Jerrod Carmichael joked he was hired to host the Golden Globes "because I am Black".
The 35-year-old comedian directly addressed the scandal surrounding organisers the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) - who came under fire in 2020 for controversies including unethical financial practices and a lack of diversity among numbers - during his opening monologue at Tuesday's (10.01.23) ceremony.
He said: "I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I’m Black.
“I’ll catch everyone in the room up. The Golden Globe Awards did not air last year. I won’t say they were a racist organisation, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died, so do with that information what you will."
The host joked he was "torn" about taking the job.
He said: “I was at home, drinking tea, when I got a phone call from my man Stephen Hill. He said, ‘Jerrod, I’m producing the 80th Golden Globes and it would be an honour if you would agree to be the host.’ I was like, ‘Whoa.’ One minute you’re making mint tea at home, and next you’re invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organisation. Life comes at you fast!
“I said, ‘Stephen, I’m torn. I’ll be honest with you: I’m only being asked to host this, I know, because I’m Black.’ He said, ‘Let me stop you right there, Jerrod. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re talented. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re charming. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re one of the greatest comedians of a generation.'
“But Stephen’s Black, so what does he know? He’s only producing the show because he’s Black! They’re not gonna tell him why he’s here either!”
Unsure of what to do, Jerrod turned to a friend who "for the sake of this monologue, represents every black person in America" for advice and when she asked how much he'd be paid, he insisted the job wasn't about the money.
He continued: “She said, ‘Jerrod, enough of all that! How much are they paying you?’ I said, ‘$500,000.’ She said, ‘Boy, if you don’t put on a nice suit and take them white people’s money!”
Following the controversy surrounding the HFPA, Tom Cruise handed back his three Golden Globe awards, and the comic later poked fun at the situation, referencing Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige who hasn't been seen in public for 15 years.
Clutching three fake trophies, he said: “Hey, guys backstage I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned. I’m just a host briefly, or whatever, but I have a pitch I think. Maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.”
Later in the ceremony, the 'On the Count of Three' star said he'd been asked to give a shout out to the venue for the ceremony, The Beverly Hilton hotel.
And he quipped: "We are here in the hotel that killed Whitney Houston. That’s very exciting.”