Emmy Contender Jerrod Carmichael on Tackling Cosby, Embracing Old-Fashioned Sitcoms

“I don’t think [the format] ever died, people just stopped breathing life into it,” the comic tells TheWrap Emmy Magazine

Last Updated: May 29, 2016 @ 10:48 AM

A version of this story first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s The Race Begins Emmy Issue.

NBC’s “The Carmichael Show” is a rarity in today’s TV landscape: a successful new multi-camera sitcom. Several such shows fronted by standup comics debuted this year, but the quick renewal for Jerrod Carmichael’s semi-autobiographical comedy made it an anomaly in an era dominated by single-cam comedies.

Carmichael’s series made a mark for itself with an impressive ability to dissect complicated and often controversial issues within a traditional format. Recent episodes have tackled topics like gentrification, birth control and the Bill Cosby rape scandal — in which his character jokes about how long the embattled comic will “be alive — or free.”

“I don’t think [the format] ever died, people just stopped breathing life into it,” Carmichael, 26, told TheWrap. He added that shows like his, with their unique rhythm, sense of momentum and live studio audience, can connect to viewers in away that can’t be matched by single-camera shows.

“It’s like a building,” Carmichael said of the format, which has resulted in what he sees as “culturally transcendent” series like “All in the Family” and “Cheers,” as well as the current hit “The Big Bang Theory.”

“The care and attention to keeping it beautiful hasn’t been paid. That’s all we’re doing — we’re keeping the lights on.”

Read more of TheWrap Magazine’s The Race Begins Emmy Issue:

The Race Begins Cover