If you’re going to have a literary series in L.A. with an L.A. feel, it’s got to be lively, it’s got to be fun, it’s got to be a party,” Reza Aslan said Wednesday at the launch of Writer’s Room, his new series at the West Hollywood nightclub DBA. Aslan, the author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” might seem an unlikely party host, but he kicked off the event with a drink in one hand and a book in the other.
Aslan and his guest, author and actor B.J. Novak, took the stage at the packed nightclub to discuss books, the writing process and other literary topics.
“Why are you here, in a nightclub, talking about books?” Aslan said to the crowd. “Because it’s cool. That’s why.”
When brainstorming the series with DBA in February, Aslan said he wanted to create a different kind of literary event for Angelenos, one that strayed from typical book readings held at bookstores or libraries.
Excuse me, police officers of the Internet? We’d like to file an official complaint against Chris Messina for not grabbing our butts.
Yes, we chatted with The Mindy Project’s handsome leading man, Mindy Kaling and Ike Barinholtz on the red carpet at Fox’s Upfront presentation in New York City on Monday and can you believe the infamous butt grabber went an entire two minutes without trying to make a move?!
Of course, if you were cool and watched Kaling’s hit Fox sitcom you’d know that butt grabs are kind of Danny, Messina’s character thing. But we had to ask if all those touches that nearly broke the Internet were scripted.
And the truth can finally be revealed: Danny’s butt grabs are not scripted! (Are we going to set a record for how many times we can say butt grab? Possibly!)
“It’s a nice, kneading gentle motion,” Kaling said of infamous Messina’s butt grab. “It’s not against my will. It’s very tender, but it’s vigorous!”
And it seems likely fans will be seeing more of ’em when The Mindy Project returns for its third season as season two ended with Danny and Mindy finally getting together—sealing it with a makeout session (and butt grab!) at the top of the Empire State Building.
Mindy Kaling rushes into the restaurant loaded with so many bags it looks as if she’s playing the part of a frantic shopper. She immediately apologies for the venue, a glitzy sushi joint in New York’s SoHo that is, as she puts it, quite “Ashton Kutcher, 2007″ (she chose it as she’s staying next door). She’s been to collect the gifts she received at a book signing the night before, which include a fan-made T-shirt with her face on it and boxes of cupcakes.
“This is cupcake number three,” she says, sifting through her loot. “And there’s another one there. I think companies make a Venn diagram of people who like me and people who like cupcakes.” Some of the cakes have a winky face on them. “It’s so funny. It’s so nice. We did an episode of The Mindy Project where one of the lines is, ‘You can’t send a winky face, it’s like emoji porn.’ These are very photographable. This is why I like Instagram so much. It’s like Etsy exploded in my bag.”
B.J. Novak knows how to make grownups laugh, but now he wants to help parents make their kids giggle too.
“I would always read books to my friends’ kids when I would visit them and it struck me how much power the kid has over the reader. They basically just hand you a script and you have to read every word. I thought there must be something funny in that,” Novak explains to PEOPLE.
“So I thought it would be funny if kids saw [a] book as playing a prank on the reader and has them saying all these ridiculous and funny things.”
The result of the actor’s idea is his new children’s tome, The Book With No Pictures, which is already a big hit with his young fans.
“I’ve done live readings of my work for adults but I’ve never had a reading as boisterous as this,” the former The Office star says of reading his book to 200 kindergarten, first and second graders at a school in Queens on Thursday. “It was really, really fun.”
But the love doesn’t stop there. Even younger kids are appreciating his book though it has no pictures.
“My favorite response was a 2½-year-old kid I read it to. I thought he would be too young for it but I wanted to show his mom what the reaction would be,” says Novak, who released the book’s cover Friday.
“When I was done, I read him a very popular picture book that I thought would be more for him and as soon as we finished the picture book he pointed to The Book With No Pictures and said, ‘Again!’”
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
The Mindy Project (Fox)
Individual Achievement in Comedy
Louis C.K., Louie (FX)
Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project (Fox)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
The last thing a writer feels like doing on a day when it seems that everything is just out of his reach is bask in the glory of another writer who actually made it. Sometimes the days can consist of getting your ego beaten as if it owed someone money. Standing in the holy light of someone who made it makes the jealousy gland puff up like a spiny blowfish.
My day was one that felt like the last link in a long chain of serious ego beatings. A magazine editor rejected a whole batch of story pitches. Another was making my day even more frustrating.
The only project that did get an OK from my gaggle of editors was a review of writer and actor BJ Novak’s live book reading and talk at the Dallas Museum of Art about his new collection of short stories called One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.
He was introduced to the packed crowd by Will Clarke, the author of supernatural humor novels such as Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles and The Worthy. Novak strode out to the podium and immediately noted the size of the crowd and the venue.
“The size is terrific. That’s what she said,” Novak said followed by a wave of laughter and applause. “I’m contractually obligated to say that phrase once a day for the rest of my life.”