Donald Glover says Tina Fey told him he was a “diversity hire” on ’30 Rock’

Donald Glover has spoken candidly about his time working on 30 Rock, and said that Tina Fey told him he was a “diversity hire”.

The actor and rapper, also known as Childish Gambino, was speaking during a new interview yesterday (April 4), when he explained how he got his first writing job, working for the US sitcom 30 Rock.

According to Glover, he got the role back in 2006, back when he was still a resident assistant in Goddard – living in a dorm in New York City. However, despite performing well in his role, he consistently felt like an outsider.


“It definitely didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there,” he told GQ. “I used to have stress dreams every night where I was doing cartwheels on the top of a New York skyscraper with the other writers watching me.”

Glover later found out that was only hired as a way for the team to look more diverse; something which was also confirmed to him by series creator and actor, Tina Fey.

Donald Glover
Donald Glover CREDIT: Matt Winkelmeyer/FilmMagic

“There is no animosity between us or anything like that, but [Tina Fey] said it herself… It was a diversity thing,” he said. “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!’”

Last month, Glover – who is now a renowned actor, comedian, musician, writer and director – debuted his latest series, Swarm.

Co-created Glover and Atlanta writer Janine Nabers for Amazon Prime Video, the series follows a young woman named Dre whose obsession with one of the world’s biggest pop stars sets her on a dark journey across the country.

Donald Glover
Donald Glover attends the ‘Swarm’ Red Carpet Premiere and Screening. CREDIT: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Prime Video

Not only did Glover recently release an EP made in conjunction with the horror series, but the show also saw the acting debut of pop icon Billie Eilish.

Available to watch now, the ‘Happier Than Ever’ singer was one of many unexpected supporting players who crosses paths with the lead character, played by Dominique Fishback.

It was also revealed that former First Daughter, Malia Obama also worked alongside Glover on Swarm, and is credited as a staff writer on all seven episodes of the new show.

“Some of her pitches were wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny,” said Nabers. “She’s an incredible writer. She brought a lot to the table. She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”

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