Q&A with Mindy Kaling

mindy kaling

Photo by Autumn Dewilde

As a writer and star on the hit comedy The Office, Mindy Kaling is obviously a very funny person. NBC agrees: It just signed the 32-year-old Cambridge native and BB&N grad to a deal that makes her executive producer on the show, and has her developing a sitcom of her own. On top of that, Kaling also has a new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), out on 11/1.

Hi, Mindy.
I just want to tell you I have a bit of a lisp ’cause I just got braces on the inside of my teeth.

I didn’t know you could have braces on the inside of your teeth.
I didn’t either, until a month ago. I had to get them on the inside because I don’t think we were going to write into The Office that my character got braces. I already have the voice of, like, an 11-year-old, so now that I have a lisp, it’s just taking it over the edge a little bit.

It’s still got to be better than having braces as a teen. In your book, you write a lot about your time in high school at BB&N. I couldn’t tell if you had a good time or truly hated it.
I love that school. I was a nerd, so I did well in school, but that’s not what I remember, that’s not what I think about. I think more about the injustices and things like that.

So what’s the premise of your new show?
I’m still working on it, so everything could totally change, but I’m writing a pilot right now for me to star in. I’m thinking of a Bridget Jones-y feel where the character is an OB-GYN, which is what my mom is. I may even set it in the Boston area, but I haven’t really decided that yet. I’m also going to continue writing and doing everything on The Office full time, so it won’t be that different than what I’ve been doing.

How are things different on The Office now without Steve Carell?

Steve had, like, 40 percent of the lines in the show. I’m writing a script right now, the Christmas episode, so all the other characters that people like are talking more. It’s been really fun to be like, Okay, well, if you guys are wondering about Creed, this is the season to find out more.

Is there going to be more of your character, Kelly Kapoor?

It’s not like we ever have this order to be like, Okay, make this the scene with Kelly, but I do think Kelly does get a lot more stage time now, just ’cause there’s extra stage to be had. I’m so sorry about my lisp — it’s so embarrassing.

You know, when I had braces, I thought the worst part was having to give up Snickers bars.
I feel you. They were like, You can’t eat carrots, you can’t eat steak, and I was like, Fine, I can give that up for a year and a half. But when I bit into a sandwich yesterday, it felt like my teeth were going to fall out of my face. My tongue basically spends its entire day lacerating itself against brackets, so it’s like raw hamburger meat. My tongue is so upset about this occurrence.

I know you’re a basketball fan, so I just hope you still root for the Celtics and haven’t been brainwashed by the poseurs out there in L.A.
People don’t like that I root for two teams, but I love the Celtics. My brother’s nickname growing up was Jo Jo because of Jo Jo White and my cousin’s was Hondo for Havlicek. And I freaking love Rondo — I follow him on Twitter like an idiot. But when I moved to L.A., I got my first floor seats for a Lakers game, and there’s something that imprints on you when you have floor seats for the first time when you’ve never ever in your whole life been able to afford them. It’s freaking magic. And this has been my home for the past eight years — this is where I finally got paid to do the thing I love. Boston’s my hometown, but L.A. is my home.

If we call up the Celtics owners and get you floor seats at the Garden, can we undo this?
Yeah, it definitely can be undone. If Kevin Garnett’s sweat gets all on me ’cause I’m sitting so close, I bet that could be the antidote to liking the Lakers.