Jerrod Carmichael: Adapts on the fly

10 Comics to Watch

“I never really set out to be a comedian,” says Jerrod Carmichael, who hails from Winston-Salem, N.C., “but as a kid I loved doing sketches and playing characters. And then a great friend kept telling me I should be a comedian, so I followed her advice and gave it a shot.”

In 2008, aged 20, Carmichael relocated to Los Angeles. “It was between L.A. and New York, and L.A. seemed a lot harder as I didn’t know anyone,” he recalls. Three years later, although he feels he’s “still really under the radar,” Carmichael has been busy building buzz and performing “at any place that’ll have me: The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store, The Improv and Meltdown Comics — arguably the hottest show in town.”

The energetic standup mines a lot of personal material along with social and political observations (“stuff from childhood, random thoughts I get in the shower”) and then processes it through a wide-meshed stream-of-consciousness sieve.

“People tell me it’s risky and scary to work like that, but to me it’s fun, so I really try not to polish my act too much,” he notes. “I want it to be fresh, and I like to just get up and run with it. I know what I want to say and how I want to say it. So ‘polish’ is just a state of mind to me.”

While Carmichael is currently focused on his live standup, he’s carefully eyeing any TV and film opportunities that would enable him to get his ideas out.

“The conduit’s unimportant. It’s always about the ideas,” he says.

LAUGH FACTS
P.O.V.: “I like to do brand new material as much as possible, and I think I owe that to the audience. I feel that connects better than trying to do ‘an act.’ I don’t want to do that. A lot of times acts are so boring “
Influences: Bill Cosby, Lewis Black “and my comedy friends.”
Reps: Mosaic

MONTREAL JUST FOR LAUGHS
Biz taps viral evangelists | Brands frown on fair use | Ha-ha-honorees
10 COMICS TO WATCH
Jerrod Carmichael | Chris D’Elia | Josh Fadem | Pete Holmes | Thomas Middleditch | Tim Minchin | Amy Schumer | Rebel Wilson | Harris Wittels | Ali Wong

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