Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael slammed for Will Smith joke

Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any more dicey for 2023 Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael than they were during his extremely awkward opening monologue, the stand-up comedian went and made things really uncomfortable for the Hollywood Foreign Press, the Golden Globe attendees, and the viewing audience at home.

Earlier in the evening, Carmichael earned some raves (on Twitter, not in the room) for his jab at Tom Cruise and Scientology, but Carmichael pushed his luck a bit a bit too far when he attempted to crack a joke at Will Smith’s expense.

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“Okay you guys, really quick. Just some quick housekeeping stuff, if you’re listening, if everyone’s listening,” Carmichael began. (If you’re curious, the room was NOT really listening; Carmichael struggled to keep the audience’s attention all evening long.) “While we were on commercial, we actually presented Will Smith with the Rock Hudson Award for Best Portrayal of Masculinity on television.”

There was stunned silence in the room.

If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, here’s some background. Rock Hudson was a matinee idol who rose to fame in the ‘50s as one of Hollywood’s leading men and sex symbols, until the (then) closeted actor’s life and career took an unexpectedly tragic turn when he was diagnosed with (and subsequently died from) AIDS. Hudson was, at the time of his death in 1985, arguably the most famous person to have died from the disease, and it wasn’t until he passed that his identity as a homosexual man was revealed.

Will Smith, on the other hand, presents as a heterosexual male, is married to a famous actress (Jada Pinkett Smith), and got in all kinds of hot water last March for slapping Oscars host Chris Rock when Rock made a fairly innocuous joke at his wife’s expense. So what was Carmichael — who famously came out as gay himself during his HBO stand-up special Rothaniel — insinuating, exactly, by drawing a direct link between the two seemingly unrelated actors?

Well, someone is definitely going to ask Carmichael for a follow-up explanation in the coming days, but for now, Carmichael’s off-colour joke seems to be inspiring some outrage and strong accusations on Twitter:

Carmichael, perhaps paying homage to the flamethrower and former Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, wasn’t done roasting his peers and biting the hand that feeds him, though. Later in the evening, he described the venue that’s hosting the Globes, the Beverly Hilton, as “the hotel that killed Whitney Houston.” (Yeeeesh!)

While it remains up in the air as to whether US TV network NBC will host another Golden Globes after tonight, you can be fairly certain that they won’t be asking Carmichael to host again.

This story originally appeared on Decider and is republished here with permission.

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