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The friendship between Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak from their time on The Office has become a well-publicized phenomenon. From portraying on-screen couple Kelly and Ryan, the two developed a strong real life friendship and partnership that continues to this day. However, in the same way that Kelly Kapoor would torment poor Ryan, Ms. Kaling apparently made a frequent habit of torturing Novak by constantly feeding him lies on the set of The Office.
Speaking with The Guardian about his upcoming book deal with Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak chronicled how his writing partner would often make up lies to mess with him on the set of The Office:
And there was this director, this older woman who directed a couple of episodes, and Mindy told me I couldn’t tell anyone, but Greg Daniels, the showrunner, used to date this woman in college. And then Greg asked me what I thought of her cut and I lied to Greg and said I thought it was great, because I was nervous to insult his ex-girlfriend, so he didn’t make the edits that I wanted. And later I asked him about it and he was like, ‘What are you talking about? She’s 20 years older than I am, we didn’t go to college together!’ I realized that Mindy just made it up and it actually affected my work life!
It takes a special kind of sadistic to do that to a friend, and we absolutely love Mindy Kaling for her ability to consistently pull that off. For seemingly no reason, she would constantly lie to B.J. Novak in order to keep things interesting on the set of The Office. The lies even got to the point where he was afraid to provide creative notes to Greg Daniels – i.e. do his job – for fear that he would say something that he shouldn’t. Mindy is better at this than Kelly was at her job.
Mindy Kaling’s frequent lies to B.J. Novak came in many forms. Sometimes they affected his work like – like the above story – and other times they were inconsequential falsities simply designed to mess with Novak.
Like saying that Allison Jones, the casting director of The Office, was also an actress who had been the third lead in Cold Mountain. And so I just thought that.
Every friend group has an aggressor and a victim. Either you’re a Mindy Kaling or a B.J. Novak. Their chemistry very clearly came from a real place, and their creative partnership continues to this very day. If there’s one thing you take away from this entire story, it should be this: take anything Mindy Kaling ever tells you with a healthy grain of salt.