like Drake rules, where like a Black person can interpret Black voice?”

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in "Top Gun: Maverick"

Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick.” Although the film was nominated for best drama and original song, Cruise did not attend the 2023 Golden Globes.

(Paramount Pictures)

Scientology and its star, Tom Cruise

Later Carmichael appeared onstage to introduce co-presenters and “Top Gun: Maverick” co-stars Jay Ellis and Glen Powell. In his arms he clutched three Golden Globes statues that he joked formerly belonged to Tom Cruise. Following The Times’ 2021 HFPA investigation, which exposed both the organization’s lack of diversity and ethical and financial lapses, the “Top Gun” star publicly returned his Golden Globes in protest.

“I have a pitch,” said Carmichael. “I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige?”

Miscavige, the wife of longtime Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, has reportedly not been seen in public in years. Cruise — whose Golden Globe-nominated “Top Gun: Maverick” was one of 2022’s biggest hit films — remains Scientology’s most visible and influential celebrity member.

The joke spurred former Scientology member Leah Remini, who starred in and co-produced the A&E docuseries “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” to respond to Carmichael on Twitter. “Thank you Jerrod Carmichael!” tweeted Remini. “Where is Shelly??”

Remini, one of Hollywood’s most outspoken critics of the organization, filed a missing persons report on Shelly Miscavige’s behalf in 2013. It was subsequently dismissed by the LAPD.

Ex-Scientology executive Mike Rinder, who co-hosts the podcast “Scientology: Fair Game” with Remini, also thanked Carmichael “for raising the world’s awareness.” “It’s time for #scientology to produce Shelly Miscavige,” he wrote on Twitter. “@LeahRemini and others have been fighting for proof of her well-being for years.”

Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman in "The Fabelmans," co-written, produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.

Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman in “The Fabelmans,” co-written, produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.

(Merie Weismiller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment)

Kanye West

Back onstage, Carmichael teed up a quick joke by finding Steven Spielberg in the audience. “Congrats on ‘The Fabelmans,’” he said. “I actually saw it with Kanye and it changed everything, that’s how good it was.”

The semi-autobiographical film is inspired by Spielberg’s own movie-obsessed childhood growing up in a Jewish American family and depicts scenes of antisemitic bullying. The filmmaker, who was also co-nominated with Tony Kushner for scripting “The Fabelmans,” took home his fourth career Golden Globe for directing.

It is unknown whether West has seen “The Fabelmans,” which went on to win the night’s top award.

Last year, the once-beloved rapper’s brazenly hateful antisemitic comments lost him social media access, lucrative endorsement deals and the respect of the music and fashion industries that once venerated him.

A tearful Will Smith holds his Oscar while giving his acceptance speech after winning the lead actor award.

Will Smith accepts the Oscar for “King Richard” at the 94th Academy Awards. Earlier in the evening, the actor struck Chris Rock onstage.

(Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Will Smith and The Slap

Introducing “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding to present the award for best actress in a motion picture drama, Carmichael sneaked in a quick dig at The Slap that rocked the Oscars last year, when Will Smith attacked Chris Rock on air for cracking a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“While we were on commercial we actually presented Will Smith with the Rock Hudson Award for best portrayal of masculinity on television,” he joked.

Not long after, Carmichael’s dig was one-upped by comedy legend Eddie Murphy. Receiving this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award from pals Tracy Morgan and Jamie Lee Curtis, Murphy launched into a heartfelt acceptance speech thanking family, collaborators and reps in light of an over 40-year career in showbiz.

He closed out the moment by offering sage advice to aspiring entertainers. “There’s a definitive blueprint that you can follow to achieve success, prosperity and peace of mind,” he began. “It’s very simple. There’s three things: Mind your business, do your taxes and keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out of your f— mouth!”

The Beverly Hilton

In the easiest throwaway joke of the night, Carmichael commanded the chatty crowd’s attention with a morbid reminder of where they were: “We are here live from the hotel that killed Whitney Houston — the Beverly Hilton.”

It was at the luxury Beverly Hills hotel, the longtime home of the Globes, where the iconic singer died tragically from accidental drowning on Feb. 11, 2012, a day before the 54th Grammy Awards. Houston had been staying in the hotel ahead of record executive Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammys celebration.

The new biopic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” starring Naomi Ackie as Houston and Stanley Tucci as Davis, prominently features the Beverly Hilton in its depiction of the singer’s final moments — including a scene in which she scores a fatal dose of drugs in the hotel’s lobby.

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