What we learned at…Jerrod Carmichael's New York Comedy Festival show

The extremely likable up-and-coming L.A. stand-up imagines specific, strange scenarios that both push and charm his audience.

Jerrod Carmichael

Jerrod Carmichael

The crowd wanted to be at the Kevin Hart show…at least according to Carmichael. "I want to be there too," he said. "This is our Superdome. Hope you get your diabetes medicine."

Even when Carmichael is talking about rape, abortion or the death penalty, he's hard to dislike. Between his cool tone, little grin, downcast eyes and amazingly peculiar premises, an audience might get uneasy, but it will never mistrust him. When he announced that he wanted to make the death penalty entertaining, and the crowd became momentarily uncomfortable, he cooed, "Walk with me, guys.…" And they did.

Case in point: If Michael Jackson did touch those kids, maybe it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Carmichael imagined a collection of kids bragging about getting the latest video game when one of them pipes up, "The King of Pop sucked my dick!"

Carmichael does, occasionally, feel shame.
After telling a joke ("I finally found a girl who swallows—doesn't count, though; she's bulimic"), he hung his head and said: "I don't know where the line is. I can't say those things and then look you in the eye."

If MLK were alive today, he'd be doing commercials.
After imagining King selling insurance, among other things, he asked the crowd for a suggestion of a product. When someone yelled "Viagra!," Carmichael took a moment, smiled and stepped forward as King in an advertisement: "Do you know what's harder than holding together a civil rights movement?" You know that didn't happen at Kevin Hart's show.