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Mindy Kaling and Stephen Colbert swap Late Night advice, like turning off your damn watch phone

Mindy Kaling, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

Thursday’ Late Show saw Mindy Kaling assuring host Stephen Colbert that, yes, while she did talk to Colbert’s writers in preparation for writing her own late-night talk show movie Late Night, they all said really nice things about him. And while a couple of big stars (in addition to Late Night, Kaling feigned humility about having two other TV series in development) are probably not going to be told the truth about each other by the people who work for them, Colbert was relieved that at least his staff didn’t use the opportunity of Kaling’s research mission to dish some dirt. Kaling herself told Colbert that, while her position as The Office’s “diversity hire” was “terrifying,” everyone at her first big TV writing gig was also super-nice. She did share the fact that her parents were especially happy for her when, as her onscreen alter-ego Kelly Kapoor, Kaling got to haul off and smack Steve Carell’s season-one vintage asshole Michael Scott in the face, but that was more of a parental pride thing.

As to whether her late-night backstage scouting paid off, Kaling said that the only salient element of working in a writers room that she didn’t include in Late Night was the seemingly universal and ravenous obsession with lunch. On her shows, Kaling has instituted a Wheel Of Fortune-style lunch destination picking system, complete with paid veto power and a free space where the lucky spinner gets to take home all the veto money. (Seriously, lunch—don’t mess with lunch.) All in all the interview was as charming and funny as one would expect from Kaling and Colbert—at least until Colbert’s fancy-shmancy robot watch went off right in the middle of Kaling’s heartfelt childhood anecdote about seeing Late Night co-star Emma Thompson’s famously radiant Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

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“Hold on,” Kaling blurted, holding up her finger in semi-pretend dudgeon as Colbert’s watch-phone (on speaker, no less) explained details about the status of Colbert’s frequent guest rewards at a major international hotel chain. “You’re rich! Why do you need an awards program?,” Kaling berated the blushing and abashed Colbert, who made a big, placating show of removing the offending device and stowing it in his desk. “I don’t even know, I’m in a movie with Emma Thompson, who cares?,” riffed Kaling, comically unmollified.

Mindy Kaling currently stars alongside Emma Thompson in some movie.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.