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Jerrod Carmichael Knows How to Wear the Truth

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Of all that’s remarkable about Jerrod Carmichael’s latest comedy hour — the storied intimacy of the venue (the Blue Note Jazz Club), the spectral aptness of the lighting (kind of blue), the titanic silences, dental work that would thrill any neat freak — two aspects of this HBO special are especially exceptional.

One is a matter of carriage. Carmichael is a stand-up comedian. But all he does in this new show is sit. The opening long shot follows him in the snow, headed toward the Blue Note, where he removes his coat and hat and promptly takes a seat upon the stage before a modest, expectant, engaged gathering of what Carmichael wants to feel is a family and what I can only call community support, because winter isn’t all he braves.

For one thing, his long body is on a metal folding chair. Maybe these people have assembled for what they think is a typical Carmichael show — penetrating observations about being alive.

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