Jerrod Carmichael, whose sitcom, “The Carmichael Show,” has been praised for effectively and humorously addressing topical concerns, has taken issue with NBC for pulling an episode about a mass shooting, following Wednesday’s sprees in Alexandria, Virginia, and San Francisco.
“I thought that [the] episode would [be] an opportunity to talk about these tragedies in a meaningful way, to really lend itself to conversation,” the comedian, 29, says in the edition of the Netflix talk show “Chelsea” that taped Wednesday and premieres Friday.
“Shoot-up-able,” originally scheduled to air Wednesday at 9 p.m., followed Carmichael’s character, Jerrod, after he survives a mass shooting and how the experience affected him more than he initially believes. That day, NBC announced it was substituting the episode that had been scheduled to air June 28.
“I understand a corporation making that decision,” Carmichael told host Chelsea Handler, “but really, to me, what it says is that you don’t think that America is smart enough to handle real dialogue and something that reflects real family conversations and something that feels honest and true and still respects the victims. We handled the episode with as much love and integrity as we possibly could,” he said. “But to just pull that is just — it’s criminal. It seems to do a disservice to the viewer. It does a disservice to you; it does a disservice to all of us.”
At the time of the “Chelsea” taping, his representatives and NBC were having “what I hope is a conversation about” airing the episode that night. “We’re having what I hope will be dialogue and not just a decision.”
An NBC representative told Newsday the network had no comment. No decision has been made on the future of the episode.
Airing instead was “Lesbian Wedding,” in which Jerrod’s girlfriend, Maxine (Amber Stevens West), offers to set up his brother Bobby (Lil Rel Howery) with a friend whom the family considers unattractive, leading to a debate about beauty and superficiality.
“The Carmichael Show,” a semiautobiographical family sitcom set in Carmichael’s native North Carolina, began its third season May 31. When the show was renewed after its first season, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said the network was “extremely proud of” the show and that it “made a big impact with viewers and critics because it’s funny and relatable but also because it’s fearless about discussing issues that are significant in the world today.”