‘Community’ and ‘Mystery Team’ Hero Donald Glover: Class Clown

By , December 16, 2009

Donald Glover Community

Best known for appearing as a bumbling jock on NBC’s Community, 25 year-old Donald Glover’s one of the busiest guys in comedy today. He got his start in the 30 Rock writer’s room, regularly puts out viral videos on YouTube with his NYU-born sketch comedy groupDerrick, and DJs around town as “mcDJ.” The just-released Mystery Team, Glover’s feature debut, is an Encyclopedia Brown-inspired parody that blends heartfelt story with crude teen humor. Co-starring fellow Derrick members DC Pierson and Donald Dierkes, the flick tells the story of a group of overgrown child detectives, out to solve a real murder mystery before high school ends. Glover, making his way to the premiere, clued us in on Tina Fey’s influence on the Team, his 20-hour writing days, and the “ex-girlfriend” — hint: you know her, too — that he keeps on going back to.

Mystery Team comes out today. How’s that feel?
Really great. It’s nice to have something that you’ve worked on for so long come out.

How’d it come about?
We’d just finished a sketch and had some funds that we acquired from some little commercials, stuff like that. We had some money, and we were like: “We really want to do a big project.” I had just written an outline for an Encyclopedia Brown sketch that I wanted to do, but the rights were tied up and it wasn’t ever going to happen. So I had this outline for Encyclopedia Brown that I’d always wanted to do and I brought it to the guys. We loved it and we all got really into it really fast. We just fell in love with that idea, because it intrinsically wasn’t a sketch idea. We really wanted to tell a story. I’ve said it before, but in a perfect world, we would want to be the Pixar of comedy. We love Pixar’s stories and we think they’re really funny. If we could do things that really touch people that also have good jokes in them, we would do it.

When did this all start?
November 2008. We started writing it immediately. I would come home late from writing at 30 Rock and we would spend three or four hours writing the script until three in the morning, four in the morning.

Intense.
But we really wanted to do it and we knew that if we wanted to do it this year, it had to be done by, at the very latest, February, because then we would have rewrites and we’d have to start getting the crew together and have to getting all the rest of the money. So we made time. For a couple of months, I had four hours of sleep. That was me in the dark days, and we got it done.

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