Here’s the backstory: On her Hulu show, “The Mindy Project,” Kaling’s character, also named Mindy, trashes Booker and his district with the punchline “Cory Booker? I can’t believe he came. I guess anything to get out of Newark, huh?” Booker took umbrage, defending his state from the comedian, and then adding, “I still [heart emoji] U!”
The world would keep spinning on its axis if the slightly awkward flirtation stopped there. But, of course, it didn’t. Kaling responded that her character often “shades” stuff that’s actually cool, i.e., Jersey, and that the love was mutual.
Next, Booker, not content to let polite retweets lie, took it a step further by testing Kaling’s sincerity — inviting her to dinner in Newark. The photo op potential alone, people!
Kaling, who lives in Los Angeles, replied in the affirmative.
The back and forth continued (the PATH train’s official Twitter account even got involved), but no official date was set — at least not in front of the two famous folks’ 10 million combined followers. To say all this smacks of a publicity stunt would be an understatement. Within an hour, there were plugs for the state of New Jersey, its transportation system, Kaling’s show and even the ride-sharing app Lyft.
But don’t forget that Kaling, 37, has dipped her dating toe into political waters before. The actress wrote about a heavy texting relationship with a “well connected DC person” in her second collection of essays, titled “Why Not Me?” Things didn’t work out between Kaling and her mystery man, who the Reliable Source learned was then-White House aide Robert “Bobby” Schmuck, but the actress enjoyed her brief proximity to power, according to her book.
For his part, Booker, 47, the guy everyone thinks will give Kanye a run for his money in 2020, has been linked to several young women since stepping onto the national stage. In 2013, the senator was linked to entertainment lawyer Bianca Levin, and more recently he has been seen out and about with “Instagram poet” Cleo Wade.
So the prospect of Kaling and Booker going on a supremely awkward first “date” is very high. And the probability of them live-tweeting the entire thing? Even higher.