Jerrod Carmichael regrets Dave Chappelle criticism: He’s ‘more important than ever’

Carmichael previously suggested that Chappelle was tarnishing his legacy by fixating on jokes about the transgender community

Tom Murray
Wednesday 17 April 2024 23:35 BST
Jerrod Carmichael cracks Scientology joke about Tom Cruise at Golden Globes

Jerrod Carmichael has expressed regret over his criticisms of fellow comedian Dave Chappelle in the media.

Appearing on The Breakfast Club show on iHeartRadio on Tuesday (16 April), Carmichael said: “I deeply regret saying anything about Dave Chappelle to the press. I want to say that I’m sorry for that because, one, I’m a huge Dave Chappelle fan.

“I think he’s brilliant. I think he’s a bright light in a dying industry. I think he’s more important now than ever before because comedians are now just posting clips of them doing crowd work online and calling it art, and it’s not art. Dave Chappelle is an artist. He’s one of the few artists that we have. And I care deeply about the work that he makes.”

He continued: “With that said, the criticism that I had, had nothing to do with the morality of the joke, had nothing to do with the ethics of the joke… The criticism I had was that of a fan, someone who respects him so much, that I want him to focus his genius on a wide range of topics. It started really being focused on one thing. I’m a big fan of Jay-Z. If Jay-Z made three albums about trans people, I’d be like, ‘What’s going on with Jay-Z?’”

Asked if he’s spoken to Chappelle, Carmichael answered: “Yeah, I know Dave. And I’ll tell you, honestly, from now on, any thoughts I have for Dave will be directed in a phone call to Dave. I’ll never do it again. I do apologise for that… I don’t want the attention, it’s gone on way too long.”

Carmichael, 36, first raised the idea that Chappelle, 50, might be tarnishing his comedic legacy by fixating on jokes about the transgender community in an interview with GQ magazine in 2022.

Jerrod Carmichael (left) and Dave Chappelle
Jerrod Carmichael (left) and Dave Chappelle (Getty Images)

“Chappelle, do you know what comes up when you Google your name, bro?” Carmichael asked. “That’s the legacy? Your legacy is a bunch of opinions on trans s***? It’s an odd hill to die on. And it’s like, ‘Hey, bro. Who the f*** are you? Who do you f***? What do you like to do?’”

He added: “Childish jokes aside, who the f*** are you? It’s just kind of played. But he’s choosing to die on the hill. So, alright, let him.”

In a recent interview with Esquire, Carmichael revealed that Chappelle had joked about the younger comedian’s Emmy-winning stand-up special Rothaniel, during which he publicly came out as gay, by calling it “the bravest special for 1996”.

Carmichael added: “And it’s like, that’s a funny enough line, whatever, but I wonder if he gets the irony that the fact that you are mocking it even then is why it was hard.”

He went on to say that Chappelle had seemingly bristled at being criticised for telling jokes about transgender people. “He took it as ‘F*** Dave Chappelle,’ because he’s an egomaniac. He wanted me to apologize to him publicly or some s***.”

The comedian recently launched an unconventional HBO documentary series called Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show.

In it, he sits down with Coachella headliner Tyler, the Creator to discuss his unrequited love for the rapper. In the Esquire interview, Carmichael praised Tyler for agreeing to “a conversation that’s never happened before on TV, and he knows that I’m insane, I guess, so he was down for something chaotic”.

Tyler addressed the scene in his Coachella set on Saturday, saying: “Probably seen my homie tried to f**k me on camera—it was terrible. I told the n***a no, and he said, ‘But what if we filmed it?’”

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