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Interview with Mindy Kaling of "The
Mindy Project" on FOX 3/28/13
FBC PUBLICITY: The Mindy Project Conference Call
March 28, 2013/10:15 a.m. PDT
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by.
Welcome to The Mindy Project conference call. At this time
all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will
conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be
given at that time. (Operatorís Instructions) As a reminder,
this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to your host
Angela Yang. Please go ahead.
A. Yang: Thank you. Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Mindy
Project conference call with series star, creator and
executive producer Mindy Kaling. Just a quick update, there
will be two all-new episodes of The Mindy Project airing
next week. The first episode entitled, ďMy Cool Christian
BoyfriendĒ will now air on Tuesday, April 2 at 9:30/8:30 CDT
and the second episode entitled ďPretty ManĒ will now air on
a special night on Thursday, April 4 at 9:30/8:30 CDT after
American Idol and New Girl.
So without further delay, Greg, we will now open lines for
Moderator: Okay. Our first question comes from Jamie
Steinberg from Starry Constellation.
J. Steinberg: Hi, itís such a pleasure to speak with you.
M. Kaling: Hey, Jamie, howís it going?
J. Steinberg: Great. Honor to speak to my girl crush.
M. Kaling: I love it. I saw that you tweeted on me and I was
very excited to talk to you.
J. Steinberg: Well thank you so much for your time. Just
wondering, you have such a great dynamic with all of the
cast on the show, but you have a cuter dynamic sometimes
with your brother Rishi. Is that based on your real
experiences of your family?
M. Kaling: Well, I have an older brother who is very
different than the character Rishi on the show, but I just
love Utkarsh who plays the character. I have a very like, we
immediately slipped into like a very big sister/little
brother relationship with him and I like how his
characterÖhe just always calls me ďwoman.Ē Heís like,
ďWoman, what are you doing?Ē which I find very funny and
J. Steinberg: And it was great seeing Seth Rogan on not long
ago. He was wonderful chemistry with you, too. Can you talk
about some of the upcoming relationships youíll have? We
heard ďMy Christian BoyfriendĒ is coming up.
M. Kaling: Yes, well the great thing with Seth was that maybe
because he was also a ..performer, because we had like a
real ease with each other, which I loved, and Iíve known him
since I did ď40 Year Old VirginĒ, Iíve known for a long
time, but heís just so, he just has, heís so natural, which
is wonderful. And this ďMy Christian Boyfriend,Ē the next
big boyfriend or after Öwas on the show workaholicÖ Seth,
and he is doing kind of a big arc playing this really funny
character, like this minister that has like a lot of
swagger. Itís almost like itís a minister with a party
promoter in Vegas kind of, and he has like celebrity friends
and mobies in the episode. So thatís on Tuesday we meet him
and I just see him and Iím like have this, like the raciest
relationship yet. So itís a very funny dynamic to have that
with a Christian minister.
ÖisÖĒWorkaholicsĒ, which is a show that probably theyíre in
different demographics for our show. Itís a show my writers
all really loved and I love a lot. Itís really clever. The
cast is amazing on that show. Honors is a writer/performer,
which I love. I mean, heís so much fun to hang around with
onset and we fight a lot in a way thatís like really fun,
and we have a great time.
J. Steinberg: Well, I have to tell you, when you were first
geeking out over Homeland, I was like I will send you the
M. Kaling: Itís hard to get those DVDís.
J. Steinberg: Yes, Iím sure you have, but what are some of
the other great shows you that follow?
M. Kaling: The shows that I follow? Homeland is wonderful.
Iím really looking forward to the last season of Breaking
Bad. Thrones, Iím dying for it to start. Iím waiting for
Sunday for that to start up again.
I reallyÖ.cinematic shows. I think when you come into
comedy, youíre attracted to things that are kind of the
opposite. So I like Ö and yeah, comedy wise, I love
Workaholics, I love Ö, I love Saturday Night Live since,
like the ones that I donít miss.
J. Steinberg: Well hopefully youíll get to host someday soon.
M. Kaling: I would be too nervous.
J. Steinberg: Thank you.
Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Lori
Rackel from The Chicago Sun Times.
L. Rackel: Hi, Mindy. Thank you for talking to us. I wanted
to ask about Ike Barinholtz and if you can talk a little bit
about what he brings to the show and a little bit about his
evolution. I believe he started as a writer and youíve
increasingly bumped up his role. So could you talk a little
bit about him?
M. Kaling: I like to really attracted to Ike coming on to the
show because he is a writer/performer in a way that I was
used to, like B. J. Novak and Paul Lieberstein on the
Office. I like being on set with other writers and actors. I
think it makes the whole process more fun and more
efficient. Heís also a great improviser. So I had seen him
on Eastbound & Down and in that he was playing a Russian
pitcher and a total jock. In this show heís playing a very
different kind of character, like an earnest nurse who is an
ex-con. But heís kind of like, he comes out of a defacto
onset producer Öall the time and weíve had to write jokes in
between takes and do little rewrites for the Ö.
His dynamic with me is huge. Heís now become one of my
closest friends and heís just a wonderful guy who loves
working, he loves working and understanding the show with
like a female lead, as he loves women and heís like such a
feminist. So heís been great.
Moderator: Your next question comes from Henley Woodman from
H. Woodman: Hi, Mindy. Two questions. One, when will you be
back in the Boston area? And also an Office question. What
part will Kelly play in the finale?
M. Kaling: Sure. Iím hoping to come, we have a hiatus for the
next two months. Iím hoping to stop by Boston for family in
May; Iím going to do like an East Coast trip there.
Actually, I was just there for a brief time like about a
month ago, and that was pretty awesome. And yeah, itís going
to be one of the prettiest times of the year, I think. Iíd
love to come back then.
And, letís see, Kelly in the finale, I shot for a day the
finale and I canít say too much about it except that it is a
nice unexpected reunion with Ryan, with, thereís a very
satisfying and dramatic ending for the two of them.
Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Greg
Archer from Huffington Post.
G. Archer: Hi, Mindy. Congratulations on everything.
M. Kaling: Thank you.
G. Archer: Iím curious, since you write, since you do comedy,
since people dig you for comedy and writing and since
Entertainment Weekly voted you one of the ten funniest women
in comedy, Iím curious, growing up or as you were sort of
forming your creativity and where to put it, who inspired
you in the comedy realm and the writing realm?
M. Kaling: You know, when I was little, my parents used to
listen to like a lot of Nichols & May. Öand things. And so
before I even knew what they looked like, Elaine May and
Mike Nichols were big inspirations to me. Later that kind of
like conversational, writerly way of being, as a performer
writer, is something I have always thought was awesome. John
Cleese and Fawlty Towers I always really admired. And even
in my 20ís, sometimes you donít think of people who are your
own age as inspiration, but like Seth Rogan has been so,
heís such a good writer and heís such a great performer, and
he doesnít look like your typical kind of leading man and
heís just so charming and everyone gets such a big crush on
him and I think heís been very inspiring.
And now, I mean, this isnít strictly a crush on like Iíd get
very tired by like people nearer to me, like Simon Ö and Ö.,
two fantastic writers and just really, and is just a
G. Archer: What do you love most about writing comedy?
M. Kaling: I love that it is, the experience of writing
comedy is like itís very similar to the experience of
enjoying comedy, which is when you have a thought that is
funny, itís like it makes you laugh when you think it up, so
itís like watching a very funny movie with long boring in
betweenís when youíre not thinking up funny stuff. But itís
one of the only jobs where the outcome is the same as the
process of making it. So thatís a great thought, thatís a
great part of the job.
Moderator: Your next question comes from Julie Friedman from
J. Friedman: Hi, Mindy. I have two questions for you. The
first is, how much of what you wear on the show is what you
would wear in your own everyday life? And the second is, how
involved are you with picking your wardrobe on the show?
M. Kaling: These are questions I love. Thank you for asking
me that. I could talk about my wardrobe for five hours if
you need me to. No one would necessarily care, but I love
I am very involved with the look of the show and Iím lucky
because I have a very collaborative designer, Al Perez, who
is awesome. He pays such attention to fit and tailoring. I
donít think Iíve had a single item of clothing, whether itís
from a store in the mall or itís like Gucci that has not
been tailored within an inch of my life, heís so in to
making it fit me exactly, which I love.
ÖI think is a little, her taste, thereís a huge overlap in a
lot of things we wear. I think sheís a little bit more
colorful, preppy and girlie than I am, although I love
girlie stuff now and again. Whereas the character might wear
much more like layered prints over other prints and be a
little bit offbeat, me, personally, Mindy Kaling, I used to
live in pretty much like Helmut and Club Monaco and flat
stuff, what I wear every day. So my wardrobe is a little bit
Although me, personally, I wear a lot more like hardware. I
love more like rock and roll, I guess, costume jewelry and
accessories. And leather, I wear more leather jackets and
things than my character does.
Moderator: Your next question comes from Joel David from Ö
J. David: I have two questions. The first is, you do a lot
for The Mindy Project and youíre kind of still shocked that
youíve achieved such great success. How do you handle all of
the attention that youíre getting from The Mindy Project?
And then the second question is, you obviously get to input
a lot of your own life on the show. Is there anything that
you were kind of hesitant to write into the show?
M. Kaling: Well in terms of handling the success, first of
all, thank you for saying that Ö Iím not, itís not that hard
for me, because in general if people recognize me, they
donít necessarily think Iím a show, they think they went to
school with me or high school with me. Iím not the kind of
person that people want to snap paparazzi photos of because
I live a pretty like boring kind of life. That said, also,
because Iím writing and acting on the show, I work so much
that Iím not really super affected by the show. Now that Iím
on hiatus, it will be more fun to see people and how theyíre
responding to it.
And as far as what I decide not to put in the show, itís
easy to be an open book when you have a fairly boring
personal life. So for me, Iíve had like three boyfriends in
my entire life. For me itís not that hard to be open about
I really try hard to Öwith my dad and my brother, and the
show isnít really about her relationships with her dad and
brother like all the time. So for me that would be something
that I would want to keep private, but nothing else, really,
because Iím single so I donít have a boyfriend whoís like,
ďOh, donít put that in the show.Ē
Moderator: Your next question comes from Christina Lynch from
C. Lynch: Hi, Mindy. Iím a really big fan. This weeksí
episode showed the return of Kemper, and I know you just
wrapped production on Season One, but are there any plans to
bring her back for Season Two?
M. Kaling: I would like nothing better than to work with
Ellie Kemper for the rest of my life. I love her. Sheís so
fun to work with. Sheís so naturally funny. Guys love her
and girls want to be her friend; that would be a dream.
Ellie, of course, she has a pilot Ö and sheís so busy with
various projects and things, that I donít know how possible
that would be, but there is just a complete open-door policy
for whenever she wanted to show up to do anything on the
show. I love her. Sheís one of my closest friends and it
would be great to use her as much as we can.
C. Lynch: And I know you said Öoutside you were starting to
write more books. Do you have any more plans about that?
M. Kaling: We wrapped, we really wrapped yesterday, so today
I have been like after I hang up Iím just going to go look
at my computer and stare at an empty page. But even with the
show Iíve been jotting down things that I donít necessarily
sit andÖessay ideas and things like that. So Iíve been
thinking about it kind of in the margins of when Iíve not
been working on this. But Iím really ÖhiatusÖ
Moderator: Your next question is from Robbie Coach from
R. Coach: Hi, Mindy. Youíre really great and I love you. I
was wondering, you are one of the first minority women to be
writing and directing and starring in a show on a major TV
network, and I was wondering if thatís something that adds
pressure to your everyday work routine or is it something
that you think about that often?
M. Kaling: Itís something that I think is more interesting to
other people than it is to me, only because Iíve only ever
lived in my skin and donít know what itís like to be
anything else. So for me, I forget sometimes, like my
trappings of what I look like all the time. But obviously
like everyday something reminds me of it.
Because of all the different pressures of my job since, you
know, Öand things, starting the show and everything else, I
try not to think about it because you think itís pretty
interesting and I think that I could get too caught up in
that or start to be self-conscious if I let is color how I
view things. Iíve had like, Iíve been rewarded by that line
of thinking and Iím just going to keep doing that.
I will say, it is very, very nice when young women,
especially women of color or Indian, say that Iím an
inspiration or that they never thought that they could do
that. That is really, that makes me feel really good and I
can, if that is, if you look to me as a symbol of that, then
Moderator: Your final question comes from Amanda Carter from
A. Carter: Hi, Mindy. Iím a huge fan of you and the show. So
my question is, thereís some weird sexual tension between
Dr. Lahiri and Dr. Castellano. Will we ever see that get
played out? And is it kind of dangerous or tricky to have
that type of relationship between two main characters?
M. Kaling: Well, Iím kind of sure that Danny and Mindy have,
when I watch it, itís very fun and unexpected, but because
the characters are so different from each other, I donít
think either characters have ever dated anyone like that in
their personal lives. And I donít know, every week we have
fun new guest stars and everything, and I like thinking of
the two of them and those terms, and thatís really fun for
our writers to think of that, but any guest star could come
or any new cast member could come on the show and
I think about on The Office, Ed Helms even a character until
Season Three, and then he was such a major force of the
show. So when I think of the show as a series and the life
of the series, I think what if somebody new comes in for
Danny, some really funny, great character for him to fall in
love with? Or what if some new, like that comes for the
Mindy character. You know? So I think itís one of the things
that people talk to me about, so I donít want to ignore it
and at the same time I just want to see what else is out
there since Östill so young.
And of course, like Iíve imagined what it was like cute to
kiss Chris, you knowÖ
A. Carter: Another quick question. Thereís a picture behind
Dr. Lahiriís desk thatís of Liv Lemon and I think itís Jason
Sudekisí character from 30 Rock. Was that given to you by
M. Kaling: Yes, when 30 Rock wrapped this season, Tina sent
the framed photo of Lloyd and Liz to put on our set as like
kind of a well wishes, like just as a gesture. Sheís such an
amazing inspiration for me and Iím just so, I love her so
much personally and professionally sheís amazing, and I just
thought Iím going to put it behind my desk in the show. And
I guess in the world of the show, Mindy Lahiri like knew Liv
Lemon or Liv Lemon was her patient or something like that.
But there is like a backstory, like a deep, deep backstory
that connects them that she thought she was her perfect
I like love it. I think itís so fun. Did you see it on the
show? I didnít know people had actually seen it.
A. Carter: I saw it on Tumblr, actually. Somebody clicked of
Tina Fey saying that she sent it to you and then they showed
it in the show.
M. Kaling: Wow, thatís great. Iíve got to look at that up. It
was my fantasy that Liv Lemon was one of her favorite
A. Carter: Okay. If I find it, Iíll tweet it to you.
M. Kaling: Please do. Thank you so much.
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, this conference will be
available for replay after noon Pacific time today through
April 3. That does conclude your conference for today.
Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T
Executive Teleconference. You may now disconnect.
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