'The Mindy Project' Stars, EP Take THR's Fall TV Poll

Mindy Kaling, Anna Camp and Stephen Tobolowsky -- joined by EP Mart Warburton -- tell THR about an affinity for "The Simpsons" writers, experimental theater and the need to punish "True Blood's" Michael McMillian.
"The Mindy Project"

The Mindy Project may have an affinity for classic comedies, but its cast and creators easily make for a real-life comedy of their own.

The Fox series, which premieres Tuesday, revolves around Mindy Kaling's title character, a young OBGYN struggling to balance her personal life with the demands of her career, where she must contend with a hunky doctor (Ed Weeks) and an egomaniac (Chris Messina) in an office complete with a lovable (and dysfunctional) staff.

The Hollywood Reporter's chief TV critic Tim Goodman recently wrote in his review that "Kaling completely delivers on the notion that her single life is a train wreck, but her belief in a fairy-tale ending keeps her relentlessly in the hunt." 

THR caught up with executive producer Matt Warburton, and stars Kaling, Anna Camp and Stephen Tobolowsky to challenge the comedic bunch to our Fall TV Poll, where they shared an affinity for The Simpsons, embarrassing credits and why a sports bra is key to Kaling's success.

TV REVIEW: Fox's 'The Mindy Project'

The Hollywood Reporter: Fill in the blanks -- if you like X, Y, and Z, you'll like my show.
Mindy Kaling: If you like Chris Messina's symmetrical face, romance and hard jokes, you'll like our show.
Matt Warburton: If you like Bridget Jones' Diary, When Harry Met Sally and Inspector Spacetime, you'll like our show.  
Anna Camp: If you like love, humor and doctors (laughing), you will like my show.

If you weren't involved with The Mindy Project, what show would you want to be on?
Kaling: I'd want to be the showrunner on Breaking Bad. I'd hire Vince Gilligan and have him replace me! (Laughing.) I'd just love to be in that room and coming up with stories for those characters. He's amazing.
Warburton: Frontline on PBS. I think it's the most amazing show in the world. Every episode is great.
Camp:I'd want to bring back Sarah Newlin and see what's going on with her on True Blood.  I want to know what she's doing right now because I think that she's royally pissed off! I've seen what Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) has been up to and I want to come back and reprimand him and make my presence known (laughs). The way he tied up Jason (Ryan Kwanten), I would probably have to tie him up somehow and then do some dominating!
Stephen Tobolowsky: It'd be good to be back on Glee, to finish up Californication; I've never been on but would love to be on The Office. Rainn Wilson and I did a movie together and I loved working with him.

If you could scrub one thing off your résumé, what would it be?
Kaling: In college, I was in these weird experimental plays where I played the woman of Willandorf, which is an art history reference of a weird statue from prehistoric times. It was a very weird experimental play in college, that's what I'd expunge. It wasn't a comedy.
Warburton: That's a good one! When I played Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the fourth grade. I peed my pants a little out of nervousness, I'm happy to admit that to America at this distance. The only thing haunting me is the camcorder footage that still exists. I've got one of the only copies.
Camp: There is something that IMDb doesn't have a recollection of that I'm thankful it doesn't, so maybe I shouldn't say it. I'll tell you this: I was pregnant with an alien's baby and it was a movie. I wouldn't scrub anything that's on there off. I'm working my way up!
Tobolowsky: Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, but some wonderful things happened during that movie: I got to meet Sean Young, Harvey Fierstein, which was great. We had the best time in the world on that movie, we laughed so hard we made each other sick. I met some great extras on that movie, including a history professor. Hard to scratch that one off but I'd be tempted to (laughs).

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The most bizarre network note I ever received was …
Warburton: The most bizarre network note we ever got, at The Simpsons, was to change our parody of Viagra brand from "Boneastra" to "Jamitin" -- because that was less offensive somehow. That was one of our favorites of all time.

Three quirky essential things you need to write.
Kaling: My bed, I write in bed; licorice and my sports bra. I can't write in a regular bra. That's too much information but it's the truth. It just makes me feel casual but in control.
Warburton: Red, green and yellow Sour Patch Kids.

If you could add any one person from a current or past show to the Mindy writers' room, who would it be?
Kaling: George Meyer from The Simpsons. He's the best, the smartest and the funniest.
Warburton:John Schwartzwelder from The Simpsons. He's my favorite ever Simpsons writer and has written more episodes than anyone else. He's like the Thomas Finchet of comedy writing. Everybody wonders what he's up to. 

What was the funniest thing that happened while filming the Mindy pilot?
Camp: I had the last scene of the shoot and we were running overtime and we were literally getting screamed at to finish. While they were moving lights, I was saying my lines as they were shooting. It was a rush to the end. That was on the soundstage. In the office, when Mindy is being arrested, that was shot in like two seconds. And you can never tell, which is awesome.

If you could get anyone on Mindy, who's your dream guest star and who would they play?
Kaling: Danny McBride, I'd want him to play my boyfriend. I love his energy, he's the opposite of the kind of guy you see in a lot of things. Everybody is a hipster metrosexual with like a 28-inch waist and McBride is just a guy who owns it. He's so funny.
Camp: Betty White, I'd die to work with her. Everybody needs a gynecologist once in a while, so maybe Betty can come in for a check-up, that'd be awesome! I can't believe I just said that!
Tobolowsky: Stephen Hawking. He'd be my old teacher from school. On the show, I'm always saying these wise sayings that never make any sense. I'd be great if my old friend was Hawking so they thought that maybe I had something there.

The Mindy Project premieres Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9:30 p.m. on Fox. Will you watch?

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit