Looking back on his early experience in the writers room, Donald says he was plagued by not only imposter syndrome but also daily nightmares.
“I used to have stress dreams every night where I was doing cartwheels on the top of a New York skyscraper with the other writers watching me,” Donald recently told GQ.
And Donald’s imposter syndrome was only made worse by the fact that he knew he was hired as part of a diversity initiative at NBC.
At the time, NBC allowed shows to add a Black writer to their writers room without it counting against their budget.
Donald says he was straight up told he was a diversity hire by executive producer Tina Fey — but there were no hard feelings.
“There is no animosity between us or anything like that, but [Tina Fey] said it herself…It was a diversity thing,” he explained.
“I didn’t know it was between me and him until later,” Donald said. “He hit me one day and he was like, ‘I hated you for years!'”
Despite the circumstances of his hire, Donald made his mark on the 30 Rock writers room and star Tracy Morgan says they all took notice.
“When I first read his writing during 30 RockI was like, ‘He’s got it,'” Tracy shared. “The things he wrote for me made me very funny. He got me nominated…twice!”