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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Jerrod Carmichael and Clothing: Part 2 (A thread published on Twitter on 4/10/22)

Updated: May 17, 2023

A deep-dive thread by #BoBurnhamHistorian


For Part I (Jerrod's relationship with clothing in general and his comedic influences), please click here.



For this second installment, I wanted to discuss Jerrod's symbolism in terms of his jewelry, watches, and outerwear.


Let's dive in!


1. Jewelry


In Rothaniel, the comic embraces wearing more than just his stud earrings. He also wears gold chains that are visible throughout the special and seem to represent Jerrod is moving up in the world and can afford flashy necklaces.



He pairs these chains with...


2. Watches


Jerrod has worn a watch since he was pretty young.


Per his GQ interview, "I've been wearing watches since I was in eighth grade, after I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He said he doesn't respect a man who doesn't wear a watch, because of how important time is."


The particular watch Jerrod wears in Rothaniel is the very pricy gold Rolex Datejust, which he wanted because "Martin Luther King and Walt Disney had Rolex Datejusts."


3. Coats/jackets


Jerrod has a penchant for wearing jackets and coats indoors for his sets and interviews, even if it isn't cold.


Why does he do this? It's simple—removing a coat is a way to manipulate the audience into doing what he wants.





He explains that this act has become part of his comedy routine in his NYT profile:


"Wearing a bomber over a gray hoodie, he paced, took long pauses and fussed with different things — his lip, a bottle cap, the mike stand."


"This was not a result of nerves, he told me later, but a deliberate technique to think through jokes and inculcate the crowd in his unhurried cadences. At one point he took off his jacket: ‘‘I wasn’t hot,’’ he explained. ‘‘It’s to let you know: ‘Relax. Listen. Let’s explore.’"



In Rothaniel, Jerrod begins the special wearing a winter coat and white baseball cap with a blue brim.






Once he arrives at the Blue Note, however, a woman takes his coat from him, symbolically showing that Jerrod is going to be vulnerable and speaking his truth for the next hour.





4. Caps/hats


Jerrod likes to wear baseball caps, and he often has one on in interviews and for photoshoots.














In Rothaniel, Jerrod ditches his baseball cap as well when he arrives at the famous jazz club.



What's really interesting about Jerrod's cap, however, is that we NEVER see it again in the special!


When Jerrod gets ready to leave, we see him put on his coat again, but his head is bare when he steps out into the snow



Is it a mistake? A continuity error? No, Bo is WAY too meticulous of an editor to overlook that.


I would argue that Jerrod ditches his cap because he is now unburdened after the set—those secrets are no longer on his head and weighing him down.


It's a beautiful choice!


Finally, I'd like to discuss two recent appearances: Jerrod's SNL monologue and his interview with Seth Meyers on his birthday



Despite being the "least famous person to ever host," Jerrod made a big splash on SNL the day after Rothaniel premiered, and he dressed for the occasion in a white suit with NO shirt underneath!



This deliberate decision, as well as wearing the necklace and his gold watch, was Jerrod's way of proclaiming he's hosting as a proud gay Black man (who happened to be fabulously dressed as well!)



Another aspect to Jerrod's ensemble that I'd read about is its connection to Tyler, the Creator and his IGOR suit.


Here's an example tweet.



This is entirely possible since Jerrod and Tyler are good friends (Jerrod did the narration for his Igor album), and Tyler even attended the 8 premiere screening!




And finally, there's Jerrod's emotional interview with Seth Meyers.



As you can see, Jerrod starts his talk with Seth wearing a tan puffer jacket and matching cap.



However, over the course of the interview, he removes his cap and finally his jacket, so that he is only in a polo shirt by the time he gets into his mother's current reaction to him coming out of the closet.




Again, this performed vulnerability demonstrates to the audience that Jerrod is being honest and sincere.


By removing all of his outerwear, Jerrod is now "exposed" in much the same way that Bo is in his undies and finally nude at the end of Inside.




That's all for now.


I hope you enjoyed this deep dive into Jerrod and his symbolic clothing choices, and make sure to check out his other works!



Also, let's hope for a new Jerrod-Bo collaboration soon!


For more on Jerrod's clothing, please click here for the full list of deep dives.

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