Donald Glover Is More Talented Than You

The comedian/writer/rapper is on a collision course with stardom

Then he got a call from Community. The character of Troy was actually written for a white guy, but he made it his own. Troy was also originally supposed to be paired up on the show with Chevy Chase's character, Pierce, but it was clear early on that Glover's Troy would enjoy a heated bromance with Danny Pudi's film-school geek, Abed.

"It was pretty immediate," says Pudi of the connection as he watches Glover's band set up for a show on the cracked concrete outdoor patio of Austin's Red 7 bar. "Both characters do things at 150 percent," from bonding over Kickpuncher to building a dorm-wide blanket fort. Pudi has come down to Austin to party and hang with his friend and watch him perform. The line to get into the club on 7th Street stretches down the block, a diverse mix of b-boys and hipsters and normal-looking folk excited to see the guy from Community.

Glover appears from backstage wearing a vintage-looking red Coca-Cola T-shirt, tight jeans, and green-and-white Adidas. (See our review of the show, "Live: Donald Glover Gets Emo as Childish Gambino During SXSW.") He is going solo tonight—his writing partner Pierson is back in L.A.—but I ask him if Pierson ever sealed the deal with a cute chick he was talking up before the Woodies a few nights ago.

"Which chick?" he asks, confused.

"The cute blond chick he was rapping to," I answer.

"Oh, that one," Glover says loudly with a smile. "No, I hooked up with that chick."

"But DC was killing it!" I say incuriously.

"I know DC was killing it!" he retorts, and then says sincerely and unapologetically: "But I have money."

He's not saying it to be a dick—that was just the dynamic. "We started talking about money, and she was like, 'So you think money is evil?' and I'm like, 'Money isn't evil.' But I could see dollar signs in her eyes."

"So does she keep texting you?" I ask.

"Nah," says he with a bigger smile. "I asked for her number first. I always ask for their number first. They see you put it into the phone and they're like, 'OK, he's doing it,' but . . ." his big smile turns into a sheepish grin. "Yeah, I'm a little girl-crazy." ("He's a silent assassin that way," Pudi remarks later about his sitcom partner's prowess.)

Glover, talking in a tone between a hush and a whisper as he tries to save his voice, goes back to his MacBook on the side of the stage to work on arrangements for the show.

He has told his entourage that now is the time to strike. When most performers usually wrap a TV show, they take a holiday. But he is charging ahead. The week of SXSW, he wedged a Chicago performance on Friday in between the Wednesday's mtvU Woodie Awards, Thursday's unexpected cameo at the Voice/Wu-Tang show at the Austin Music Hall, and Saturday's show at Red 7. Then he's going to do another gig in Texas, one in a church in Atlanta, up to New York for the Comedy Central taping, then Virginia, back to Texas, up to Arkansas. Nonstop. Why the rush?

"Funny you should ask, because we were just talking about that," says Glover's manager, Greg Walter, as we eye Glover talking to the band on the stage. "For the past three months, I have not been calling him saying, 'Take this job.' I am usually calling him saying, 'Don't take this job—you need rest.' I get worried because he doesn't sleep enough. I tell him to slow down, and he says, 'You know what, I'm 26, 27—I can do it now.' "

Pudi, who looks decidedly healthy and rested in a military cap and fresh face, walks up to the side of the stage. Glover sees him and flashes a smile.

"Are you alive?" Pudi yells, leaning his body across the stage.

Glover, still resting his voice, holds up his pointer and thumb, pinched with little space in between.

Just barely.

The previous week had been one of the biggest in Glover's career.

On Tuesday, March 8, he released the new Childish Gambino EP. Over the next four days, he was on the set of Community as they tried to finish shooting the second season before the weekend. He wove press interviews about Childish Gambino in between takes, and after each day's wrap went back to his studio to remix some more songs and put them on the Web. At night, he was preparing for the Comedy Central special as well as working on slides for the "I Am Donald" tour. He spent eight hours on Saturday, March 12, covered in orange paint for the last day of shooting for Community. (They are revisiting a paintball theme.) 5-Hour Energy. Whiskey. Remixing. Girls. Bits and beats flowing through his head that needed to be captured on his iPhone. Writing a new song for the Woodies. Sunday was a Community goodbye get-together followed by performing at his regular Sunday-night comedy show, Shitty Jobs.

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32 comments
elysehowdershell
elysehowdershell

Thanks for the awesome article! I'm seeing Childish Gambino tonight in Asheville and I'm so excited! He was supposed to play on March 19th but the show was rescheduled so there's definitely gonna be some intense energy tonight:)

Jessica
Jessica

Makes me feel like I should be doing more with my life..

alexis
alexis

no doubt about that.

donaldfan
donaldfan

Im happy for him and I want to see him make it to the top.Hes doing it the right way.Hes putting in the time.He's going against the grain.Its unfortunate that he has to fight THIS hard because he is a black man doing things that black men arent usually permitted to do.So its going to be harder for him but hes working his ass off and its paying off in a big way.Im rooting for him.I wont be happy until "hes fucking running everything".

Christ Khodadadi
Christ Khodadadi

Why didnt I run into Donald at NYU? I remember Aziz Ansari coming into the Stern computer labs when I was working tho.

Dorklops
Dorklops

Great article, it showed a new insight into someone I follow somewhat closely. I almost went to read the comments before remembering that they often put a negative spin on everything, and who wants that? Just let it sit for a while and think about it, it gives art a greater poignancy.

GuestJ
GuestJ

How come black men prefer women of other ethnicities (white, Latinas, Asian) over black women?

The AMAZING Dik Shuttle
The AMAZING Dik Shuttle

Ok - Love Donald Glover's work. And hopefully he's a good guy, not that that necessarily really matters. But "in it for the power"? Gee, Emperor much? That's some darkside. Watch the evil, kiid.

ki
ki

"Emo emo emo". How old and out of touch is the author of this article? Please buy a vocab builder, buddy.

Devin Newton
Devin Newton

I absolutely LOVE Donald Glover. I've been following him since my sophomore year in high school (2005) and its been great to see him get better and better over the years. He is a great everything actor, writer, and rapper. Me, my brothers, and some of my friends are so happy that there is finally somebody that gets us (Black kids that love rock and other white kid stuff) and is making the world get us. Thank you Donald and much love bro!

Dave
Dave

I'm a huge Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino fan, this was a great article, very well written. I hope the world continues to be exposed to his music and his art, he is a breathe of fresh air.

RagelX
RagelX

Beautiful Article. This dude is coming up! I just hope he doesn't push himself too far and hurt himself. What other guy do you know, writes for TV (in college), makes his own music (beats and lyrics), does stand-up, and acts...all successfully?

Viva Donglover

Disco
Disco

That was a great story. I watch Community and Troy is one of my favorite characters. I had no idea he wrote for shows when he was at NYU - that's really impressive. I wish the best for him.

corie
corie

27??????? omg this kid looks 17 amazing ! very good genes lol

Cindy Cynical
Cindy Cynical

I can't agree with Cynthia F. more; this article seems to encapsulate Glover's progress up until this point. This article seems to capture exactly the person that he is: humble, sincere, and power-driven. I find him absolutely amazing and every time that I have met him, he has been as sweet as pie as if he has known me forever. He is such a great person and with all of the leaps he has made within the past year or so, I have no doubt that he will continue to entertain us for a very long time. I've been a fan of his since 2005 (when I started college) and I'm thrilled to have watched him grow and come into his own. I would've never thought the cute black guy from "Progressions of a Mad Hatter" would become the rapper Childish Gambino or nerdy type Troy on Community.

Pierresito
Pierresito

Have to agree with Cynthia, this article is amazing, and Donald is going to go far. This showed a great side of Donald, one you dont really see in other interviews, and it was refreshing and nice. I like him better than I did before, which I thought was impossible since I liked him a hell of a lot already... great stuff

Cynthia F.
Cynthia F.

Probably one of the best articles I've ever read. Seriously. The writer has a gift, man. Not to mention how human he made Donald seem, to those who see him as a God. He's still human. Who barely sleeps. Who has dreams. Who's been afraid. Who's not done living.

I enjoyed reading this. Over and over. great job to Bill Jensen and Donald.

Dwilchoc23
Dwilchoc23

It's because black women only go for a certain kind of brotha. I don't think too many black women are going for guys like Donald Glover. I have never seen it.

guest
guest

I'm down with the Black girls of every single culture

Ltplaytyme
Ltplaytyme

Coming from a Black man that likes women of other ethnicities my motivation is that I would like to conquer the world...one country at a time.

drewslugmoar
drewslugmoar

Your question is kind of stupid. I suspect you are a) a racist prick that feels threatened at every sight of a mixed color couple or b) some kid that has not thought a lot about his assumptions. Either way the correct stats are not with you. Most black men are with black women (also women of other races cannot resist a black man).

Swag-1
Swag-1

@Guestj Because MOST, not ALL black women want a thug of a black man who pays bills and respects his woman, it doesn't happen, they dont want highly educated black men who aren't thugs.

LOVE YOU DONALD

bbg
bbg

You can't just make a general statement like that, especially when it isn't true. Some of it has to do with your environment. Like he said, there weren't a lot of black people at NYU. If you're constantly surrounded by people of other races, you have to adapt to your surroundings. I wouldn't be surprised if black woman played him because of his taste in music or his affinity for the performing arts.

anon
anon

The writer has a gift? What are you talking about? This article was terribly written, if you don't see this you know nothing about writing

GuestJ
GuestJ

Ignoring your ad hominem attacks, I will reply to the second half of your post:

"Either way the correct stats are not with you. Most black men are with black women"

Yes, just as most women are with Average Joes, not hunky millionaires that plunder the high seas and sing in platinum selling rock bands when not on call in the emergency room; that is, people take what is available when it comes to partners.

"(also women of other races cannot resist a black man)."

That's certainly true. Black men commit a disproportionately high number of sexual assaults, and these black males choose to rape white women the majority of the time they commit rape*.

Oddly enough, rape is the only major crime that isn't intra-racial, blacks are most likely to murder other blacks, to violently assault other blacks, but they must travel out of their way to rape white women the majority of the time, as well as disproportionately high numbers of Hispanic and Asian women.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...

D-Rae
D-Rae

I think you may have jumped all over the reader's question a bit prematurely. GuestJ's question is not racist; I'm fairly sure what they were getting at is the popular trend in the Black dating scene that is Black men dating women of other races and passing up on the sisters. That subject is quite multi-faceted, complicated, and isn't best hashed out over an internet forum like this.

It sounds like the question from GuestJ was coming from a place of frustration, either as a Black woman has been passed up for a White girl, or as a Black man who doesn't get why someone would wan't to stray from dating other Black women because we are so lovely. Either way, I don't like the original question that was posted, as it presupposes that interracial dating is some sort of problem. It's not. Ugh, fuck rap cool.

cdeeq
cdeeq

you're forgetting that there are a lot of highly educated black women who aren't quasi-members of destiny's child. i think donald just dates women who make themselves available. numbers-wise, there are just not a lot of black women around.

Scott G.Brown
Scott G.Brown

White women are at his disposal more readily than black women, and he has risen to Stardom which is enough to put any woman on the chase.When I saw him on 30 Rock, I thought that he was from India, and he was only miles from where I was born. He has the Poise, Youth, and Talent that many desire-Break a Leg, Donald Glover! Fly to the Moon!

 
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