Mindy Kaling was born Vera Chokalingam (see the Kaling in there, hiding in plain
Kaling's career has the same kind of sneak attack wham-o power -- she might SEEM like she's just a secondary character on a long running sitcom to the casual observer, but she's actually a powerful screen and television writer, and, now, novelist, who acts quite a lot. Her own description of herself on her website (and every other website discussing her new book) is a perfect case study in comedy-a-la-Kaling:
"Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence, 'Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I'll shut up about it?'"
See? She's being modest, yet somehow bragging at the same time, and doing it so subtly that you begin to suspect that she might actually be the girl in the cubicle next to yours. And if she isn't, you kind of, sort of, definitely wish she was.
Of course, anyone who writes and stars in a critically acclaimed comedy off-Broadway play in the same year that she graduates from freaking undergrad, well, that's not really your average girl-next-door. Mindy then continued her streak of ridiculous-successful-ness with guest spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Saturday Night Live before taking a job in The Office writers' room -- the only woman in a staff of eight -- and managed to get an on-the-actual-TV type of job out of it, to go along with the whole being funny on paper part.
Even her story about her worst job ever is cooler than yours -- she was a Production Assistant for Crossing Over With John Edwards. Remember that show? Where the guy talked to "ghosts"? Now, imagine being the poor kid who had to field the incoming calls from all the sad people who wanted to be in the audience. Wretched, right? But in a kind of awesome, best-story-ever-because-you're-Mindy-Kaling-and-you- have-all-the-best-stories kind of way.
Just the title of Mindy's new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), makes a person want to rush out and purchase it immediately. Mostly because it makes my inner (and sometimes outer) nerdy shy girl go, "Yay! I'm not the only person who feels paranoid about things like that." But also, because Mindy, in her blog, and now her book, really does speak for the commonly uncommon comediva. And, unlike the girl-next-door types whose faux-averageness make us all feel slightly less than average, Mindy makes us feel like average means being just like her. And since she's awesome in her own weird, yet totally cooler than everyone else way, we must be too.
Order your copy of Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) today!