Jerrod Carmichael Opens Up About Falling For His Best Friend, Tyler, the Creator — and Getting Rejected

The trailer for Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show — which is exactly what it sounds like — promised intimacy to the point of discomfort, as well as a cameo from Tyler, the Creator. As it turns out, the very first episode of the show delivers both, with the comedian confessing that he fell in love with the rapper, who is also his best friend.

“One out of 10, don’t recommend,” he joked about the experience in the series premiere, which aired on HBO Friday night. “I texted him. I remember saying, ‘I know you didn’t ask for this, but somewhere down the line I developed feelings for you and I don’t know what to do with that.’ Then I immediately turned my phone off and went into therapy.”

Eventually, Tyler responded with a six second voice note, simply saying: “Hahahaha, you stupid bitch.” (“I don’t really know what that means,” Carmichael told the audience.)

Though it has the words “reality show” in the name, Carmichael’s new series isn’t anything like the Real Housewives. Citing The Truman Show as inspiration, this is an experiment in extreme self-exposure from a comedian whose work is already breathtakingly confessional. Filmed over the course of a year, the series partly follows Carmichael in his day-to-day life; those scenes are punctuated by standup sets in the same vein as his Emmy award-winning 2022 special Rothaniel, in which the comedian came out as gay at the age of 35.

Fittingly, Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show isn’t afraid to put his most fraught relationships under the microscope, and what follows in the first episode is an occasionally painful look at what it’s like for a queer person to fall in love with a best friend — something many of us can relate to, no matter how we identify.

After confessing his feelings to Tyler, the episode then skips a year forward. At what appears to be another standup show, Carmichael revealed that he texted Tyler to ask if he wanted to go to the Emmys with him “right before I walked in here, then I put my phone on airplane mode.” In a way, it’s comforting to know that you can be an Emmy-winning comedian and you can still be subject to the same everyday interpersonal torment experienced by millions of people.