Donald Glover plays football jock Troy and Alison Brie plays
goody two-shoes Annie on NBC’s new comedy, Community, which airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
Brie, who also plays Trudy on Mad Men, and Glover, who wrote for 30 Rock before joining the Community cast, indulge in a friendly, teasing, tete a tete of
sorts, as they consider 20 Questions.
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Donald Glover: Honestly, there’s a part in a coming episode
of Community where I sing
“Somewhere Out There” from the animated film American Tale. It brought up a lot of feeling from when I saw it
as a kid, also me moving from New York, relationships and… damn. I got
emotional, all right?
Alison Brie: It was Inglourious Basterds for me. Yeah, luckily I saw that more recently than The
Time Traveler’s Wife, which, even though I
didn’t care for the film, still made me cry.
2. The fictional character most like you?
Alison: My first instinct here was to say Miranda from
Shakespeare’s The Tempest, or maybe
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.
It’s a tough question, because to assess oneself in the
light a fictional character you may never find one that really speaks to every
side of you. I can fall in love like Ophelia, but I’m not planning on killing
myself any time soon.
Donald: I’d like to say Holden Caulfield, but that’s untrue.
I’m probably more Gonzo. He’s just a weird dude that just wants to be liked. No
one really knows what he is. I like the unbridled sincerity of Gonzo. He just
likes what he likes and I really relate to that.
3. The greatest album, ever?
Donald: Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I know that’s a really easy way out of that
question, but let’s be honest. There are very few albums you can play straight
through. Quincy’s production is on point, Michael’s genius almost burns through
the cover art. I can play that album no matter what I’m feeling and there’s a
song to compliment it.
Alison: The Beatles, Abbey Road. Donald, you’re wrong. It’s a storybook. It is a
four-course meal. It makes the listener feel delighted, silly, sexy, lustful,
sentimental, loving, reflective, nostalgic, etc. without seeming choppy and
disconnected. It’s a masterpiece.
4. Star Trek or Star
Alison: The original Star Wars movies paved the way for contemporary science fiction. Also, I’m
pretty sure that even outside the realm of science fiction many movies continue
to steal fundamental themes and characterizations from Star Wars.
Donald: Nerd. Nerd. Nerd.
Alison: I think we both know women nerds are the best nerds
to be. Oh, and Star Wars provides better
Halloween costumes. Chewbacca. Did Star Trek have wookies? I rest my case.
Donald: My dad was into both Star Wars and Star Trek, but he made sure I was into Star Wars. I knew the difference between C-3PO and R2-D2
before I knew my right from my left hand.
5. Your ideal brain food?
Alison: Going to the theater. Pretty much any live theater.
If it’s good, it inspires me and makes me wish I was a part of it, and if it’s
bad, it inspires me and makes me wish I had been in it so that I could prove
how much better I could’ve done it. Theater just gets my creative juices
flowing. I miss doing it.
Donald: When I get free time I compose music or DJ. Anytime
I’m doing something musical, I feel like I’m becoming more in tune with the
universe and myself at the same time. It keeps my brain active and I feel like
I’m producing something while also making something.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Donald: I’m proud to be a part of something I
“really” think is special. Community is straight dopeness. Every script has something in it that I think
about later on and laugh. I just wanna do good work.
I’m doing exactly what I said I wanted to do my junior year
of high school.
Alison: Since I was old enough to speak I’ve been telling people
I would make a living as an actress and that’s what I’m doing. There’s
something to said for setting goals and accomplishing them.
7. You want to be remembered for …?
Donald: Hmmm … I kinda answered that in the last question.
Umm … a loving father.
Alison: I’ve grown up watching actresses in films and on TV
respecting what they do and looking up to them, wondering if I could do it — or
do better. I’d love to provide that same kind of challenge for a younger
generation of actors.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Donald: Kanye West. That’s a passionate dude. I love hearing
Umm … Chris Rock. I love watching him. He and Adam Sandler
are such hard workers. It’s nice to see people who never slow down.
Alison: Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchet. Basically anyone
named Kate. These are two women who exude class and honor their craft. They
work hard at what they do and make daring choices, in both the roles they take
on and their characterizations of those roles. They’re bold and they’re good at
what they do.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Donald: Back to the Future. I love time travel and love stories and action sequences. I feel like
if I was born a little earlier, I could have made something similar. But I’m 98
percent sure that’s just wishful thinking.
Alison: I’ll see your Back to the Future and raise you a Ghostbusters. A while ago they played it on AMC every Saturday
and Sunday for a month and I watched it every time. No joke.
10. Your hidden talents …?
Alison: I have a great talent for holding eye-contact. I’m
not saying I could beat you in a staring contest, although I probably could,
but I can definitely either make someone feel like the only person in the room
or totally creep someone out. It’s pretty awesome, or weirdly intense, your
Donald: If I have a smooth floor to lay on, I can put a
little water on my back and make this sound …
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Donald: Don’t be mean to your brothers and sisters. I was
the fighting with them once and my mom says “One day we’ll be gone and
they’ll be the only links to your past. Be nice!” That’s pretty heavy to
drop on an 8-year-old.
Alison: “Stay in school.” I decided, in a moment
of terrible misjudgment, to drive home and tell my parents that I wanted to
leave school and pursue being an actress straight away.
They were actually surprisingly supportive, but my dad sat
me down and talked to me about the benefits of college, and he was absolutely
right. I wouldn’t take back those years for anything and I don’t think I would
be the woman I am today or the actress I am today without my time in school.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole or borrowed?
Donald: My Techniques. Those turntables don’t stop being
awesome. It’s fun to just waste and afternoon mixing different albums and
sounds together. I’ve never regretted getting them, even though they cost a
Alison: It would have to be these little shorts I bought in
maybe eighth grade that were navy with a lace trim. I bought them just to be
undershorts really, little bloomers to wear under skirts.
Now the elastic has worn out, the lace is but a mere
suggestion and they are my favorite thing to wear around the house at all
times. They’re basically my Teddy bear of clothes.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or …?
Alison: Coincidentally, shorts! Mini shorts. Because I grew
up, and still live, in California I can pretty much get away with wearing them
year-round. You can dress them up or down — I’ve got a great pair of formal
shorts from BCBG that I’ll wear almost every day. Throw on some heels and they
can go day to night, love it!
Donald: It all depends on the girl I’m trying to impress. If
she wants James Bond, I love suits. If she wants rough and tumble, T-shirt it
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Donald: Dr. Martin Luther King. I sorta felt like he always
knew he was going to die doing what he did. I just would want to chat and see
how someone could go on knowing that. I’d like to get him drunk and see how he
feels about BET and stuff. The real dirt.
Alison: When I’m at dinner I like to have a good time, have
a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy the food. I’d invite one of the following:
Seth McFarlane, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, or Elizabeth Banks.
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
Donald: I’d go into the future. About 500 years. To see if
mankind has progressed. I’d also check on my great-great-great-great grand
children. I’d just like to know everything was OK, I guess.
Alison: I’d go back and experience Woodstock with reckless
abandon and hopefully have an amazing time.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Donald: I shop. Too much. Love clothes and music and food.
If I’m really stressed, you’ll see me walking into a record shop wearing a new
sweater, eating Pinkberry. Like I’m some overweight aunt or something. It’s
Alison: Spa vacation! I love getting massages. Although I
can never stay totally silent when I’m with my family at a spa. The ladies in
my family love to chit chat! But a spa can create the same feeling as yoga for
me, in terms of connecting with my body and feeling beautiful. Plus, you get to
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate,
Donald: Flaming Hot Cheetos. I used to eat those and have a
(now discontinued) Coke Black and watch Lost. Some of the happiest hours of my life.
Alison: I love me some peanut M&M’s. Movie candy of
choice for sure! That or Reeses Pieces. Or Bunch a Crunch. OK, I like chocolate.
It’s an aphrodisiac, you know.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the
Donald: City. New York City, baby. I’ve never seen anything
else like it. It has everything you need. Everything’s open late. Dancing,
food, women. It’s the only way to live.
Alison: I’ve lived in South Pasadena all my life and I love
the small-town feeling. I love the trees mostly. I like that I live up on a
hill because that is my favorite thing — being up above in the peace and quiet
of it all, looking down into the hustle bustle. I like that going home feels
like an escape.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
Alison: Good luck!
Donald: Yeah. I’m pretty much just wanna say “It’s
gonna be OK … right?”
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on,
Alison: We just wrapped filming on the third season of Mad
Men and are knee-deep in season one of Community.
I’m in the editing process of having a story published in a
forthcoming book and looking for some meaty film roles to tackle in the time
between shows. Also considering working on my tan, which is still possible in
California, even in winter.
Donald: Working on a pilot, writing three movies, a
half-hour special for Comedy Central I’m taping in November,
“Community,” my third rap album, and creating a replicant to do the
first three things at the beginning of this sentence.