Jerrod Carmichael has no fear when it comes to confronting uncomfortable issues. His NBC series “The Carmichael Show” — on which he acted as co-showrunner, co-writer, producer, and star — laid bare an array of issues facing Black Americans including LGBTQ subjects, the 2nd Amendment, and the Black Lives Matter movement, all wrapped up in his signature boundary-pushing but ultimately hopeful storytelling style. The series ended in 2017, but according to the buzz around its 2021 Sundance debut, “On the Count of Three” continues to walk this tightrope in its chronicle of friends stumbling into the sunset, to high praise.
Asked how he came upon Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch’s script, Carmichael tells Variety just how far their collective working relationship goes back, and how much messier The Bucket List would be if led by more realistic, average Joes:
“Ari Katcher and I have such a close working relationship that there are ideas and things we’ve been kicking around for years. This one is from — I’d have to go check my email to see what year it was, but it was an idea he talked about: What would these two guys do on their last day alive? And I remember talking about that movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, ‘The Bucket List,’ riffing on that premise, but thinking of the truer, more abrasive version of what you’d actually do with your last day.
“I met Ryan Welch through Ari. They grew up together in Alaska. Ryan’s someone I used to bring with me to stand-up gigs, to tell me what he thought, because I love and trust his mind. He helped me and Ari out when we were writing the ‘Django’ script for Tarantino. So, yeah, when we were finished with ‘The Carmichael Show,’ we finally had time to focus on a film. Ari and Ryan wrote this funny and thoughtful script, and we said, ‘Let’s take this out.'”
“On the Count of Three” releases in theaters on May 13, 2022.