Recommended Reading: Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

The biggest praise I can heap on Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) is this: in the years that my book club – the mighty Page Against the Machine – has been meeting, this is the only book with 100% read through.  As in, all of us read it, all the way through.  That’s saying something, right?  And you can’t say that’s just because it’s a short, easy read.  We tried Russell Brand a few years back and two of us crapped out.  Probably because it sucked.

Kaling’s break came from putting on a play about the crafting of Good Will Hunting wherein she played Ben Affleck and her roommate Brenda Withers played Matt Damon.  The story of how messing around with her roommate became an option for a sitcom is a great lesson in doing what you love and letting success come to you, and it’s worth the cover price on its own.

I told you all that so I could share the part that made me laugh out loud.  Kaling isn’t cast as herself in the sitcom because the network only hires models “who learn their lines phonetically.”  To play the part, she needs to try out.

If you were ever considering sitting in a room with a group of actresses who bear a passing resemblance to you but are much, much thinner and more conventionally attractive, don’t do it.  You might think it has value as an anthropological exercise but it doesn’t.  I was sitting in an audition room with a bunch of girls who were the “after” picture to my “before”. . . This was how I found out that I could convincingly play Ben Affleck but not Mindy Kaling.

The problem with comedians writing memoirs is that the book often ends up being funny for a memoir, but not the non-stop hilarity the reader might expect from her favorite comedian.  Kaling avoids this problem by interspersing the highlights of her life with essays on things like karaoke etiquette and chapters like “These are the Narcissistic Photos on My Blackberry.”

The end result is as soothing and delicious as a strawberry milkshake.

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