Jerrod Carmichael has never been one to shy away from difficult subjects in his standup act, and it seems like he is taking the same approach to directing movies. The comic, who recently came out as gay, made his directorial debut last year with the indie film “On the Count of Three,” a buddy comedy in which he costars with Christopher Abbott as two friends who make a suicide pact. The unapologetically dark film screened at Sundance in 2021, where Carmichael’s directing was praised, and after some long delays, the film will finally be released in theaters next month.
“On the Count of Three” tells the story of Val (Carmichael) and Kevin (Abbott), two lifelong friends who are now determined to kill themselves. The film explores the friendship between them over the course of what they hope will be the final day of their lives. Like much of Carmichael’s comedic work, it looks to combine blunt truths about the realities of life with plenty of laughs to soften the blows.
“On the Count of Three” was written by frequent Carmichael collaborators Ryan Welch and Ari Katcher, with whom he created his NBC sitcom “The Carmichael Show.” In addition to Carmichael and Abbott, the film stars Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, Lavell Crawford, and Henry Winkler.
In his Sundance review, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote that “‘On the Count of Three’ can ultimately afford the temerity to thread the needle between comedy and desolation because of how Abbott and Carmichael work together. Like a game of Russian roulette, this is a movie that would have seemed embarrassingly stupid if things had gone wrong. It’s a dangerous and somehow enjoyable movie that dances around the edge of an open wound from start to finish as it risks making light of the heaviest things that so many of its viewers will ever have to carry. But it’s exhilarating — a little at first, and then a hell of a lot — to see these characters find the kind of happiness worth dying for.”
“On the Count of Three” will be released in theaters May 13. You can watch the Red Band trailer, below, by heading over to YouTube.