The Netflix show "Never Have I Ever" was created by which South Asian-American writer-producer?
And the answer: Mindy Kaling.
Never Have I Ever is inspired by Mindy Kaling’s childhood as a first-generation Indian-American. Her career started as a writer and actor on the NBC show, The Office, after which she proceeded to become a multi-hyphenated Hollywood powerhouse.
Born Vera Mindy Chokalingam, Mindy Kaling has made waves in Hollywood since her debut on The Office in 2005. Before securing the role of writer and actress, however, Kaling studied writing and comedy at Dartmouth. While Kaling was at Dartmouth, she was a member of the improv group The Dog Day Players, an a capella group called the Rockapellas, she drew a comic strip – Badly Drawn Girl—for her college newspaper, and was a writer at the college humor magazine, the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern. Clearly, Kaling wasted no time.
After receiving a degree in playwriting, Kaling's first professional foray into the world of comedy was as an intern for Conan O'Brien. Kaling describes herself as “the worst intern that’s ever worked on the program.” According to Kaling, she spent too much time wanting to watch O’Brien, and not enough time doing her intern work. Honestly, Mindy, that's fair.
In 2004, when The Office producer Greg Daniels was working to adapt the show from the BBC TV series of the same name, he hired Kaling as a writer-performer after reading a spec script she wrote. Daniels reported:
"She's very original ... If anything feels phony or lazy or passé, she'll pounce on it."
When Kaling joined The Office, she was 24 years old and was the only woman on a staff of 8 people. Yet, this hardly deterred the young writer and star. Ultimately, Kaling and her fellow writers and producers of The Office were nominated five consecutive times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 2010, she received a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series alongside Daniels for the episode "Niagara."
In 2020, Kaling created the Netflix series Never Have I Ever with Lang Fisher, a comedy partially based on Kaling's childhood story growing up in the Boston area. Premiering on Netflix on April 27, 2020, the show centers an Indian American high school student, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, dealing with the death of her father. The series has been described as a landmark moment for South Asian representation in Hollywood, and has been praised for breaking Asian stereotypes.
Learn more about Kaling's influence and life here.