“You have to be real with yourself. No one is doing that. People are too concerned with making everything look nice and calm and pretty.” – Donald Glover
Writer. Actor. Comedian. Director. Musician.
There’s pretty much nothing Donald Glover can’t do.
He first came to attention for his work with Derrick Comedy and, with the help of Tina Fey, was hired at the age of 23 to become a writer for the NBC comedy series 30 Rock. He later portrayed community college student Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community. He currently stars in the FX series Atlanta, which he also created. He will appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming, untitled standalone Han Solo Star Wars movie. He will also provide the voice of Simba in a remake of the Disney film The Lion King.
Here are a few things you might not know about the man some people call Childish Gambino.
30. Mixed Up
The first mixtape album that he does acknowledge is 2008’s Sick Boi. On this mixtape, Glover refers to himself as Bambino, as he hadn’t yet settled on the rap name of Childish Gambino and was toying with the idea of naming himself Bambino X. Fans refer to this as his Lil Wayne period.
29. Putting the Spec in Special
At the age of 23, Glover was hired by Tina Fey to be a writer on the NBC comedy series 30 Rock. Ironically, it was a spec script (a non-commissioned unsolicited screenplay) that Glover wrote for The Simpsons that caught Fey’s attention.
28. All Along the Watchtower
Glover was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, which makes it surprising that he ended up an actor and not a door to door salesman.
27. No, the Other Glover
Donald Glover was born to Donald Sr. and Beverly Glover and is not the son of Lethal Weapon actor Danny Glover who, quite frankly, is too old for this stuff.
26. A Likely Story
Glover was voted “Most Likely to Write for The Simpsons” in his high school yearbook. We got “Most Likely to Write Lists of Facts.” How do these people know?!
25. An Important Distinction
Donald Glover’s Twitter handle used to be @donglover. He changed it because some people read it with the putative space one character later and it led to… misunderstandings.
For his work on the third season of 30 Rock, Glover received a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Series, justifying his high school class’ assertion that he was meant to be a comedy writer.
23. Sounds Sketchy
Glover first came to attention for his work with Derrick Comedy, an Internet sketch comedy group from New York University whose videos garnered millions of views.
22. Troy and Abed in the Morning!
Glover became known to a wider audience after he was cast in the NBC comedy Community as Troy Barnes, the former high school quarterback who embraces his nerdy side as a result of his friendship with Abed Nadir. Cool. Cool Cool Cool.
21. Sail Away
Glover left Community during the fifth season when his character took off on a world-circumnavigating sailing trip as a condition of a $14.3 million dollar inheritance left to him by the wealthy Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). Sounds a lot less scary than the more standard “having to spend a night in a haunted house” scenario.
20. Army Kid
Donald Glover was born at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.
19. Odd Man Out
His stand-up comedy special, Weirdo, was filmed in 2011 for Comedy Central, and proved that Donald Glover is better than the rest of us at yet another thing.
Childish Gambino, Donald Glover’s rap stage name, originated from the Wu-Tang Clan’s name generator. Our stage name is Irate Ambassador. Story checks out.
17. Started From the Bottom
Glover released a 2005 album called The Younger I Get that he has since disowned, describing the work as the too-raw ramblings of what he calls a “decrepit Drake.”
16. Let Freedom Ring
Glover was raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a city known as site of the 1915 revival of the Ku Klux Klan and referenced in Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.
15. Video Killed the Radio Star
Glover’s very first music video was for his track “Freaks and Geeks” from his EP titled Be Alone. The video was shot by Derrick Comedy director Dan Eckman and the song was later used in an Adidas commercial featuring Dwight Howard.
14. On the Road
His first music tour, IAMDONALD, made 24 stops in 34 days, beginning in Ames, Iowa, and ending in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
13. Going for Gold
His 2013 album, Because the Internet, spawned two gold singles: “Heartbeat” and “3005.”
12. Words Words Words
Donald Glover also published a 74-page script titled “Because the Internet” on the website beacusetheinter.net as a companion piece to the album just to prove that he’s good at absolutely everything he does.
11. On the Right Track
The remix of “3005” on the later-released Kauai EP, was the key to uncovering a secret track that Glover had hinted was out there on the Internet. The remix of “3005” was just an instrumental version of the song, but when mixed with a capella vocals that were hidden on Gambino’s beacusetheinter.net website, it uncovered the track entitled “3005 (Beach Picnic Version).” Yeah, we just love it when artists make us work for their art.
10. I Knew You Were Trouble
Glover’s first UK top 10 single was the song “Trouble” sung by Leona Lewis and featuring Childish Gambino.
9. Game Time
In a collaboration that nobody knew they wanted, Childish Gambino worked with videogame maker Ubisoft to incorporate his song “Crawl” into Far Cry 4, a game that includes beautiful landscapes, wingsuits, and death by elephant stampede.
8. A Sticky Situation
In 2010, a fan suggested Glover for the role of Peter Parker in the then-upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man, encouraging his supporters to retweet the hashtag “#donald4spiderman.” The campaign quickly gained a large following, including the support of Spider-Man creator Stan Lee and Glover himself. But the campaign also had its share of detractors, with a number of fanboys expressing barely veiled racism behind arguments of “but… but… canon!” Ultimately, the role went to Andrew Garfield.
7. Change is Gonna Come
A year later, comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis announced an African-American version of Spider-Man, claiming that he had conceived of the character before Glover’s campaign had gone viral. He did credit Glover (along with President Barack Obama) with influencing the look of the character though, much in the same way Samuel L. Jackson influenced the look of Nick Fury.
6. One Step Closer
Glover later voiced this incarnation of Spider-Man on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series… but fans still wanted more and the calls for a black Spider-Man remained.
5. A New Hope
Glover was also cast in the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming as a… well… as of April 2017, we don’t know yet. We hope that it’s Miles Morales, but we’re sure, whoever it is, Donald Glover will be better at playing it than you.
4. To the Cloud!
Glover is set to play a young Lando Calrissian in the 2018 untitled Han Solo film. Looks like, unlike Lando, Glover’s deal keeps getting better all the time.
3. In the Jungle
Glover will be the voice of Simba in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King and, just like Simba, everything the light touches is his kingdom.
Donald Glover recently revealed that his child is a boy. No other information about the child is available, which is exactly the way Donald Glover wants it. So stop asking.
1. Beyond the Sea
Community creator Dan Harmon asked Glover to return for the sixth season, but he declined, saying that it would be better for the character and the remaining story arcs if Troy Barnes remained at sea.