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Jacob Smith: A modern-day renaissance man

Jacob Smith • Updated May 17, 2018 at 1:00 PM

When I was in high school, I saw what has to be one of the silliest YouTube videos ever made. 

The video is set in a classroom, and involves one student, who has an unfortunate bathroom accident in front of everyone, then pretends to be a new student out of embarrassment. 

It’s silly, yes, but in high school it seemed a lot funnier than it does now. 

This was where I was first introduced to Donald Glover, and boy has he come far since then. 

A few years later, someone turned me on to the television show, Community, a show about a group of people at a community college who all ended up there for various reasons, who come together and become friends. 

Imagine my surprise to find the same actor who had an unfortunate bathroom accident in the silly YouTube video playing one of the main characters in the show. 

After I caught up on Community, I went to YouTube to watch as many interviews and outtakes as I could, because I couldn’t get enough of the show. While doing this, I stumbled across an interview with one of Glover’s co-stars who was asked how Glover balances his acting and music career. 

I still partly thought of this guy as the guy who pretended to poop his pants on YouTube, so the idea that he would have a music presence was alien to me. 

I looked him up under his now-well-known alias Childish Gambino, and saw that he was getting a lot of attention for his music. A lot of it from people who had no idea he was also an actor, and not to mention an award-winning writer for 30 Rock. 

Glover left Community after playing his character for four and a half seasons to pursue other interests. I still wish he would reprise his role for a reunion, because to this day Troy Barnes is to me the funniest character Glover has played. 

Outside of acting, though, Glover has released three studio albums under the name Childish Gambino with plans for a third; he’s released eight mixtapes; he did a 30-minute stand up comedy special for Comedy Central; and he created, wrote, directed and produced the tv show, Atlanta. Atlanta received two Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmy Awards and an Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series award for Glover himself.

In the coming year, he’s set to star as Land Calrissian in the Han Solo standalone Star Wars movie. He will also voice Simba in the 2019 live-action Lion King adaptation. He even appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017 after an unsuccessful 2010 internet campaign to get him the lead role. 

In short, Glover is flirting with cultural icon status, if he isn’t already there. 

People often talk about his talent, which is no doubt admirable, but what impresses me even more is his work ethic. To work on two to three major projects all at the same time while also pursuing a music career had to take a toll on him, but he persevered. By doing so he went from a YouTube star who participated in silly videos to one of the most influential voices in entertainment today. 

Jacob Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.

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