‘The Office’: Mindy Kaling Came in Early Even When She Didn’t Have Work

While fans of The Office know Mindy Kaling as the actor who hilariously played customer service rep Kelly Kapoor, she did much more than that. Kaling was also one of the original writers of the hit show. She penned fan-favorite episodes including “The Injury,” “Classy Christmas,” and “Niagara.” In later seasons, Kaling also served as one of the show’s executive producers.

Considering that Kaling wore so many hats during her tenure on The Office, it’s no surprise that she worked exceptionally long hours.

The Office stars Mindy Kaling and John Krasinski as Kelly Kapoor and Jim Halpert
Mindy Kaling and John Krasinski | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Mindy Kaling explains why she put in long hours on ‘The Office’

Many TV and film actors work long days, averaging 10 to 14 hours. However, because Kaling was also a writer, she often worked 18-hour days on The Office. If she wasn’t filming a scene, she didn’t have to be on set until around 10 a.m. But on the days she was filming, she was expected to be on set at around 6 a.m. And no matter when her day started, she usually wouldn’t leave set until close to midnight.

Of course, Kaling’s long hours weren’t always required. The actor often volunteered to stay late because she didn’t want to miss out on any potential opportunities to contribute to the show. Back in 2011, she discussed this choice with The New York Times Magazine.

“I’d rather be in the [The Office] writers’ room complaining about how overworked I am than in the Bahamas, where I’m like, ‘What am I doing here?’ By Monday night of a long weekend, I’m getting stir-crazy.” Kaling admitted. “Oftentimes, the show runner will be like: ‘Hey, we don’t need everybody to stay. Who wants to leave?’ I have never volunteered. What if this is the time when they make some great discovery or there’s this great line of jokes and I would have not been a part of that?”

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Why Kaling would always show up early and leave late

There were even times when Kaling would extend her hours despite having absolutely no work to do. In fact, the writer would often show up an hour before her call time and stay an hour late during the first year she spent working on the hit comedy series.

According to Kaling, this was a habit that she picked up from her mother.

“The first year I was working on The Office — and this is literally only because I saw my mom do this in the early ’80s — I would come in an hour early and I would always be the last person to leave,” she revealed in a conversation for Interview Magazine. “Sometimes I didn’t even have work to do! Because those kinds of appearances are almost more important than the work itself.”

Clearly, Kaling’s unwavering work ethic and commitment paid off for her. Her success has only skyrocketed since leaving The Office with more acting, writing, and producing credits.