Hometown: Stone Mountain, Ga.
For Fans Of: 30 Rock, Upright Citizens Brigade, Encyclopedia Brown
Donald Glover has never personally experienced the world of junior colleges laid out in NBC’s new sitcom, Community, but the 26-year-old wunderkind—who plays dim-bulb jock Troy—finds the premise familiar. “It’s about forcing people to interact with each other that you normally wouldn’t hang out with,” he says. “That was college for me.”
Glover studied dramatic writing at NYU, but his real schooling came when he was hired as a staff writer on 30 Rock just after graduation. “I literally still had my R.A. pager the first day at work,” says Glover, who wrote for the show’s first three seasons. On his second day, he got buzzed by a girl locked out of her room. “I was like, ‘She’s gonna have to wait. I’m at work with Tina Fey!’”
Community’s ensemble cast includes Chevy Chase and The Soup’s Joel McHale. And this fall, Glover will star alongside old friends in his Derrick Comedy troupe’s first feature film, Mystery Team, an homage to the Encyclopedia Brown novels. He’s not planning to take over the world just yet, but he does have a general philosophy: “Everybody I look up to—Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy back in the ‘80s, Chris Rock—all those guys just try and do something new and fun that they know how to do well, and just push themselves to do the best,” he says. “So I just try to do that as much as possible.”