Liberal Arts Blog — Mindy Kaling: Is She Really Funny?

Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Miscellaneous Day

Today’s Topic: Mindy Kaling (1979 — ) is she really funny?

Last week, Whoopi Goldberg. Two weeks ago, Lucille Ball. I don’t think anyone would quarrel about including either on a list of the funniest humans ever. But what about Mindy Kaling? I had heard a lot about her. My daughter and her friends loved her and found her absolutely hilarious. Then I went to my nephew’s 2018 graduation from Dartmouth and I saw on the program that Kaling was the commencement speaker! I was thrilled to get the chance to find out what all the hype was about. She did not disappoint. She was really good. So, today, I decided to do a little research and report back. Good news: I found some funny lines, some words of wisdom. and an interesting life story. But I could not find a clip remotely as funny as I was hoping for. If you are a big fan and have a favorite clip to share, by all means, do. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE, FRIENDSHIP, REVENGE

1.”There is no sunrise so beautiful that it’s worth waking me up to see it.”

2. “One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”

3. “You should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face — who will love them now?”

NB: “Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MUSING ON THE TRUE MEANING OF JUSTICE AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF SUCCESS

1. “Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete.”

2. “Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life.”

3. “What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”

NB: “People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them. But when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.”

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

1. Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam in Cambridge, Massachusetts the year her parents, both of Indian descent, immigrated to the US from Nigeria where they had met at a hospital where her mother. a Bengali, was an obstetrician/gynecologist, and her father. a Tamil, was an architect.

2. She attended the prestigious private school Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge before going to Dartmouth where she edited the humor magazine. Upon graduation she co-wrote an off-Broadway play called “Matt and Ben” — a spoof of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. She played Ben. The play was rated one of the “Top Ten Theatrical Events of the Year” (2002) by Time magazine.

3. At age 24. she was hired in 2004 by Greg Daniels of “The Office” as a writer-performer, the only woman on a staff of eight. “She’s very original … If anything feels phony or lazy or passé, she’ll pounce on it.” (Daniels)

NB: The rest is history: the Mindy Project (2012–2017), Champions (2018), Four Weddings and a Funeral (2019), Never Have I Ever (2020). Plus two autobiographical memoirs on the New York Times Best Seller List: “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” (2012, 5 week) and “Why Not Me?” (2017, 16 weeks)

Mindy Kaling

The Mindy Project

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Why Not Me? (book)

2018 Commencement Address by Mindy Kaling ’01

For the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

So what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? or your favorite joke? Or what is your famous holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare? Anything miscellaneous to share from anywhere? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes?

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.

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