Workplace comedies are a hearty perennial, and if there’s one person who’s spent her career sharpening and expanding the form, it’s Mindy Kaling. Most recently, the master of humor-izing paper sales and OB/GYN work fixed her sights on the world of late-night TV in the hilarious (and aptly named) Late Night, which stars Kaling as a wide-eyed diversity hire shaking up an all-white, all-male writers room.
As research for the project, Kaling met with actual writers from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, who, she told Colbert, were much more helpful than the aloof, lazy dimwits populating her fictional writing team. “I actually talked to a lot of female writers on your staff, and it was great to research that because all of my experience is in the scripted half-hour world,” she said while sitting as a guest on Colbert’s show. “It actually made me have a real newfound respect for you.”
Kaling has also alluded to drawing inspiration for Late Night from her time writing on The Office, a position she too acquired through a diversity program. Still, Kaling insisted, not everything from the movie reflects her experience. “If you watch the movie, they’re very unwelcoming to my character, but at The Office, those guys were welcoming,” she said. “But I was the only woman and I was the only minority on the staff when I started there. And it was terrifying.”