Donald Glover Is Glad ‘SNL’ Turned Him Down: It ‘Would Have Killed Me’

"I dodged so many bullets," the "Atlanta" creator said of being turned down from "Saturday Night Live" in 2007 and 2009.
Donald Glover at "Swarm" premiere
Donald Glover at "Swarm" premiere
Getty Images for Prime Video

Donald Glover is thankful to not have been cast on “Saturday Night Live.”

The “Atlanta” creator and “Swarm” producer opened up about being turned down from the live sketch series after auditioning in both 2007 and 2009. Glover previously worked as a writer on “30 Rock” in 2006 and was already part of the NBCUniversal family.

“I dodged so many bullets,” Glover told 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.”

Glover continued, “And thank God, 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 later was cast in “Community” in 2009 after being a writer on “30 Rock.”

Glover said of the sitcom writing gig, “It definitely didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there. I used to have stress dreams every night where I was doing cartwheels on the top of a New York skyscraper with the other writers watching me.”

Glover continued, citing he was hired as part of a diversity initiative at NBC, “There is no animosity between us or anything like that, but [Tina Fey] said it herself….It was a diversity thing. The last two people who were fighting for the job were me and Kenya Barris. I didn’t know it was between me and him until later. He hit me one day and he was like, ‘I hated you for years!'”

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson recently addressed the series becoming too meta as a cast member and subject of current events jokes.

Davidson became a cast member in 2014 when he joined at age 20 as a featured player.

“When your own show [pokes fun at you], I’d be sitting in the back watching the cold open and — the cold open [is] topical, political humor, whatever’s in the culture. And then, making fun of you,” Davidson said. “Then you’ve got to walk out and do a sketch next and hit your mark and the show just made fun of you. So, why are they going laugh at you? Like, they just dogged you in front of everyone. And you’re like, ‘I’m a fucking loser, man.’”

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