‘Mystery Team’ star dishes on the film Derrick Comedy

Published On:
Monday, November 16, 2009
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Derrick Comedy is not your average comedy troupe. With more than 150 million views collectively on Youtube and a huge collegiate fan base, the troupe shows no signs of tapping out.

After years of garnering controversy and laughs, they took their blend of offbeat humor to a new medium — the big screen.

The State Press recently spoke with one of Derrick’s key players, Donald Glover, about their new movie “Mystery Team.”

State Press: Anyone who is a fan of Derrick Comedy is probably aware of your role in the Internet short “Bro Rape.” How much of a “bro” were you actually back in your college days?

Donald Glover: (laughs) I was pretty much a nerd. I wish I was a bro, like, I’m sure they got a lot more tail, whether it be from “bro rape” or not. I wasn’t really into any of that. I was actually a big comedy nerd in college.

SP: Well, obviously you still managed to play an accurate portrayal on the online shorts. Transitionally, how was it for you going from the Web to the big screen?

DG: It was pretty cool, but at the same time hard. We were all really used to doing everything ourselves, but that’s just not the case with the movie. You have a crew, and there are some things that are just kind of out of your control, different from when our director is holding the camera and his little brother is doing sound and, you know, we’re all doing our thing on the fly. It’s definitely a very different experience doing a movie. … The process was definitely made easier because you had four friends around you.

SP: So, creatively, you still managed to maintain that previous level of freedom?

DG: I guess, like, in the sense of no one was not going to tell us to not tell a little kid to say f--- or the N-word. Like, that was refreshing to not have to worry about somebody saying, ‘You can’t do that.’ As far as freedom to be able to say, let’s pick this up over here, change this or shoot another day, there wasn’t really any of that.
All of that was out the window. It’s like we have a crew, and we are paying them by the day, paying them all this money. We’ve really never had to deal with that. All the Derrick shorts were basically free. It was just all coming out of our pockets, so that was definitely a change.
SP: For the movie did you also have the freedom to do all your own stunts? How did that go?

DG: (laughs) Oh my God, if you think we had enough money for stuntmen, you’re sorely mistaken. We had, like, no money. Man, everything you see is us. … There’s one big stunt in the movie, and that would be me. Let’s just put it that way. We did all the stunts ourselves, and everything had to be pretty much us, because we couldn’t afford it any other way.

SP: I also hear the film was just recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival. What was your initial reaction to them giving you the invite?

DG: (laughs) I was like, oh, there was a mistake. I thought, you know, Sundance was for movies about homeless guys getting cancer. That’s usually what that place is about, but for them to take us on, I was pretty stoked. We always kind of thought that “Mystery Team” was an unconventional-conventional film. I don’t think it’s necessarily a movie a studio like Miramax would make, but I do believe they would if the right person made it, and we were happy with that. We thought it was kind of the movie everyone wanted to see, but no one would make. That was kind of the mantra for a lot of us.

SP: Going back to the movie, I’ve heard comparisons to an almost “Napoleon Dynamite”-esque kind of film. Do you think “Mystery Team” can ever reach that kind of success?

DG: I think so. [“Mystery Team”] seems to be near and dear to people’s hearts after they watch it. They really do enjoy it, like I’ve never met anyone who was like, that wasn’t a movie. That’s all we ever really wanted. Just like our sketches, we were invested in it. This movie wasn’t something we made because we had the funds, because we absolutely didn’t. We made the movie because we really loved it. I think it could reach that level if everyone really liked it. It’s definitely a movie with a lot of crazy shit in it — you know, it’s kinda messed up in a lot of ways, but it still has a lot of heart.

SP: So after this film is released, what future projects are in the works for Derrick Comedy?

DG: Well, we talked about wanting to do a “Mystery Team 2.” I think, like, that’s all something we want to do but not immediately. Obviously there still is a time crunch for that sort of thing, because, you know, I’m not gonna be, like, 38 still dressing up as Jason.

SP: Lastly, why should ASU [students] see the movie? What can you say to all of the students?

DG: Well, it’s got boobs, sex, blood, craziness and it’s just a fun movie to go see with your friends. I feel like anyone who liked our shorts will definitely like it. It delivers; that’s all I can really say. If you’re into stuff like “Encyclopedia Brown,” but way more messed up, you’ll love this movie.

“Mystery Team” is playing in select theaters across the country, including Harkins Valley Art on Mill Avenue.

Reach the reporter at dane.jarvie@asu.edu.