Donald Glover is one of the rising young stars in American comedy. He's a stand-up comedian who performs regularly in New York and he's 1/3rd of Derrick, one of the best sketch comedy groups in the world today. Derrick has recently made a feature film entitled The Mystery Team which should appear at theaters sometime in the near future. And he also writes for 30 Rock, which you probably have heard of despite its low-profile.
But, perhaps most importantly, Glover is the creator and lead writer of Howard and Leslie. Howard and Leslie has been described as the Citizen Kane of XtraNormal, a website which allows its users to make their own cartoons using several animation templates. Howard and Leslie follows the adventures of Howard, a spurned lover who attempts to woo back his ex via dark, twisted and pathological means. It's the funniest thing on the web right now.
He took the time out of his busy, busy (did I say busy?) schedule to answer a few questions about his cartoons and what it all means. (Interview by Gregg Gethard)
1.) YouTube, Facebook and MySpace have helped to "democratize" comedy -- it's made it easy for people to see your work no matter where you live. Do you think XtraNormal is the next evolutionary step in that? Or is it just a new thing that might not even take off?
I hope it takes off. I think it's very fun and smart. I think all media is heading towards being cheaper and more accesible. I always wanted to make cartoons and Xtranormal made it pretty much a crime for anyone to NOT being making cartoons on their own.
2.) What was the genesis of Howard and Leslie? Are you ever afraid to tap into the the part of your personality that leads to things like "could you cut off my penis and shove it in a chocolate cake?"
I really don't know. I didn't sit down and try to make it. I guess it is scary in a sense I just started writing. I'm not personally scared of what might come out of me/Howard, but I think people around me are. I get a lot of "that's really twisted." But I always just thought of it as just being specific. The more specific something is, the more people get freaked out. I think because it sounds more like you planned it or thought about it before, which isn't the case. I guess the only thing I'm worried about is if I'm dating a girl that goes missing and all the police can really point to as far as my character as a person are my fucked up cartoons.
3.) I think the "You tricked me into going to an execution" line would have been my yearbook quote if I was still a high school student. Have you ever been tricked or tricked someone into going to an execution?
No. That honestly just came from me thinking of the worst date you could ever go on. Seeing another human die would probably be the worst day of my life, let alone a first date.
4.) Do you do these at work and, if so, how do you hide it from Tina Fey?
I do them at home mostly. And yes, I do hide them from Tina. But that's only because I hide them from everyone. I think you either like them, or think I'm the weirdest person ever. Tina actually saw the first one and didn't fire me. That's a good sign, right?
Howard and Leslie Ep. 1: Booklet