Which celebrity was most sought after at the pre-White
House Correspondents’ Dinner cocktail party hosted by Time and People magazine? I did not conduct a scientifically sound study, but based on the powers of observation, it appeared to be Mindy Kaling of TV’s “The Office.”
Plenty of Capitol Hill types wanted to snap photos of Steve Buscemi, Mira Sorvino, Bristol Palin and, to a lesser extent, “King’s Speech” director Tom Hooper (as a filmmaker he can fly more easily under the radar). But it was Kaling, who plays the vapid yet cunning Kelly Kapoor on the NBC series, who was immediately tailed by three reporters from the minute she entered the St. Regis Hotel.
Another journalist wanted to talk to her but wasn’t quite sure why. ”Have we met before?” the woman asked. Kaling politely said they hadn’t. The woman continued, “You look familiar. Do you work for People or are you a guest of the magazine?”
“I’m a guest,” Kaling said. At no point did she add, “Hello? I’m on ’The Office.’ You know, that show with Steve Carell? Or that used to be with Steve Carell until Thursday’s episode?” Instead the conversation ended pleasantly and Kaling demonstrated that she lacks any hint of ego.
And that’s when my brief conversation with her began. In a few quick minutes of party chatter, we managed to discuss the royal wedding, why Seth Meyers will “annihilate” as White House Correspondents’ Dinner emcee and what the heck is going on with Carell’s replacement. Here are some extracts from our chat.
Do you know what your shoes remind me of? (Kaling was wearing killer black high heels, which you can sort of see below.)
Kaling: Oh, nobody could give me a better compliment than that! She looked amazing. She’s super-pregnant, and she walks in these really dangerously high heels. She’s very thin for a woman as pregnant as she is.
Did you watch the wedding?
Kaling: I didn’t because I was flying here. I was going to. If I had been in L.A. I was going to have a party.
Did you DVR it?
Kaling: Yes, I do have it on DVR and I’m going to watch it. For the past two days, we’ve just been getting ready for this.
You haven’t been to the Correspondents’ Dinner before. How are you feeling about it?
Kaling: I’m really excited to see Seth [Meyers] rock this … From doing Weekend Update, he’s been preparing for this for years and I feel like when he does it tomorrow night, it’s going to be like oh, of couse. He’s just going to be a good fit. It’s his wheelhouse. I mean, he’s going to annihilate.
The last “Office” episode with Steve Carell aired Thursday night. Did you watch the broadcast?
Kaling: I was getting ready for this event ... so my mom and dad and I saw it at 11’o clock [Thursday] night ... It was weird, I had seen it ... and yet I still kind of got teary. I cried a little bit.
You weren’t in the episode enough.
Kaling: I was not in it a lot. Because I’m a writer on the show, when I’m not acting I’m in the writers’ room ... I obviously want to be in the show as much as I possibly can, but I was doing a lot of writing [for that episode].
Obviously there is a lot of speculation about who will replace Carell. Is there going to be an announcement? Will it be obvious after people see the finale?
Kaling: I don’t think it’s going to be obvious. I don’t think it will be obvious even to us until next year.
So you personally have no idea?
Kaling: I have some idea. I have some idea. The thing about TV, the turnaround is so short that we make a decision and we only know about it like two weeks before it airs. It’s not like a movie ... It sounds really disorganized and it is, to a degree. But there are definite plans in place.
But you can’t say what they are.
Kaling: I can’t. I don’t even have a deal for next year, actually.
Are you serious?
Kaling: As a writer, my deal is up. So I don’t even know if I’m coming back.Obviously I would love to come back...
I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t be back.
Kaling: Thank you. And I can’t imagine it either.