Donald Glover reflects on ‘SNL’ rejection: “Me being on ‘SNL’ would’ve killed me”

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Donald Glover‘s career went through a rough patch during his pre-Atlanta days. His request to perform at the BET Awards was turned down, as they wanted Kendrick Lamar, and he got booed while opening for Kid Cudi at New York’s Terminal 5. If there’s one door he’s happy closed, however, it’s his former desire to be on the cast of SNL.

“I dodged so many bullets,” Glover tells GQ. “Me being on SNL would’ve killed me. I got friends who made it on SNL and, at the time, I was like, damn. But if I got on SNL, my career wouldn’t have happened.”

“And thank God,” Glover continues. “Thank God I didn’t get some of those pilots. I wanted so desperately to be on Parks and Rec because it was the cool, hipster show. I am the bullet dodger. I feel like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. That wasn’t a mistake, you know? God did that.”

Glover says he heard his stint with stand-up was the reason he failed to secure a position on SNL, but chalks his comedy experience up to the fact that “everybody’s got to pay a price.”

“If I hadn’t done that stuff, I probably wouldn’t have been in The Daily Show’s writers room,” he says.

As bad as his stand-up was, Glover says he received some words of encouragement from a fellow comedian. “I was with Chris Rock, and he was like, ‘People aren’t good [at stand-up] until they’re your age. The only one who was better when he was younger was Eddie [Murphy]. Why aren’t you doing this s***?’”

Though he’s building his new production company/incubator/cultural library Gilga, Glover’s now down to take another stab at comedy.

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