A Famous Comedian Won’t Show His Face on ‘Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show’


In the first episode of Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show, Carmichael is trying to rationalize the concept of his intimate, revealing show. He’s only comfortable opening up when a camera is present, he says, and there’s a lot he has to get off his chest. But not everyone is on board with his desire to document his life—especially not his good friend “Anonymous,” who is so against the project that he refuses to have his face or voice captured for the show.

“I’m not exposing myself to this shit,” the man only known as Anonymous tells the camera, when he stops by Carmichael’s apartment during the episode. He’s wearing all black, with a ski mask and goggles; his voice is pitched down to further mask his identity. He goes on to tell his friend that the idea of filming vulnerable moments of his life is self-centered and artificial, not “truth.”

“It’s exhibitionist,” says Anonymous, adding, “There’s public and private, and there’s masturbatorily public.”

Jerrod Carmichael’s ‘Reality Show’ Is Extraordinary

Carmichael himself is mostly unfazed, and Anonymous even makes another appearance later in the episode. Pairing his balaclava with a tux, Anonymous ends up accompanying the comedian to the Emmys, where Carmichael ends up winning an award for his acclaimed coming-out special, Rothaniel. Talk about artificial! The boys gab, take shrooms, and play Rock, Paper, Scissors in the car to the ceremony; it’s one of the funniest parts of the episodes, reinforcing Anonymous’ concerns while also showing that even he isn’t above a trip to the Emmys.

Anonymous isn’t credited, and the show gives no identifying information to help piece together who he may actually be. Or does it? In fact, if you’re a fan of Carmichael and one of his closest collaborators, then that trip to the Emmys gave Anonymous away instantly.

In September 2022, Carmichael did indeed bring a friend wearing a giant mask to the Emmys. There are photos of the two hugging on Getty Images for all of posterity. But that friend, fans quickly realized, was—drumroll please—Bo Burnham, who directed Rothaniel.

Burnham reportedly only wore the mask during times that Carmichael would definitely be on camera, like when he received his Emmy. Carmichael also gave him a shoutout during his speech, referring to him as his nickname, “Bobby,” and looking right at him when he said it. But some fans could tell just by the fact that this dude is one of the most gangly guys in comedy, and what other six-foot-1 million guy would Carmichael bring with him to the Emmys?

That December, Burnham admitted that he was the guy behind the face covering while signing autographs outside of Kate Berlant’s stage show, which he also directed. A fan asked him on camera why he wore a mask to the Emmys, and he said that all would eventually be revealed.

More than two years later, HBO dropped the trailer for Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show, which included clips of the masked man hanging out with Carmichael. The Bo Burnham hive again noted that yes, it was the comedian/director hanging out with Carmichael; his mannerisms alone were enough to give him away, some fans said.

Neither Carmichael nor Burnham has copped to the fact that it’s Burnham on Carmichael’s couch, eviscerating the concept of Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show for all the world to see. But knowing that it’s Burnham does help soften the blow that his sharp criticism may have. Not that anything he said seemed to have fazed Carmichael; there are seven more episodes of his HBO show to come.

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