UPDATED with video: Mindy Kaling was awarded with the PGA Norman Lear Achievement Award on Saturday night at the PGA Awards.
The six-time Emmy multi-hyphenate, who broke through as a writer and star on NBC’s The Office, said, “Like most people, everything goes back to parents. I’m a child of immigrants and that unexpectedly became my secret weapon.” Her parents had championed her ambitions from the start, she said. “I owe it to my parents but also to luck. I won the lottery in mentors with Greg Daniels and Howard Klein the producers of The Office.”
She recalled that Daniels let her write and edit despite her lack of experience at the time. “I wasn’t even one of their nieces or someone who could potentially become one of their second wives,” she joked.
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She also thanked “groundbreaking icons like Norman Lear who paved the way for all kinds of people,” referencing the importance of inclusivity and the reason her production company exists, joking that it is “so exciting” to give artists of color opportunity, “and watch them get poached by Marvel.”
B.J. Novak presented Kaling with the award, and recalled their early days working on the “ill-fated American version of The Office,” when Kaling “cared so much” about every detail, including “Beyonce versus Rihanna” and “the correct tempo at which to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ There was nothing she didn’t care about.”
As Kaling laughed in the audience, waiting to come up on stage during the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, Novak, who is godfather to Kaling’s children, affectionately recalled their “boundary-less, romantic, toxic mess,” of a relationship, saying, “We were in love with each other.”
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