Mindy Kaeling, India, New York discussed on Fresh Air
That's friends without the our best fiends. Let's get back to my interview with Mindy Kaeling. She Co created and is the main writer of the new series. Never have I ever which just started streaming on. Netflix DRAWS. Some of her own high school experiences. It's about a sophomore in high school named Davey whose parents are from India. David is one of the schools best students but wishes she was one of the most popular. She's far from it. She's considered nerdy an attractive killing. I became known for her role on the office. As Kelly Kapoor she was also a writer and producer of this series. She starred in the series the MINDY PROJECT LAST YEAR. She started the movie comedy late night as the diversity higher in the writer's room of a late night. Tv show. She also wrote the movie when I interviewed you in twenty twelve. You mentioned and I don't remember what the context is. You mentioned that you're interested in the prejudices. That minorities have against other minorities. And you thought that that was a really good comedy era area and you work that into your new series in that. There's a an Indian woman who decided not to get the arranged marriage. She was supposed to have and she married a Muslim man and then they divorced and none of the women in this particular Indian community. WanNa talk with her because she had married him Muslim man. Is that an example of what you were talking about. In terms of prejudices. Some minorities have about other minorities of course in India in India can doozer not a minority but in America they are. Yeah absolutely. I think that is definitely an example of that. I have seen firsthand the racism that Hindus feel towards Muslims. Because of you know it's it's it's weird to inherit a prejudice because it's something that's based in India. You know because I think it's about Kashmir issues and issues. That table is in India. And then you're supposed to inherit them when you're When you're here too and so we that character felt Really true to my childhood. And my life of a woman who'd made a choice and then was a shunned because of it and what you find funny about those tensions. I find it funny because to the average white American. We're probably the same. The you know this is like to me. It's really narcissism of small differences to average American person looking at someone who's dark skin Indian Hindu person in a dark skin in Muslim person. I don't think anyone thinks there's a big difference between me. And as he's on sorry but his family you know he's I think atheist but his family is Muslim and his dad grew up in this same town. My Dad grew up in in south India but my dad's Hindu. So there's this you know the giant chasm for people who are Indian about about our different families but to the outside personnel. Both Indian as he's in mindy are they related to each other probably like that's I find that comical so for you and is on. Sorry it's more of a bond than a difference. Yes Yeah we've actually talked about it too. I think when he started on Parkson Rack and I had been on the Office. We got so many tweets where people said. Oh they should be together they should date and it was like why because reading to Indian people on NBC. So I think it's funny when our communities try to find lots of different reasons why we're so different when you know a majority of probably this country things were identical. Yeah so you ended up going to Dartmouth College You got your degree in play writing and then you went to New York and started doing. Stand up what was the comedy scene like than what year are we talking? This is I moved just before Nine eleven so this is the fall of two thousand one until two thousand four is when I was in New York so frightening time to start a new life on your own in New York. Yeah you know that experience being there for that it really. You know because we weren't able to use the subway. Even I mean if that post nine eleven New York was it was. We didn't have jobs so we would walk across the Brooklyn Bridge just after because we and we walked to the village we'd spend like an hour and a half walking from Brooklyn to different restaurants to try to get you know waitressing gigs. You know his twenty one. I don't know why I would think it felt normal but everyone else my age is doing the same thing so so when you started trying out comedy stand up comedy in New York. What was your material like? I remember thinking okay. I do not want to be pegged as an ethnic comedian. I shorten my name because Emcees for these comedy shows would have trouble pronouncing it and then they'd make a joke about my last name. What was that I never wanted to Line real name is Vera Mindy Choke Allingham and its Indian name and it's a long name and as a performer. These comedians would just butcher it and then be like I don't know what it is. Just this girl mindy and so I would go do stand up and I already felt like a huge distance from the audience just as a new comedian but then even more distance because it had been made so clear that I was ethnic. And then you know when you to comedy everyone from Albert Brooks you know Woody Allen. These are all comedians who changed their names and I felt it was the easiest thing for me to do ultimately it was really beneficial to to do it and it was something that I had like a lot of mixed feelings about but my parents didn't mind I talked to them about it and then I ended up shortening in it and I have to say and I say this bittersweet but I have to say it was such a help to my career tavern name that people could pronounce So you didn't WanNa do ethnic material. So what was your material like Really bad observational. Like poor man's like Jerry Seinfeld observations about New York and my life. It was honestly trying to be so many different things. I Love Jerry Seinfeld so I try to do material like him. I Love Sarah. Silverman's detracted immaterial like like her and ultimately you can't do go into Santa comedy trying to do someone else's act very poorly so I gave up doing it. I think only probably did stand up for a year and a half and even during that it wasn't a concentrated time I would go. Do Open makes once every two weeks. If the real reason I did it was. It was my only way to dip my toes into the waters of comedy. That was free and accessible. Because you couldn't just be like. Hey I want to go for Saturday night live. Can you just like have me come do it? And there wasn't You know programs in place to discover talent that were You know didn't necessarily look like what they already had. So it was. My only access was through. Stand up because it was accessible and free when you're in college. You had an internship on late night with Conan. O'brien how did you get that? I remember because this was Before twitter before instagram they had a page in the very early nineteen ninety nine the very early NBC website and it was little. I think it was just like. Nbc Dot Com backslash internships and. They had their list of shows. And you'd Click on it and then you would just send a fax. I went to the Kinko's in like an into Hanover. Have like a like a Kinko's open from nine to four and so I just printed out my high. My College resume which was less than half a page and I just sent it with a cover letter to this number and then two weeks later. We got a call on like landline. My dorm so it was. One of those things is hard. Remember nearly like you don't know that anyone received your resume. You don't know If you're ever hear anything back there's no you know receipts. I didn't you know an email or anything. So that's how I did it and I had to then interview. I had to go to New York to interview with the head of the intern program which was like a fifteen minute interview. But I got to go to thirty rock. That experience of going there by myself was the one of the most glamorous experiences of my life. But I wasn't in the raiders. Jim I got to interact with the raiders. I got to take their lunch orders. Not Dino deliver photocopies to them. But I didn't. I wasn't able to sit in the raiders in hero. Here how they made the show. Let me reintroduce you here. If you're just joining us my guest is Mindy Kaeling. She Co created and is the main writer of the new series. Never have I ever which started streaming on Netflix. We'll talk more after we take a short break. This is fresh air. The biggest story in the world is a science story and keeping up with all the latest corona virus research. It's a lot. So on shortwave. We translate the science you need to know into short daily episodes. Listen and.