Jerrod Carmichael was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of Cynthia, a secretary, and Joe Carmichael, a truck driver. He has an older brother, Joe Carmichael, Jr. He grew up in the Morningside neighborhood. Carmichael grew up poor, which is a frequent topic in his stand-up comedy. In fifth grade, he hosted a morning news show on his elementary school’s local access channel. He graduated from Robert B. Glenn High School in 2005.
Carmichael’s early comedic influences were stand-ups Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Sinbad, and George Carlin, and the television shows of Norman Lear, including All in the Family and Maude.
At age 20, Carmichael moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comic, before he had ever tried stand-up.His first time doing stand-up was an open-mic night at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood. Working his way up through the clubs, Carmichael appeared in the “New Faces” showcase at the 2011 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.Carmichael’s breakout role was in the 2014 film Neighbors. He was also on the TV show The Goodwin Games.