On a different note, the name of your debut video was “Freaks and Geeks.” What are some other prematurely cancelled programs you might resurrect from the dead if you could?
Donald Glover: Rugrats. I’d bring that back in a heartbeat.
Rocko’s Modern Life, maybe?
Donald Glover: I was watching that yesterday! I watched the episode where Mr. Bighead was sleepwalking and thinks he’s a pirate. I love that one. I was thinking, “This is such a funny fucking show.” And Dinosaurs. For some reason I really had a soft spot for it, even though it ended really dark.
What do you watch when you aren’t writing/performing/rapping?
Donald Glover: The First 48. It’s a show about actual murders that comes on A&E, and I also probably watch everything on Cartoon Network.
Which would you say comes most naturally to you between writing scripts, stand-up, and rhymes?
Donald Glover: Probably stand-up, because I like talking about random stuff a lot. But they’ve all kind of started to come pretty naturally to me. I do all those things because I really like them.
Is there one of your multiple personas that you feel you identify more closely with than the others?
Donald Glover: They’ve all kind of become the same to me, honestly.
Have you ever played any of your Childish Gambino stuff for Tina Fey? What’s the first thing she said?
Donald Glover: I’m sure she’s heard it, but I don’t know what she thinks. I’m sure she thinks—I hope she thinks it’s awesome! I don’t see why she would think it’s bad. She’s probably not going to play it at her party, but I think she probably would like it. Knowing her, she probably does.
Some of your lyrics are pretty racy. Do a fair amount of them stem from actual experiences with women, or do you have an exceptionally dirty mind?
Donald Glover: Both. It is both. I try to tell true shit because I think that’s the most interesting, but also, I have a weird mind. And I think that’s kind of the fun of the rap persona. I get to say stuff that’s titillating, but I also try to tell the truth because that’s intriguing to people. [Pauses] Is it that racy though? I feel like there are so many other rappers who are way racier than me!
Sure, but you also talk about “keeping your dick wetter than the bottom of a steamboat.”
Donald Glover: Cruise ship! But if Lil Wayne said that, would that be that crazy? I feel like I get unfairly judged because it’s me. I do! I feel like Lil Wayne says way worse shit than me, and people are like, “Oh that’s just Lil Wayne being Lil Wayne.”
Speaking of dirty lyrics, what is your favorite x-rated song of all time and why?
Donald Glover: “Kim” by Eminem. When I was a kid, it really scared me. Like, when I first heard it, I couldn’t sleep. I was so fucked up from it—but that’s what stories are. All he did was say it and I was like, “Did he really do that? That’s so fucked up!” Obviously I don’t condone the things he—that’s the thing, I think people think I’m cool with that shit…but in a way I am. He’s a storyteller and that’s the point of it. At the end of the day, I just want to tell interesting stories.