Back to IndieWire

Donald Glover Jokes About Chevy Chase’s Use of the N-Word in WGA Awards Speech

Glover did not mince words about his former "Community" co-star while presenting at the WGA Awards.

At the 2023 Writers Guild Awards, Donald Glover Jokes About Chevy Chase Calling Him the N-Word

Donald Glover

Getty Images for Writers Guild o

When Donald Glover stopped by the WGA Awards  in New York to present “NewsRadio” creator and “Atlanta” executive producer Paul Simms with the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence on Sunday night, he found time to get a few jabs in at his famously unpleasant “Community” co-star Chevy Chase. For years, Glover has been open about Chase’s racist behavior towards him on the set of the NBC show, which he alluded to during his speech honoring Simms.

“This award was named after Herb Sargent, a writer who worked on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and came up with the ‘Weekend Update’ with Chevy Chase,'” Glover said at the beginning of his remarks. “Chevy Chase once called Herb one of the funniest writers working in television. And Chevy Chase once called me… you know, this is about Paul.”

His long comedic pause led many to believe he was referring to Chase calling him the N-word. If anyone had doubts about that, they were erased when Glover brought Chase up again in an anecdote about shooting “Girls” (which Simms also produced) while jokingly ascribing the use of racial epithets to Lena Dunham.

“I was on the set of ‘Girls’ after filming a sex scene for like eight hours,” Glover said. “Which they cut down to two minutes, I’ve never seen the rest of that footage. Afterwards I asked Lena, ‘Yo, what made you decide to work with Paul?’” And she goes ‘honestly, this n— 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.” 

Glover’s comments about Lena Dunham using anti-Black racial slurs to describe Simms (who is white) were absolutely a joke — but his sentiments about Chase probably weren’t. In a 2018 interview, Glover and “Community” creator Dan Harmon both talked about Chase’s racist behavior.

“Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was, and the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off,” Harmon said. “I remember apologizing to Donald after a particularly rough night of Chevy’s non-P.C. verbiage, and Donald said, ‘I don’t even worry about it.’”

“I just saw Chevy as fighting time,” Glover added. “A true artist has to be OK with his reign being over. I can’t help him if he’s thrashing in the water. But I know there’s a human in there somewhere — he’s almost too human.”

Reporting by Samantha Bergeson.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox