Donald Glover is a Renaissance Man.
The actor/writer/music artist has had a stellar personal season with the success of Atlanta and his latest album Awaken, My Love.
But I remember noticing Glover’s talent before he became Earn, Troy, or Childish. Back in the saloon days of YouTube, Derrick Comedy—a New York based trio featuring Glover, Domminick Dierkes, D.C. Pierson—were making my friends and I laugh heartily in our dorm rooms. And with each sketch, Glover was also making his presence known.
So I went on YouTube this week, and started listing my favorite Donald Glover performances in Derrick Comedy.
Take a look.
- Don’t Jerk Off To This
It’s subtle, well the jokes are. The set up is anything but that, as it takes a herculean effort for three friends not masturbate to a bowl of fruit. It’s the don’t press that red button scenario except with fruit and genitals.
Normally I would have given an honorable mention to this sketch in place of Girls Are Not To Be Trusted, but it’s Glover’s dialogue to his friend Thomas as he catches him going for the bowl of fruit.
As his friend sneaks his way to the coveted bowl, there is Glover’s character, drink in hand, waiting in the dark for his pawn like some expectant predator in a psychological thriller, delivering a dialogue that would seem diabolical if not capped off with “…bring it to me so that I can jerk off to it.”
- Boy Band
The first thought when always viewing Boy Band is usually “This is so wrong….but that catchy chorus tho.”
The concept of the sketch, which flips the script on adult perverts lusting after underage pop sensations is both cringey and hilarious if only for the fact how close to the truth it actually nails—looking at you people who countdown to when a pop star becomes “legal,”–and that would be fine enough if you didn’t have Glover singing such a catchy chorus over the band’s music video. Some might point to Culdesac or even I Am Just Rapper mixtapes as the first time they considered Glover’s great musical ability, and that’s fair. But in between the disapproving “this is so wrong” head shaking and guilt-ridden guffaws the first time I watched this sketch, I kept thinking, “Man this dude should really consider doing music.”
- B-Boy StanceReggie: “I’m a martyr, I’m a martyr for hip-hop”
Journalist: “Martyrs are usually dead.
Reggie: “Well I’m little dead inside.”
My favorite episode from Atlanta was definitely “B.A.N.” which featured the Dateline’s esque spoof of the transracial character. It reminded me of B-Boy Stance, at least in spirit, and I think if you view it you can find a few connecting threads: the Cable TV Tabloid Documentary Style, the character that’s either delusional or just truly believes in what they’re doing all shot back to you in a humorous shell. But while the B.A.N. segment on transracial could still layer itself like a shawl onto the continuing and complex dialogue of race in the U.S., B-Boy stance isn’t that heady.
Instead, it turns the wackiness up to 11, as Glover delivers the funniest lines with strong comedic timing such as:
“Why don’t you go marry Jay-Z and have a normal life where you hug each other your arms that are free from your back…and scratch your legs where they itch last night.”
- Jazz Man
What’s the greatest sketch of all time?
Monty Python’s Dead Parrot?
SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy?
All are worthy contenders for the title. But let me add in one more to the match: Derrick Comedy’s Jazz Man.
For me, this is my “Who’s On First.”
It’s also my personal Scarface as far as quotable works.
“Won’t let me drink at your bar huh, well here’s some Jim Crow for that ass.”
“Immma go have sex with like five white women tonight. You guys have fun.”
“Ooooh I just orgasmed onstage from your white hatred.”
The premise is bonkers as it’s essentially a large fart joke wrapped up in a historical discussion on racism and cultural appropriation for commercial profit. In any one else’s hands this would fail before even making it beyond a table reading. And no other actor besides Glover could pull off the delivery that this sketch needs to remotely work.
The utter disgust and disdain Glover gives to a hypocritical audience that would pay money to see him play his trumpet but at the same time would also deny his character basic civil rights and human decency is as funny as it is brutally honest.
This sketch seems like artistic revenge for the never-changing relationship between black music, black people and the people that love the music but not the people.
Jazz Man may be my favorite Derrick Comedy and general sketch of all time. But Jerry holds a special place in my comedic bone due to being the first Derrick Comedy video I ever watched. In 2006, during the wild west days of a budding YouTube, the Junior Year in College version of me watched as Glover gave one of the most landmark and enthralling comedic performances I’d ever seen.
That last sentence was too Inside The Actor’s Studio, but in 30 seconds my belly was shaking too hard from deep laughter as Glover’s Jerry character went into denial, hysterical yelling and sobbing, and then even further in denial, and more hysterical yelling and sobbing all because the poor kid had an accident in his pants.
Jerry would serve as my introductory video towards friends and family members into Derrick Comedy and Donald Glover until, well he didn’t need an introduction anymore.
The world knows who he is.
Still, looking at Jerry, it wasn’t hard to tell that Glover was going to be star.
From pooping his pants to Lando, Mr. Glover has come pretty dang far.
Okay you’ve heard enough from me, so let me hear from you. Let me know what your favorite Donald Glover centric Derrick Comedy sketches are.