- Matthias Clamer/FX
Donald Glover’s fans have waited about three years between the news that he was creating a new comedy, “Atlanta,” and its much anticipated premiere Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX.
While it has felt like a long time to wait for a show, the former “Community” star and rapper feels it was just the right amount of time. But the public’s knowledge of things that used to be more hidden has increased with the internet.
“First of all, when I was a kid, you wouldn’t hear, ‘Adam Sandler has a TV show coming.’ That wasn’t news,” Glover told Business Insider during the recent Television Critics Association press tour. “There was no internet really for that. You’d just start seeing the ads a month or two before, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I guess I’m going to check this out.’ So I think it’s like people are like, ‘What took so long?’ I had to make the show. That was it … It’s just that people know more about the process, so they’re like, ‘It’s been three years.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s how long it takes to get a show done usually.'”
Glover acknowledges that the show hasn’t been his sole focus since leaving the NBC comedy “Community” in 2013. Under his rap pseudonym, Childish Gambino, he released a couple of albums and toured. He has also appeared in some big projects such as the films “The Martian” and “Magic Mike XXL.”
“I guess it could have happened faster, maybe if I wasn’t doing so many other things,” Glover said. “But in general, I think it’s just like people are more aware of the process, so it’s different. But also, I like taking my time. I don’t like to be rushed at all.”
- Guy D’Alema/FX
For viewers and TV critics, the time Glover spent making “Atlanta” will be well worth it. The offbeat comedy follows Earn (Glover) and his rapper cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), who are trying to get the music business to pay attention to them.
Their efforts lead to plenty of discouraging and hilarious roadblocks while they knock around the tough streets and colorful characters of black Atlanta.
Glover knows the show’s portrayal of Georgia’s capital will be unique for TV.
“It’s the part of Atlanta I don’t think that people show because it’s not ‘interesting’ to people,” Glover said, making air quotes. “I put that in quotes because it’s not the part of Atlanta that’s been proven to sell. And I felt like I just knew there was a hunger for Atlanta s— like that, but nobody had really figured out how to sell it. And I was like, I know how to sell it. It needs to just feel like you’re black, you know?”
And as for the Atlanta music scene, viewers will get some of that, but Glover isn’t promising an education in the music industry on the show. That wouldn’t be authentic for him.
“I’ve never been interested in seeing people make it. That s—‘s boring to me,” Glover said. “Sometimes life is boring, but even when life is boring, even when you’re just by yourself, it feels profound because it’s happening to you. And it’s through a point of view, and I felt like I don’t want a show about people making it, or just the struggle, which is super easy for people to do, specifically with black shows. They’ll be like, ‘Oh, they’re struggling.’
“Most people who live in everyday lives – white people, Chinese people, Mexican people – they’re living their lives, and they’re trying to eat. I was more interested in that.”
Watch the trailer for “Atlanta”: