Most people know Mindy Kaling as the 3rd string character, Kelly Kapoor from the US sitcom The Office. Oftentimes, Mindy’s onscreen persona almost disappears behind the much brighter stars of Steve Carell, John Krasinski , Ed Helms, and the like. But if you love The Office, it is inevitable that you already love Mindy Kaling’s writing and humor. After all, Mindy either wrote, produced, or directed over 120 episodes of the much-loved comedy series.
In her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Kaling opens up her own personal life experiences to reflect upon them with a dry and ironic sense of humour. As we take a bus tour through her life, Kaling stands at the front of the centre aisle, guiding us through her experiences of babysitting, sports, friendships, and — of course — writing comedy. You’ll learn how she got discovered as a comedy writer, of her stint at Saturday Night Live with Amy Poehler and Kristin Wiig, and get a backstage pass to her experiences working at The Office since she was 24.
But it’s not all showbiz! Not by a long-shot. There’s actually a very large portion of mundane and seemingly random regular life sections in this book. She talk about stuff like ultimate frisbee, The Cheesecake Factory, and the responsibility of “karaoke étiquette”. In fact, the most delightful parts of this book are the moments where you recognise situations that Mindy describes to be similar to your own life. These are the times when a small smile will form on your face as you think to yourself, So I guess my life is funny too!
While Kaling does bring the humor in droves, she also mixes in some solid advice from her own life experience. A section called “Don’t peak in high school” focuses on how you should be having your best days now or in the future, rather than as a memory of your teenage past. As the author puts it, “Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful.”
This useful information is blended in with concepts like how one should “never weigh closer to twice a friend’s weight then to her actual weight.” Apparently, this is Mindy’s secret to staying a little chubby without becoming a full-on fatty. By the way, there is also a section that defines the different terms that can be used to describe fatty-ness (chubby vs. portly, etc.) The advice Mindy provides is is always unique. As she puts it, “…they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face — who will love them now?”
If you liked The Office, Kaling’s new show The Mindy Project, or even Tina Fey’s recent Bossypants book, pick up Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). You will you be entertained. Or at least your twenty-something niece will be… maybe get one for her too.