Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

The Office writer and performer dishes up treats for comedy geeks in a bubbly memoir.

Photograph: Lindsay M Taylor

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Who wouldn't want to hang out with Mindy Kaling? Like the character she plays on The Office—airhead Kelly Kapoor—she's bubbly, funny and happy to discuss which 'N Sync member would make the best husband. Her scattered, frothy memoir is like a mash note to comedy nerds, tracing how Kaling went from quoting Kids in the Hall sketches as a teen to creating the satirical Fringe Festival play Matt & Ben in 2002. From there she moved quickly to being a Tina Fey--style triple threat: costar, coexecutive producer and writer for The Office. How? Hard to say; her rise is briefly portrayed as a series of lucky accidents, before she concentrates on such chapters as "Someone Explain One-Night Stands to Me" and the befuddling "Jewish Guys."

For all the funny lines—and there are dozens—the book is undeniably lightweight. It skims over the comedian's deeper feelings or struggles in favor of anecdotes about Amy Poehler and cracks about Kaling's childhood haircuts. She rightly refuses to stoke the "Are women funny?" debate, but while she's clear evidence for the affirmative, she skates by any discussion of her place in the comedy canon. Instead, she dishes about her BFFs and gets in some good digs at Hollywood inanities. And she spills on who she'd like to befriend: Beyonc. Bey would be crazy not to want to hang with her too.

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By Mindy Kaling. Crown Archetype, $25.