In 2011, Mindy Kaling wrote an essay that was published in The New Yorker that, all these years later, has kind of defined her work and career. I remember at the time, we all sent it around to each other – read this! so true! love it! she nails it! She really did nail it, but what it really was, for Mindy, was a blueprint or, rather, a baseline from which she could build.
The essay was about rom-coms. Mindy, famously, loves rom-coms. Long before rom-coms made their resurgence, Mindy Kaling was one of the few people with a platform out here crusading for them, not embarrassed by them, able to see their value, their potential.
So what did she do? She dreamed it, and she did it. The Mindy Project “redefined the rom-com” on television. But Mindy wrote in The New Yorker that her biggest dream has always been to write movies. So she wrote a movie called Late Night, opening in a couple of weeks, in which she stars alongside Emma Thompson, that’s also a rom-com, a romantic comedy about falling in love at work with work, literally your own work.
Everyone I know who’s seen Late Night, people with different taste, from different backgrounds, they are all very big on Late Night. Even Toronto film critic Radheyan “Rad” Simonpillai, who I adore, and who we often tease because he hates everything, found it irresistible.
Finally got to see Late Night. It's excellent, a movie that doesn't feel like it's pandering to identity politics but fully tackling that conversation in the entertainment industry (and applicable everywhere) in a way that's nuanced, engaged, funny and sweet. Don't sleep on it.— Radheyan Simonpillai (@JustSayRad) May 30, 2019
This is what Mindy Kaling has been steadily building over the last decade. From The Office to her books to The Mindy Project to her new Four Weddings and a Funeral series to Late Night to more books (a new book of essays was just announced with Amazon), Mindy has been working her plan. And what’s exciting for us, the audience, is that not only do we get to consume the entertainment she’s been working on, we also get to study how she’s creating that entertainment. Obviously this is perfect for Show Your Work and I pitched Mindy’s new profile in Vanity Fair to Duana for our next episode. There are differences between the Mindy who wrote that piece in The New Yorker and the Mindy who’s being interviewed now in Vanity Fair. Mindy in 2011 wasn’t yet running her own sh-t. She is now power writer/producer/actress mogul. And what it took to get there is a story of its own.
Here’s Mindy at the Late Night premiere in LA last night.