Jerrod Carmichael Shares Where He Stands With Tyler, the Creator After Revealing His Crush to Him

Jerrod Carmichael and Tyler, the Creator
Getty Images: Rich Polk; Antoine Flament

The 'Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show' star revealed his feelings for the rapper in the premiere episode of his new series.

Jerrod Carmichael is baring his soul on a whole new level. On the comedian's new HBO reality series, The Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show, the 36-year-old takes viewers behind the scenes of his real life -- an often messy, emotional rollercoaster of a ride that includes his first real relationship as an out gay man, his struggle to be a less self-involved friend, and, most prominently, his relationship with his very religious mother and the father who raised him alongside a secret second family.

But Carmichael doesn't shy away from showing even the most uncomfortable of experiences, including a conversation with his "best friend" Tyler, the Creator, who turned him down after Carmichael revealed his feelings in 2021.

"I think that conversation is so wild and important, and I mostly have gratitude to him for doing it," Carmichael tells Esquire of airing the sit-down conversation where he and Tyler, 33, hashed out the interaction during the series' premiere episode. "It's a conversation that's never happened before on TV, and he knows that I'm insane, I guess, so he was down for something chaotic."

While viewers seemingly found the scenes between Carmichael and Tyler intensely embarrassing, the comedian says he found it more cathartic for their friendship.

And when it comes to his relationship with Tyler today, Carmichael tells the outlet, "I think we're okay. I'm in New York now, so I don't see him that often but I still admire him and love him, and his friendship meant so much to me, and he inspired me so much."

"I think every conversation in the show has made the relationship better, at least more honest. But I think we're good," he adds.

Carmichael recounts telling Tyler about his feelings during a stand-up gig featured in Reality Show's premiere episode.

"I fell in love with my best friend. 1 out of 10, don't recommend," Carmichael tells the audience. "I knew I had to tell him. Things started getting kind of weird between us. I had these feelings... So I texted him. I remember saying, 'I know you didn't ask for this, but somewhere down the line I developed feelings for you, and I don't know what to do with that.' Then I immediately turned my phone off and went into therapy."

He joked, "My therapist was thrilled. He was so excited! He was like, 'Man, this s**t never happens in real-time.'"

Recounting Tyler's eventual response, Carmichael said, "He sent me a voice note. I was so nervous. It was like six seconds... He said, 'Hahahaha, you stupid b**ch.' And I don't really know what that means."

Although the comedian said he was reluctant to broach the subject again due to the "fear of it being so totally unrequited," he later tried to make things less weird by asking Tyler to be his date for the 2022 Emmys, where his stand-up special Rothaniel was nominated. However, Tyler shut him down, sending him a text which reads, "Dammmm, I shoot all day. Thanks, tho, that is lit."

Carmichael ended up attending the awards show with a friend identified as "Anonymous" on the series. The friend wore a ski mask and goggles to conceal their face. (Fans previously speculated that said friend is comedian Bo Burnham, who directed Carmichael's stand-up special.) The comedian also went on to win his first-ever Emmy for Rothaniel​​​​​​.

Jerrod Carmichael receives a hug from 'Anonymous' as he accepts the Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special Emmy on Sept. 12, 2022 - Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

At the end of the episode, Carmichael and Tyler have an on-camera discussion about their friendship, during which the former confronts Tyler about the persisting awkwardness. 

"It's because I told you I had feelings for you, and we didn't talk about it, ever," Carmichael said. "That was, like, weird. I don't know if it was just too awkward to talk about or just too... I don't know. I feel like you left me hanging out there a little bit."

"You laughed and called me a stupid b**ch," Carmichael recalled, to which Tyler admitted he "brushed it off." 

"Getting news like that and then avoiding it is a way to avoid change," the rapper added. 

Tyler said that Carmichael's confession was "a lot to download," adding, "I still don't know how to respond." He expressed regret about their lack of contact, explaining that although he doesn't return any romantic feelings, he considers the comedian family.

"Are you wanting the same thing from me?" he asked Carmichael. "When you told me that, I'm like, 'Nah, I don't know. Not like that. That's like a brother. That man's like family. Like true family. Like a true brother.'"

Carmichael and Tyler have collaborated several times in the past. The comedian was the narrator of Tyler's 2019 album Igor, an album that explores a narrative about a love triangle and, ironically, an unrequited love. They also linked up for a special conversation for the rapper's 2017 album Flower Boy.

Many of Carmichael's relationships get a laser-hot beam of attention in Reality Show, which the comedian tells Esquire is the point -- particularly, his radically different and complicated relationships with his parents.

"It's amazing how many times I've been on national television and said the word gay and how little that's acknowledged," he says. "My parents just completely ignore the words that I'm saying, and that muted response led to Reality Show. The lack of acknowledgment is what made me go, 'Okay, I'll turn the volume up.' How do I make it as extreme as possible?"

He tells the outlet he wants to test "the limits of their cognitive dissonance" with the show. "Can you acknowledge me speaking directly to you in a comedy special? They don't really acknowledge that. What if you're actually in the thing? Will you acknowledge that? I keep showing my mother herself and...Yeah, I don't know. I'm still a kid just crying for attention. I'm just begging for attention," he confesses. 

The Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show airs new episodes weekly on Fridays.