I’m just busting with news today. First up: your March pick. By a margin of almost 100 votes, Stella Gibbons’s delightfully English Cold Comfort Farm cinched the win. Our March discussion leader, RS copy editor Terri Schlenger, will check in later this week with a reading schedule and a hello.
And I also heard from Mindy Kaling, who wrote our January pick, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Mindy is back on set and busy filming The Office but selected some of our questions to answer (maybe propped up in bed wearing sweats?). Here are her thoughts on comic up-and-comers, parenting and success, and what she’s looking for in a husband. I think she may be onto something.
From reader Emily Rapko McEneny: My question would be, who is on your “ones to watch” list as up & coming influencers in the world of television comedy?
This is exactly the kind of question I love answering! Thanks for asking it. For up-and-comers? Well, he’s pretty established already, but I love the former SNL writer Simon Rich, who has written two hilarious books and is also a polite and smiley person in real life, which I also love. His accomplishments are especially cool because I think he is like 24 years old or something. So annoying! Hannibal Burress is a stand-up I love.
Big comedy influences on me, who are established and not up-and-comers, are: Craig Ferguson (love him so much, what a funny and dashing guy), Tina Fey (great writer, perfect complexion), Louie on FX (the most poignant, hilarious, and honest show), and Steve Coogan (if you’ve not seen I’m Alan Partridge, his British comedy series from about 10 years ago, you’re missing out so much). Also, I would do anything for Danny McBride. I think he is perfect.
From reader Kelsey Redd: Were you always funny, or did you have to spend time practicing your skills?
Hey, thanks for saying I am funny. Definitely not. Like a lot of professional comedy people, I went through an achingly awkward and embarrassing period in my pre-teens where my love of comedy simply manifested itself in repeating comedy catchphrases of people I thought were funny, in the hopes that it would somehow sink into me and make me funnier. Dana Carvey’s “Isn’t that special” from his Church Lady character sticks out.
From reader Isabelle Kafarela: I’m curious if following your dream as a writer in NYC required a lot of parental financial support. Would it have been possible with/without it? The reason I ask is to get an idea of the possibility without having parental financial support to follow your dream. Your book is inspiring!
Hey Isabelle, what a nice thing to write. I feel so inspirational. You better stop before I start giving motivational lectures around the country. Great question. So here’s the deal: My parents were generous and kind enough to pay my apartment deposit and first month’s rent when I first lived in Brooklyn. But I was extremely lucky because my best friend Brenda was from Long Island, so we stayed with her parents for a while, and then her older brother in Astoria, Queens. Also, when I lived with my two best friends Brenda and Jocelyn, we were able to split a low rent because we didn’t mind living in a three-bedroom apartment with no privacy. I would say: Find dear friends and cling to them when you move to L.A. or New York. You’ll need them for emotional support, and then they defray the costs of everything.
From reader Taryn Filomio: If you could work with any actor/actress, past or present, who would it be any why?
Wow, there are so many. There are a few actresses my age I’ve worked with that I’d love to do another movie with: Natalie Portman and Emily Blunt. Anne Hathaway melts my heart. Michael Fassbender, because he is gorgeous and intense, a great actor and looks like he parties until you’re scared—that seems fun, right?
I love Emma Thompson, Danny McBride, a hard-boiled Southie movie with Ben Affleck. I would love to work with Stephen Colbert on something, even though he doesn’t really act in movies. Penelope Cruz is so funny in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, I’d love to do a comedy with her.
Too many answers! I need to stop!
From reader Lisa Foster: What qualities are on your list for a suitable husband?
I’m in heaven answering these great questions. Lisa, here’s what I think would make a great husband (for me):
I’d want my husband to be busy. He should want to see me, but have his own exciting life. I think a husband should be basically a cheerful person. I used to think decisiveness was an important quality in a husband or dad, but my boss Greg Daniels is very methodical in his thinking and I think it makes him a great dad and husband. Most importantly, a husband should love your parents and family, and be into seeing them. I also think every husband should master the making of breakfast foods—that’s, like, a must. Egg sandwiches, pancakes. You get it.
From reader Gail: Mindy, I applaud your respect for your parents and am asking, because we never know enough, what we, as parents of potentially great achievers can do, to encourage our children (spoken of course from an unknowing child of great parents)??
Hi Gail! The fact that you want to know what good parents do makes me think you’re probably a really great parent already. My parents were just kind of strict and loving with us. We were scared of them and got the definite sense their time was more important than ours, like they were Dumbledore and we were first year Hogwarts students. Also, we had limited freedoms as children. I spent a lot of time near and with my parents, which only works because they were really fun parents. That was another key: They were very fun to talk to, and, boy, did they encourage reading. My dad took us to the bookstore almost every weekend to buy us books. That was huge.
From RS.com deputy editor Maura Fritz: What’s your favorite Kelly Kapoor line, and did you write it?
My favorite line Kelly has ever said is from season four when Ryan was the CEO (I can’t believe that was a story line). He comes to our branch and runs a meeting where he asks if anyone has any questions, and Kelly raises her hand and says: “I have a question. How dare you?” I think I wrote that one. My pal Mike Schur (who went on to create the awesome Parks and Recreation) wrote my other favorite line, it was season four as well, when Michael announces Brad Pitt has gotten into a non–life-threatening car accident (such a weird and funny announcement), and Kelly says: “It’s karma for what he did to Jennifer Aniston.”