‘Community’ Moments That Showed Donald Glover Was Destined for Greatness
Donald Glover isn’t even 40 yet, and he’s already managed to either write (30 Rock), star (Community) or write and star (Atlanta) in some of television’s most legendary shows. Not to mention, the memorable parts he’s had in both the MCU (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Star Wars franchise (Solo: A Star Wars Story). Such success, though, isn’t surprising to those who watched a younger Glover as Troy Barnes in that show where community college students spend more time playing paintball than looking for jobs. It was right there all along.
Community creator Dan Harmon has said that Glover’s improvisation skill was so on-point that the writers would eventually just write the space for him to do so in their scripts. “Writers sit in a room for hours — and there are 10 of them, and they all went to Harvard — and they argue endlessly about what jokes to end a scene on,” Harmon explained. “But a good portion of the ending lines to scenes in Community would be ones that Donald would just riff on the spot. I remember there was a transitional point where we literally started writing in the script, ‘And then Donald says something funny.’”
Danny Pudi also noted that most of Troy and Abed’s tags at the end of certain episodes were entirely ad-libbed and that Glover and Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) were the show’s best improvisers by far — which makes sense since Glover got his start in acting as part of an improv comedy group.
In the episode “Epidemiology,” the study group attends yet another campus Halloween party (because these people have no real lives outside of community college). An outbreak occurs thanks to some bad taco meat rations, and everyone supposedly turns into zombies. Chaos ensues, and we get to hear Glover ad-lib the show’s most hilarious line involving someone in a bee costume.
The “Troy Enters a Burning Room with Pizza” meme is splattered all over the internet, and it remains a stark reminder to all of us that the “Darkest Timeline” is the one that unfolds in the absence of a goofy himbo like Troy Barnes.
His Physical Comedy
When Glover moved on from Community to focus on his music career, we all got to see the man dance in his videos — sometimes even on top of a car.
However, no one should have been surprised that the man had moves, as we had the pleasure of experiencing it every time Troy Barnes decided to bust them out in a scene.
He even did that signature shoulder shimmy while singing a “politically conservative high school shamefully outdated fight rap.”
Glover’s physical comedy wasn’t limited to dancing either. There were many times when he put his body on the line for laughs. Like the scene below, where Troy breaks down after waiting forever to begin Annie’s experiment (which, it turns out, was the experiment). The way he drags his body across the floor and out of the room is comedic gold.
Of course, we shall refrain from commenting on this (deliberately terrible) rendition of krumping:
When Troy learns that Annie used to have a crush on him in high school, he decides to turn on the charm (or what he thinks that is) — a scene not only shows off Glover’s incredible comedic timing but also illustrates what a natural talent he is.
During the Glee-spoofing episode, everyone’s singing is excellent (except Britta’s), but it was Glover who stole the show with his next-level rapping performance. His line, “I am Jehovah’s most secret witness” is all the more funny when you know that Glover was actually raised as a Jehovah’s witness.
Of course, viewers who watched the first season of the show already knew that Glover could rap the hell out of anything, even Spanish.
And let’s not forget his exceptional, pitch-perfect running-gag humming of “Daybreak.”
His Sense of Timing
In a 2013 interview with Vibe, Glover detailed his departure from the show, “I asked to leave ’cause my heart really wasn’t in it. I feel like if I stayed there, I’d be doing my life a disservice. Community is, I think, one of the best shows on television, but it’s not mine. I just want to make dope shit from now on, on my own terms.”
Which, of course, is exactly what he did.