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Chicago Party Aunt EP Ike Barinholtz Dishes On How Mindy Kaling Influenced The Show - Exclusive

In the past decade, "The Office" veteran Mindy Kaling has stepped into the spotlight as a showrunner for multiple series, crafting a slew of TV shows both onscreen and off — and impacting a number of actors and writers along the way. 

Ike Barinholtz is one of those actors. He starred as Morgan Tookers in Kaling's series, "The Mindy Project," before taking on executive producer duties on top of acting in the show. Now, Barinholtz uses what he learned from Kaling and applies it to his own show, "Chicago Party Aunt." Like his time on "The Mindy Project," Barinholtz has a hybrid role — being an executive producer while also voice acting the character Mark in the animated Netflix series.

During an exclusive interview with Lopper, Barinholtz dished on how Mindy Kaling influenced "Chicago Party Aunt," both tonally in terms of writing, and even the vibe on-set and in the writers room. He also revealed what role he'd love for her to take on his show.

Emulating The Mindy Project

When asked if there's anyone Barinholtz worked with from other roles that he'd love to see on the show at some point, the actor was quick to praise his former co-star and boss, Mindy Kaling. "Well, yeah. I would say Mindy for both. While I had never done an adult animated show before, at its core, we wanted it to kind of feel familiar enough — where it does still feel a little bit like a sitcom." And Kaling's impact on the show certainly feels tangible.

"Having spent six years on 'The Mindy Project' and the writing and producing side of it, I really kind of just stole exactly what Mindy taught us and found that's really kind of the best way to break stories — whether you're doing a live-action or a comedy," he added. "And I would love to see her on the 'Chicago Party Aunt' [...] I would love to see her energy go up against a Diane's." 

Now, that would certainly be a fun ride.

Mindy Kaling has the best snacks

Barinholtz explained how his EP duties changed from a live-action show to an animated series and if he learned anything from producing "Mindy" that he took to this role, saying, "A big part of the learning curve from going from live-action to animation is patience. When you're shooting the 'Mindy' show, you're breaking the stories a few weeks in advance. But by the time you have a table read, you're shooting it a couple of days later. And then you're seeing a cut of it a week later."

He added, "So it's all very accelerated and fast. And in animation, we try to bring the same energy to that, but do it in a way where you can maintain it over, literally, a several-year period of time. And then I think just story-wise, I had a lot of fun in the 'Mindy' room, but I just thought the way that Mindy and Matt Warburton [...] broke stories in that room, it was just very fruitful." Who wouldn't want to hang out in Mindy Kaling's writing room?

"And so we try to impart a lot of that into our room and to really, really spend time early on talking through these stories that are going to make up the episodes, to make sure that they're rich and that they have heart and they kind of touch a lot of the cue zones we're all looking for," Barinholtz continued. "That's something I took from 'Mindy.' Also, we had pretty good snacks before COVID, and that's another thing we took from 'Mindy.' We staffed the room as good with good treats for our little fingers." 

So, party in the "Chicago Party Aunt" writers room? Fans can binge the first season of "Chicago Party Aunt" on Netflix now.