Hey Mindy Kaling: Call Me

Photograph by Autumn DeWilde

If I enumerate my Boston-based crushes over time, my list looks something like this: In my adolescence, it was Donnie Wahlberg at his NKOTB finest, he of tough-guy stature and questionable singing prowess. In my college days, I could often be found pining over Matt Damon, watching and re-watching Good Will Hunting on VHS while waiting for a handsome genius to show up on my doorstep. After college, I became smitten with the another brother in the Wahlberg clan, if for no other reason than the fact that Mark Wahlberg’s performance in The Departed alongside Alec Baldwin completely stole the show (though Matt Damon was pretty damn crush-worthy in that too). But as I’m now married, I’ve turned to a less lusty form of infatuation. I’m totally girl crushing on Mindy Kaling.

Kaling, who hails from Cambridge and whose book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” was released last month, is best known for her performance as Kelly Kapoor on The Office. But, as she demonstrates throughout the book — and is also quick to point out in a chapter titled ‘All About The Office‘ — she is far cooler than her character (she also would not fake a pregnancy for attention or text while showering). The book is a lighthearted collection of very funny essays that hearken back into Kaling’s childhood (embarrassing photos included), her peaks and valleys living in New York (for a period, she worked as an assistant for a TV psychic), and her glamorous position as a writer/actor/director at the NBC sitcom (“Our studios are at the end of a block with a gun parts warehouse, a neon sign store, and a junkyard. It is also a favored drag-racing street for competitive, bored Mexican teenagers. Take that Universal Studios!”)

It’s a great read, but I realized what made it all the more enjoyable at the very end. In a series of questions Kaling poses to herself at the conclusion of the book, as if to tie up loose ends, she asks: “Why didn’t you talk about whether women are funny or not?” This is a heated topic, one that’s gotten a lot of ink in the past year, particularly around the release of Bridesmaids. Kaling writes that her unwillingness to take on the topic in her book stems from the fact that she felt that commenting on whether women were funny “would be a tacit approval of it as a legitimate debate, which it isn’t … I try not to make a habit to seriously discuss nonsensical hot-button issues.” To which I say: Amen.

Mindy Kaling will be reading her book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” at the Harvard Bookstore on December 5. And yes, I’ll be there, trying to make eye contact.