Mindy Kaling Says She Wrote Late Night After Being 'Diversity Hire' On The Office

Late Night Mindy Kaling walking on the streets of New York with a smile

Inspiration can admittedly come from anywhere, but there’s no substitute for writing what you know. Mindy Kaling knows that for sure, as the story for her new film Late Night came from a very personal place: her time working on NBC’s hit sitcom, The Office.

Much like her character from the film, Kaling was once a diversity hire herself; and her progression through that experience informed quite a bit in how she crafted the narrative for the upcoming comedy. Recalling that experience, Mindy Kaling started with this:

I thought it was fun to actually talk about diversity hires in a really open way, because I was a diversity hire for The Office. I came up through the NBC diversity hiring [program]. And I used to be so embarrassed about that. I was so embarrassed that people would know about it. And I wouldn’t tell anyone. … The other writers will think that was the only reason I was hired.

In Late Night, Emma Thompson’s talk show host Kathrine Newbury hires Kaling’s Molly Patel in order to have her first female writer on staff. Which is exactly the position Mindy Kaling found herself in back in 2003, when The Office hired her as their first female writer on their staff, in addition to creating her memorable character Kelly Kapoor. Initially, as we see above, Kaling had reservations about such a reality.

But then something kicked in, something that also played a big part in Late Night’s overall story of a writer determined to use her newfound position to become a comedic force to be reckoned with. The story continues as follows, per Mindy Kaling’s interview with Yahoo:

What I didn't realize then was that it wasn't something to be ashamed of, that this really great organization was giving me something that other people have born access to, and I won't ever be embarrassed about it again.

You can’t argue with that sort of outlook, as Mindy Kaling would go on to create her successful sitcom The Mindy Project, as well as move into a feature film career that saw roles in Inside Out, A Wrinkle In Time, and of course Late Night. That last film’s worth repeating as it nabbed one of the highest sale amounts when it was purchased at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Of course, Kaling is still in the TV game, most recently taking part in a pretty shocking guest spot on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. So while the success in the world of films has been pretty good to her, she’s still proving loyal to the medium that gave her such a momentous start. Which should also serve as a warning to anyone who works with this fun loving prankster/creative force in the near future.

Late Night opens in limited theaters this Friday, with a wide release set to take place on June 14th.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.