Before Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, busted out to becoming one of the biggest rappers on the planet AND the creator of Atlanta he got his first break as a writer on Tina Fey’s 30 Rock.
Donald Glover was a writer on Season 3 of 30 Rock where the show received 13 Emmy nominations and 3 wins, including winning the award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Glover is on the April cover of GQ Magazine where he briefly discussed his time at 30 Rock. He said he used to have ‘stress dreams’ about ‘doing cartwheels on the top of a New York skyscraper with the other writers watching me.’
He believed those dreams were caused by imposter syndrome, despite being one of the most talented people in the room at all times.
The reasons for those imposter syndrome feelings became clearer later in the interview when Donald Glover revealed his time on 30 Rock manifested itself in the story arc of Toofer (Twofer?), aka James Spurlock, a Harvard grad and a black man who Jack Donaghy joked on the show is a ‘two for one’.
The interview says “he was hired because of a diversity initiative at NBC, in which adding a Black writer to your writers room didn’t count against your budget.”
Donald Glover added “There is no animosity between us or anything like that, but [Tina Fey] said it herself…. It was a diversity thing.” He went on to say “The last two people who were fighting for the job were me and Kenya Barris. I didn’t know it was between me and him until later. He hit me one day and he was like, ‘I hated you for years!’”
Glover was a co-writer on 23 episodes of 30 Rock, primarily in Season 3.
Then in Season 4 came this season, where James Spurlock aka ‘Toofer’, one of the characters on the show who was a writer, uttered the two words a Harvard man never says after he found out he was a diversity hire and his salary didn’t come out of the show’s budget and that’s why his monthly checks were a different color than the rest of the staff.
The fact that that scene came less than a season after Donald Glover left the show and now the revelation that Glover joked about being a ‘twofer’ is unmistakable.
But Donald Glover says there’s ‘no animosity or anything like that’ between him and Tina Fey or the show. It was what it was, and that job on 30 Rock ultimately helped him launch his own show Atlanta which went on to win 6 Primetime Emmy Awards of its own.