Donald Glover may have ruffled some feathers at the 2023 Writer’s Guild Awards after he mentioned the fateful moment that comedian Chevy Chase called him the N-Word.
On Sunday night (March 5), Glover, 39, took the stage to present Paul Simms, executive producer of FX’s Atlanta, with an honorary award. During his speech, the Swarm creator took the time to crack a joke at Chevy’s expense. He noted that Simms’ award was named after Herb Sargent, the former Saturday Night Live writer who created Chevy Chase’s “Weekend Update” on the variety comedy show.
“Chevy Chase once called Herb one of the funniest writers working in television,” Glover remarked at the WGA Awards. “Chevy Chase once called me—You know what? This is about Paul.”
The Awaken, My Love! singer then recalled how he initially heard about Simms, noting his work on Girls as an executive producer. His memory prompted a joke about Lena Dunham, the show’s creator, and her use of the N-word as well.
“I was on the set of Girls after filming a sex scene for like eight hours, which they cut down to two minutes. I’ve never seen any of the rest of that footage,” Glover reflected. “I asked Lena [Dunham], ‘Hey, what made you decide to work with Paul?’ And she goes, ‘Honestly, this ni**a lets me do whatever I want.’ And I remember thinking two things. One, Lena is using the N-word extremely liberally. Who does she think she is, Chevy Chase? And two, that’s the kind of producer I want.”
While the Atlanta native was joking about Dunham, his comments about Chase echo previous reports regarding his former Community co-star.
The Hollywood Reporter reported in 2012 that Chase apologized immediately to his Community colleagues after using the N-word on set out of frustration for a scene involving Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown’s characters. It was reported that the slur was “not directed at them.”
Then in 2018, Community creator Dan Harmon offered additional insight into the 79-year-old’s constant use of racial remarks, especially aimed at Glover. “Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was,” Harmon told The New Yorker. “And the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off.”