How, exactly, do you host an award ceremony that went untelevised the year before after the systemic racism of its voting body was publicly exposed? The 2021 L.A. Times story that revealed the 87-person Hollywood Foreign Press Association had no Black members had serious ramifications for the Golden Globes—but for the broadcast’s grand return on January 10, 2023, the HFPA made at least one decent decision, tapping comedian Jerrod Carmichael to emcee the proceedings.
Carmichael didn’t shy away from addressing his role at the Globes head-on, tackling the complications of being a Black performer tasked with rehabilitating the image of a predominantly white institution. “I’m here because I’m Black,” Carmichael announced, allowing the audience to sit in tittering discomfort before continuing: “This show, the Golden Globe Awards, did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which I won’t say were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will.”
Carmichael made light of his own decision to host the 2023 Golden Globes several times, telling the audience straight-faced that he did it primarily for the $500,000 paycheck (seriously: what is the salary range for award show hosts? I need an investigation into this stat), and joking, “One minute you’re making mint tea at home, the next minute you’re invited to be the Black face of an embattled organization. Life comes at you pretty fast, you know?” Carmichael sarcastically congratulated HFPA for adding, ahem, a few Black members to their ranks, but he made it clear that he didn’t see it as his role to hand out absolution, cracking that he took the gig assuming nothing had changed. Whether things actually have changed within the Globes machine remains to be seen, but it’s definitely not Carmichael’s job to initiate that change.
Self-referential award-show lampooning is standard fare for many hosts, but it’s rare to see someone skewer the Globes in a way that doesn’t feel like it was pre-vetted by a battery of humorless entertainment lawyers. It’s impossible to know what kind of journey Carmichael’s jokes took to the Globes stage, but after a rocky few years of COVID-constrained award shows, it was refreshing to see Carmichael pull off a hosting gig that felt so, well, real.