Mindy Kaling “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)”


I’ve recently finished Mindy Kaling’s book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”. This not-so-typical autobiography actually embodies collections of random thoughts that come to Mindy’s mind and chooses to tell. As you read the book, you could definitely hear Mindy’s voice inside your head.

In the book, she does describe her passion and journey in developing her career in becoming a comedy writer/actress from filming short comedy skits with her high school best friend to co-writing a 2-woman act play with her roommate of entitled “Matt and Ben” and eventually becoming a writer for NBC’s “the Office”.  In addition, Mindy talks about her challenges with her weight and beauty throughout her life. For example, during her childhood, she recalls being made fun of being the fat kid by the school bully. Then later when she becomes a cast member of the Office, she faces another challenge of not being able to fit into a designer dress for People’s Most Beautiful magazine photo shoot.

My favorite part of the book is her sweet and star-struck moment with Amy Poehler. During one summer, Mindy had a one-time stint writing for SNL during the summer break of the Office. Although Mindy’s actual skit did not make the SNL line-up, she got to meet the infamous Amy Poehler. Mindy first thought Amy wanted to see Kristen Wiig since Mindy shared a small office with her. But Amy said she wanted to talk to Mindy and asked if Mindy was going to go hang out with the cast after work. Amy also offered warmly to walk with her. As you read this passage, you can tell that Mindy is genuinely in awe of her as she reminisce her admiration of Amy and watching her on Conan O’Brien’s show. She describes Amy’s laugh as “a warm intoxicating cackle”. She also felt that Amy, in that moment, became a mentor/role model to her as a woman in comedy. I hope in the future they star in a movie together or Amy makes a guest appearance on the Mindy project.

More on that subject, I also enjoyed Mindy’s breakdown of how women are portrayed in romantic comedies and typically categorized. Such examples include “the woman who is obsessed with her career and is no fun at all” (like Miranda in the Devil Wears Prada), “the sassy best friend”, and “the klutz” and “the ethereal weirdo”. Mindy bluntly says these women do not exist in real life and she indicates there is no happy medium among all these characters. They are always on one extreme side of the spectrum. When they are beautiful and drop dead gorgeous, they are total klutzes or sexy and kind of passive. When they are not pictured as “drop dead gorgeous”, they are serious minded and not full of emotion but eventually find their beauty. From reading, I could see Mindy’s determination in breaking all these characters in her show as well as other comics like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. On the Mindy Project, her character Dr. Lahiri has a serious career path, but that does not define her. She is also sassy best  friend who is having problems with dating and she can be a total klutz sometimes. In other words, Mindy’s character is not perfect but is portraying an everyday woman.

Finally, go read the book! It’s a great beach read or reading on the train!

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