Mindy Kaling: The New Funny (Indian) Girl on the Block
In light of her new sitcom, The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling is getting lots of buzz. For now, however, much of the buzz is about her being Indian-American. And while the multi-talent may hate that her race precedes her work, there seems to be no getting around it.
It’s one of the few things the 33-year-old has little control over. Completely unlike Kelly Kapoor, the pop-culture-crazed, ditzy character she played on NBC’s The Office, nobody sits Kaling in the corner. At 24, she was The Office’s youngest and only woman staff writer. She went on to write 24 hilarious episodes for the sitcom (one got an Emmy nomination) and climbed an eight-year ladder to executive producer before making the decision to leave the show. Last year, she took a stab at writing a book and earned the title of best-selling author for her witty and honest debut Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Her well-received offering and eventual cult-like following surely tipped the TV scales in her favor; shortly after her book’s acclaim, her show The Mindy Project was green-lighted. The great news came at a bittersweet time–Kaling was holed up in the hospital where her mom had just passed away from pancreatic cancer–but she forged forward with unrelenting drive.
This month, the Dartmouth College grad joins her funny-gal predecessors Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho, as one of the few women-of-color comedians ever to have creative control and star in her own show.
Her new Fox network goody, which follows the hilarious life of the hopeless romantic OB-GYN, Dr. Mindy Lahiri, is the latest gem to be added to her already impressive résumé. She will undoubtedly come to meet 1,000 new-jack showrunner problems, but if her past is any indicator of her future accomplishments, we’re sure Kaling’s work–right along with her cocoa Indian complexion–will shine.–Qimmah Saafir