Donald Glover stepped out for a rare appearance presenting one of his colleagues with a highly coveted award last week, taking the podium at the 75th annual Writers Guild Awards in NYC.
The writer, producer, actor and comedian presented Atlanta executive producer Paul Simms with the Herb Sargeant Award for Comedy Excellence and Mentorship, and referenced the ways in which he came to work with the legendary producer through the years.
However, Glover made a point to get a few digs in at his former Community co-star and veteran comedian Chevy Chase, who infamously hurled slurs and racial epithets his way while they were working together a decade ago.
While referencing Herb Sargeant, the former Saturday Night Live writer for whom the award he was presenting was named, Glover pointed out that Sargeant had actually conceptualized the “Weekend Update” segment originally hosted by Chase that prevails on the show to this day.
“Chevy Chase once called Herb one of the funniest writers working in television,” Glover said during his speech. “Chevy Chase once called me…you know what? This is about Paul.”
The crowd, knowing what Glover was referencing, erupted in laughter.
The Hollywood Reporter reported in 2012 that Chase “apologized immediately” after letting the n-word fly while questioning dialogue his character had during a scene with Glover and fellow co-star Yvette Nicole Brown. The source insisted that the slur was not directed at either of the show’s Black stars, but it seemed that both were present and within earshot. Production was briefly halted before the actor returned with his apology.
In a 2018 New Yorker profile of Glover, Community creator Dan Harmon revealed that Chase made frequent racial cracks and comments toward Glover between shooting scenes in an effort to knock him off his game – a move he deemed as coming from jealousy at the clear talent the actor and comedian was already exhibiting at such a young age. Glover said he basically ignored it at the time.
To make the reference even clearer, Glover brought up Chase once again later in his speech when detailing working with Simms for the first time whie shooting a guest appearance on Girls, where he was an executive producer at the time.
“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 recalled. “I asked Lena [Dunham], ‘Hey, what made you decide to work with Paul?’ And she goes ‘Honestly, this n*gga lets me do whatever I want.’ (The Hollywood Reporter clarified that the comment about Dunham’s use of the word was a joke).
“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.”
You can watch Glover’s speech in full in the video above.