Childish Gambino Explains His First Time Attempting Standup Comedy

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Childish Gambino is coming off the successful release of his second album, because the internet, last month, and during his promo run the famously hilarious rapper/actor stopped by the XXL offices to chop it up about his past as a comedian. Gambino may be forging ahead as a rapper, but he’s also snagged two Emmy awards as a writer on 30 Rock and is finishing up his long-running role on Community this season. But before all that, Gambino, aka Donald Glover, was in the comedy troupe Derrick Comedy, which garnered a ton of attention for a number of hilarious Internet-based shorts, including the infamous “Bro Rape” and “Hip-Hop” videos. While brilliant doing sketch comedy, Glover hadn’t dabbled too much in standup comedy. So XXL asked Glover to relate the story about his very first time on stage telling jokes as a standup comedian. It didn’t go exactly to plan. —Dan Rys (@danrys)

Childish Gambino: “In Long Island City we did this show. They gave us a show where we could do whatever we wanted, and we knew we couldn’t do sketch, couldn’t do improv, because people were already kind of doing that. I had never done standup before, but we knew we had to do it. And it was like every week; it’s hard to come up with new jokes every week. So I just remember going up, and I pretty much bombed. There was a couple laughs, but I pretty much bombed. It was pretty bad. But it was awesome for me, ’cause then I knew what that felt like, and I knew what worked. I think I recorded it, so I went home and analyzed it, like, ‘Why did that work?’

“[A lot of people showed up] ’cause they were expecting sketch, or Derrick, ’cause it was Derrick Comedy at the time. A lot of people showed up, and we all told jokes standing up. Dominic [Dierkes] had been telling jokes on the road for several years so he was really good, he had a really good set. But me and DC [Peirson] were kinda like, figuring it out. Like babes, babies walking through construction sites, just missing.” [Laughs]

Previously: Childish Gambino Is Afraid Of The Future
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