Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael took a hard shot at Tom Cruise in Tuesday’s Golden Globes ceremony, referencing Michele Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige.
The last year has been an exceptionally good one for Cruise, whose Top Gun: Maverick became one of 2022’s biggest hits after Cruise insisted on holding it for theatrical release instead of streaming it during COVID lockdowns. He also earned good press for returning three Golden Globes last year while the awards’ presenters, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, were under fire for a lack of diversity.
But Carmichael — who opened the show by mocking the HFPA’s race problem — joked during the ceremony that he had found Cruise’s three Golden Globes backstage.
“Hey guys, backstage I found these three Golden Globes that Tom Cruise returned. I’m just the 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.”
The joke was especially rough because the LAPD has said Michelle “Shelly” Miscavige isn’t actually missing. After she stopped making public appearance about a decade ago, former Scientologist Leah Remini filed a missing persons report. The LAPD said the report was “unfounded” and Scientologists issued a statement saying Remini’s action was an act of “ill-advised, ludicrous self-promotion.”
The joke probably went over the heads of viewers who don’t follow critics of Scientology, the belief system of which Cruise is the world’s most prominent practitioner. Cruise has rarely spoken about Scientology as he has successfully rebuilt his career following the negative press of his “couch jumping” period, which included a confrontational interview about Scientology with since-disgraced interviewer Matt Lauer.
Adding to the awkwardness of Carmichael’s joke: He made it just before two of Cruise’s Maverick co-stars, Glen Powell and Jay Ellis, took the stage to praise Cruise. They both ignored the Miscavige joke.
Still, the joke about 90 minutes into the show was a reminder that Carmichael wasn’t playing it safe. He opened the ceremony by opining that he was only chosen for the job because he’s Black, and the HFPA needed to fix its diversity record.
Later, he went after another A-lister by saying after a commercial break that while the TV audience was away Will Smith received “the Rock Hudson award for best portrayal of masculinity on television.” It was a reference, of course, to Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
Main image: Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.