Interview by Denise J. Mallabo
Special thanks to Daniel Weiner and John Goschin from B|W|R PR
An UNO exclusive interview with comedian, musician, and writer Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino
Versatility is the name of the game nowadays; you must be able to do countless things and must do it well in order for you to stand out and be counted. If there’s anything that Donald Glover has, it is that! (And no, he’s not related to actor Danny Glover, although he gets that a lot.) This 27-year-old star who plays the jock Troy Barnes in the NBC hit comedy show Community is also a rapper with the moniker Childish Gambino—a name he believes to have found in a Wu-Tang Clan name generator. (Nice!). A graduate of NYU with a degree in Dramatic writing, Glover was given a Writers Guild of America Award for his work in 30 Rock. As Childish Gambino, he already released three albums, EPs, and remixes, and all of it for free and can be downloaded from his site. Find out what’s keeping this talented man busy, why everything should be kept free and why he loves Filipinas.
I know that you’ve come a long way since Derrick Comedy, but can you give me a brief history about it? How did the ever so popular “Bro
Rape” come about?
My friends and I started hanging out in college and we started doing videos together which is just fun to do. “Bro Rape” was one of the first videos that we made; the idea came from watching a bunch of guys at a party, and it seems like that’s what they were doing. So we just dove and it became popular.
What have you learned from your comedy days in college that you still apply up to now?
People like free stuff! People tend to laugh more when it’s free. We used to do shows that were free and all our videos were free, but when we started doing shows that were $8, people are more reluctant to laugh. Keep it free for as long as you can.
Were you funny when you were a kid ?
When I was a kid I was kind of the class clown. I got into trouble a lot, like my mom had to work on my attitude. My favorite artists when I was a kid were Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and I liked Looney Tunes a lot. Looney Tunes cartoons were like my favorite thing. I thought they were really funny.
You’ve worked as one of the writers in 30 Rock. How was it working with Tina Fey and the rest of the cast? What was the best thing that you learned from Tina?
That experience was probably the best experience that I’ve had to date. It broke me [in] like I’ve got my foot in the door that way, and Tina Fey is probably the most instrumental in [getting] me to do movies, writing, and music. I probably wouldn’t be here without her. The big thing I learned from her? I guess just be yourself; that’s the only thing that you can do that no one else can do.
Why do think SNL passed on you?
Probably because I wasn’t a good suit for that show. I like sketch [comedy] a lot, and I know those guys, and they’re really great, but I don’t think that I can think of a better place for me to be than on the show Community. It’s perfect, and I really love doing that job. I think that SNL would have been a little hard for me.
What was the first break in your comedy career that really made you realize that being a comedian is something that you want to do for a living, or at least want to hone as a craft?
I guess that moment was when I was in college I joined a sketch group called Hammer Cats for fun. It was the first time that I realized that “Oh! You can do this as a job?” I’d always like to be funny. I’d always like to do funny stuff; I didn’t know anybody that would actually pay you for it. So when I realized that it was actually a thing that you can do
as a job, ‘cause I love goofing around with my friends. I love it, I didn’t think people would pay to see that, and people are paying to see it now once you’re really good at goofing around. So I guess whatever you like doing as a joke or whatever you like doing at all, I would say just practice it. If you’re good at playing video games somebody might pay you because you’re good at it.
In Community, how much are you and Troy Barnes alike? How much do you really love Levar Burton?
Troy [and I] are alike because we’re both naive about the world like we expect the best from people at all times. I’m pretty loyal like him; I could be stupid at certain instances like him. I am a big fan of Levar Burton! Like I’m a huge fan of Levar Burton.
For the complete interview, click this link!
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