(3 of 3)
After pancakes, Kaling drives her red Mini around the corner to her house, a single-story, Spanish-style stucco building with a fountain in front, on a modest street in West Hollywood. She lives there alone, fending off occasional intrusions from a neighbor who dumps his garbage in her trash cans.
"I went out there and was like, 'Excuse me, those are my trash cans,'" she says. "And he said, 'You are a single woman--how much trash can you make?'" (Actually, Kaling has a boyfriend, Web analyst David Harris, and divides her time between his place and hers.)
She points with some pride to her laundry room, a small nook off the kitchen with a gleaming red washer and dryer. (Doing laundry, she says, gives her a sense of calm.) She is also pleased with her personal gym, built in a converted garage and seemingly fitted with every type of exercise machine ever sold on late-night television.
Her office is in a state of chaos because a carpenter is building her a shoe closet that will take up half the room--she has several hundred pairs of shoes, many of them littering the floor of her bedroom. (An ancillary to Kaling's Office fame is her identity as a passionate shopper. Her blog, the Concerns of Mindy Kaling, functions as something of a daily fashion update; a typical recent post begins, "There's a specific kind of agony that is losing your makeup bag.") She works primarily in her bedroom, taking her laptop into bed; on one wall is a corkboard covered with colored index cards cataloging various Office plot points and scribbled jokes. ("Erin steals tip jar--looks to camera--what're you gonna do about it?" "Stanley gets mad at Jim for lying about client fight." "Darryl shows up in a tuxedo.") "I'm obsessed with working," Kaling says. "I'm an overachiever, and I'm very competitive."
She walks back through the kitchen to the dining room and sits at a vast table that seats 12 in huge, brightly colored wing chairs. Then the power goes out. That's been happening lately, she says. It just kind of goes out for a while.
It's late afternoon--twilight--and Kaling sits there a few moments in the semidarkness, looking around and nodding. Then the lights come back on. In the kitchen, you can hear the refrigerator starting up again.
"There it goes."
Work and home have always been Kaling's twin refuges, ever since she was writing her first comedy bits in her parents' basement in Cambridge. Her next project is, in a way, about her mom: a pilot for NBC about an obstetrician-gynecologist.
"I've never really thought I could write much about my parents. I'm kind of in awe of them. But my mom had so many funny stories over the years, and I think there is something inherently funny about being an ob-gyn," Kaling says. "Plus, I think women would totally buy me as an ob-gyn."
Kaling would be the star and show runner, making all the key decisions about characters, story lines and casting. She'll also be the primary financial beneficiary if it's a hit. "For the first time in a long, long time--since Matt & Ben--with this show, I get to eat what I kill," she says.
Then she laughs. "God, that doesn't sound very funny."
Only she says this with her new lisp, which actually makes it sound pretty funny.