Mindy Kaling answers ‘Night Out’ questions

Q. How did you come up with having Dwight sing a German lullaby to Ryan? | Sonni

A. Dwight’s lullaby was actually the lullaby our script supervisor, Veda Semarne, used to have sung to her by her Austrian grandmother when she was a little girl. Veda read the scene in Ryan’s bedroom, and came up to me with the German lyrics handwritten for Rainn to sing. It was cool and a little strange that we had someone on the crew who could identify with Dwight’s childhood. I have no idea what the lyrics mean, they could be something rather unsavory, but Veda seems normal enough, so I’m hoping they’re okay.

Q. What was the inspiration behind Dwight being the Ladies Man in this episode? | UNSHUN

A. I’ve always been fascinated by the type of guys who show no interest in a girl or are outright mean to them, and how that seems to drive girls crazy. Dwight may be a little too rule-abiding and wear ugly clothes, but he isn’t a loser. There’s something masculine about his farming side and I just thought he might be appealing to a tough jock girl.

Q. Who was the actor that played Ryan’s friend/drug dealer? | Fun_Run

A. Noel Potek is the actor who plays Troy, Ryan’s mysterious “friend.” If you have an eagle eye, you might have noticed Troy with Ryan in “The Deposition.” He was one of the shorter, also bearded, friends of Ryan. Greg grew quite fond of the character and so he reappeared in this episode, and may appear in some more.

Q. I’m big fans of LCD Soundsystem, The Faint, and The Rapture, and was surprised to hear all three in the same episode! Who chose the music to be featured in the episode? | Evan

A. Isn’t LCD Soundsystem the best? I was so happy they let us use “Tribulations.” I heard them at the Hollywood Bowl last year and fell instantly in love with James Murphy. That is one talented guy.

The song choices were the collected efforts of B.J., my boyfriend Ben (who is a musician), and our friend Danny Chun. Danny writes for “The Simpsons,” which already gives him mad cred, but also has the best taste in music of anyone I know. He was raving about Hot Chip and Vampire Weekend like fifteen years ago.

Q. When I came to visit the set last week, I watched B.J. film his ‘Night Out’ talking heads at the end of the day. Were those the ones actually used in the episode, and if so, why were they filmed just last week? | tanster

A. Hi Tanster. I remember you watching on set and feeling badly that the scene probably made no sense, and that you were sitting on our dirty floor. Sorry about that. We did a re-shoot for those talking heads because we had to adjust the content slightly when we saw the first editor’s cut. We often have to reshoot talking heads because unlike other scenes, we never “cut away” from the main action, which is simply a person talking (unless we have B-roll to use under some of the dialogue). Sometimes we’ll have a cut of an episode and realize we need some exposition, so we’ll quickly get an actor in costume and just shoot them saying whatever we need. Talking Heads are a great writers tool that way.

Q. Did you intentionally write your character the funniest line of the show, “Yeah I have a lot of questions. Number 1. How dare you?” | jmj

A. I never intentionally give myself the funniest lines. However, they often resonate as the funniest because of my gifts as a comic actor. Sometimes I try to give myself really drab unfunny lines so as to not steal focus, but even that doesn’t work because they always sparkle upon delivery. It’s hard.

Check out more Q&As in the Episode Q&A Archive. Essential reading for every Office super fan!


  1. Thanks for all of the answers Mindy! It clears up a bit from that episode.

  2. Best one so far! Thanks so much Tanster for arranging this and big Thanks to Mindy for answering our questions and being plain ol’ awesome!!!! You blow my mind grapes!

  3. This was great! I love reading about the insight into the episodes. Mindy is awesome too.

  4. Mindy, you write some of the best Office episodes! Of all the writers, I imagine you are the best at finding the fine line between believably hilarious and sitcom-ishly wacky. Thanks so much for your wonderful answers!

  5. I remember reading a lot of questions about Ryan’s coke habit and I notice she didn’t answer any of those… Any thoughts?

  6. I just wanted to say thanks to the writers for answering the questions and to tanster for arranging these Q&As. They are fantastic and I find myself rewatching the episodes after I read your answers to catch the little details that are mentioned.

    I hope this becomes a regular feature on Officetally :)

  7. Mindy rocks so much it’s not even funny.

    And I am loving these writer’s Q&A’s so much. Keep ’em coming, Tanster!

  8. Wow! My question was asked! It is so awesome and unbelievable to have a platform where you can ask a question to a writer/actor of a show that provides so much entertainment and laughter to so many people. Thank you Tan Monster. Thank you Mindy K.

  9. Yay! Thanks for answering these questions Mindy. (That was fast…)

    And tanster, boy do you have the ‘hookup…’

    Gimme more more more!

  10. Oh wow, I am still laughing from the answer to the last question! Mindy is awesome!

  11. The tune was the same as an old English one, so possibly it’s the translation:
    “Sleep, baby, sleep
    Your Father tends the sheep,
    Your Mother shakes the dreamland tree,
    Down falls a little dream for Thee,
    Sleep, baby, sleep.”
    Nothing too unsavory, but funny to picture Dwight singing that to Ryan! :-)

  12. Mindy really needs to get in touch with me about when she and I can embark upon our journey of BFF-dom together. She would get a really dedicated sidekick, and I would get to hang out with her and try to absorb a small measure of her awesome. We could go shopping or go to uncomfortably trendy hot spots or fight crime. Whatever she wanted.

  13. Mindy is so nice to answer everyones’ questions! Hilarious, made me laugh out loud several times :)

  14. This was so hilarious. These Q&A’s are amazing! Thanks Tanster!

    “He looks like when the Peanuts gang dances in those animated Christmas specials.”

    BWHAHAHA!! How true!

  15. She was so kind to answer and, as always, so funny. Just today I was re-reading her blog post about sour candies and found it as funny as I did the first time.

  16. Thank you so much, Mindy and Tanster! She’s so funny and great.

    That Jim answer made me very happy. I don’t understand all of the hate.

  17. Wow. I totally LOVE Mindy Kaling. She’s hilarious and so talented. Actually, all the writers are amazing for answering questions like this. This is kind of what makes this show so great… it’s nice to have a cast and crew that cares so much about the audience’s devotion to the show.

  18. I wish I could drop a hip pop culture reference as well as Mindy! The Kelsey Grammar line is priceless!

    Thank you so much for doing this, Mindy! It is greatly appreciated!

  19. This was so funny. Mindy is great. I loved reading this.

    I speak a little German and I know that Dwight was saying “Schlaf”, which means “sleep”, but I can’t understand the middle word in the sentence. It’s something like, “Schlaf, Kleinman(?). Schlaf.” If “Kleinman” is in fact the correct word there, then the song means, “Sleep, little man. Sleep,” in English.

    Just thought I’d share since she didn’t know.

  20. Mindy is basically anything and everything that is awesome. These Q&A sessions are amaaazing.

  21. Thank you Tanster and to Mindy for us fans to be able to ask the writer’s questions :)

  22. that was hilarious, the answers to those questions were almost as funny as the episode itself. i echo sentiments that mindy is completely rad. that is why she is a part of my fantasy celebrity friend gang.

  23. YAY! first time my question got answered!
    THANKS Kate and Mindy!
    Still amazed it was actually Kate Flannery who did her own stunt! seriously, 14 takes? That woman is a trooper to take that many hits to the face and lol @ the stunt woman who sat and watched.
    didn’t Kate also do her own stunt during the “Fun Run” episode?? she has like the best and most memorable physical/sight gags in the show! and she did them herself :O like her topless on several occasions, her getting run over by Michael’s car and now the football to the face!

  24. Who else hurried off to YouTube and searched for Kelsey Grammer? And Mindy is absolutely right- HILARIOUS!!!

    Thanks for doing this tanster and Mindy!!! So fun!

  25. What a fun read! I’m going to go watch it again with these new insights. Thanks Tanster and Mindy!! I love the Q&A’s.

  26. “Paul is valiant and shows a quiet bravery in his day-to-day life…”

    I don’t know why, but i can’t stop laughing at that :)

  27. Thank you for answering the questions Mindy and thanks Tanster! She is too hilarous… I love her sarcasm, she is one of those amazing writers out there that is able to display her sarcasm and wit in a written form so clearly and perfectly, it cracks me up!

  28. First of all, thank you, Mindy, for taking the time to answer these questions.

    In case Mindy ever reads those comments, and since I’m a native German speaker (and I asked that question), here’s what Dwight sang:
    BB (comment #28) pretty much got it right anyway.
    He sang “Sleep, little child, sleep, your father tends the sheep”

  29. I NEED Mindy to help me pick a new “name” for my office-self (tobykilledthisbird is so season 3). She sees most of the characters on the show in the same way as I do. I LOVE her take on Dwight. Call me Mindy.

  30. Mindy is so wonderful for answering these questions. She’s so incredibly funny. I could kick myself, because I thought of a question after the deadline. In addition to “The Wire” influence, I also thought she had a “Flight of the Conchords” moment in writing in a team of university basketball players who encounter the guys. “Conchords” had a similiar scenario with a team of waterpolo players from a NJ college in a hotel bar. It was pretty similiar, right down to the cheer, and the way they got the guys to help them get what they wanted. In “Conchords” it was getting free drinks. In “The Office” it was getting them in a club. I was curious if this scene was a direct influence from “Conchords” because I heard Mindy is a big “Conchords” fan, much like myself. Oh well. I should think of these questions faster.

  31. To those of us Office geeks that check this site every day, several times, for new info, the writers answering questions about their episodes is a dream come true. Love the insights to the behind the scenes stuff.

    Many thanks to Mindy and Tanster…

  32. “They always sparkle upon delivery. It’s hard.”

    That’s what she said!

    *Great Q&A once again…

  33. Thank you Mindy and thank you Tanster. What a wonderful experience for fans of the show.

  34. I thought I saw Ryan’s petite friend in the Deposition! This was so much fun to read–even a Q&A can be great comedy when she has a bash at it. (I’m still laughing about the disgusting sound that stirring peanut butter makes–yuck, I know that sound–for 2 million dollars! Ha ha!) Thank you so much for answering our questions Mindy; you are simply wonderful!

  35. Tanster and Mindy,

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate the new Q&A feature, it gives so much insight to the show and to the effort that goes into producing each episode.

  36. that was so awesome!! thanks you guys! But I still feel like an idiot because I can’t decide….the $2 million thing WAS a joke…right? haha

  37. I’ve never posted before (just a lurker), but Mindy’s comments were so funny and yet informative, I just had to get my $.02 in! I especially appreciate her “modesty” regarding her comedic acting abilities! Thanks for setting this up for us, Tanster!

  38. Go Mindy! And go Tanster, for having these every week. Sucks I missed the question thread, though!

  39. Mindy’s hilaaarious! The answer to the last question was the cherry on top.

  40. Back again to be annoying about the German part – I’m pretty sure he said “englein,” which would be “little angel.”
    Call me crazy. Do it!!

  41. I can’t believe she answered my question. I am so happy. That was hilarious. Thank you Mindy, Tanster, B.J., Lee, and Gene.

  42. Thanks for answering my questions Mindy! And thanks Tanster for all of your hard work!

  43. I really appreciate these Q&A sessions. It helps clarify some points that we don’t get the benefit of seeing in 21 minutes or so. Hopefully, it helps the writers as well to hear from folks who only see the 21 minutes and don’t have the benefit of the director’s cut, writers’ room discussions, etc.

  44. Oh gosh,

    I soooo needed to read this. What a rough day, and it seems that Mindy was the only one able to make me laugh. Also, any insight into anything to do with the show is just like gold and diamonds to me. Thanks Mindy and Tanster.

  45. first of all, after i read this, i realized how much i love her writing, both for on screen and in print (or blog), but when i think about her delivery of “how dare you” its hard not to think that her acting might be even better. just keep doing what you’re doing, mindy, because we’re eating it up. secondly, i LOVE what the love and fascination she has with all the characters, that dwight is manly, that michael wants to better himself, that jim tries to do well but sometimes fails. i know that everyone loves the characters, but it’s cool to read something so specific about them. thank you, tan monster! i’m getting spoiled by all these Q&As.

  46. Mindy is bona fide grade A hilarous and so smart. Thanks for the Q & A! “Dance like snoopy…” LMFAO!

  47. She has humor, wit, and she’s a knockout. Was anyone else disappointed to hear she has a boyfriend? “Night Out” was her sexiest work yet.

  48. Oh my god, that’s why Ryan’s dancing looked familiar. i really hope someone takes a looped clip of him dancing and sets it to the Peanuts theme song.

    Thank you Mindy for answering our questions, and thank you tallyheads for asking such interesting ones!

  49. I completely know how Mindy feels, I often steal the show because of how great I am. It is really hard, hang in there Mindy… Stay Strong

  50. I love Mindy, I love her blog, and I’m so happy she answered these questions. How awesome. Now I have to go back and watch for Ryan’s dancing. It looked like he thought he was in a rave, haha… her episode was so funny!!!

  51. thank you, tan monster! thanks, mindy, for taking time to answer some of our questions.

    mindy kaling is one of the funniest writers I have ever read, in any genre. i wish i was her.

    …and i have to say that the third deleted scene is the icing on the cake. best. writer. ever!!!

  52. She is amazing. She’s basically my favorite tv show writer ever (aside from maybe Jane Espenson). Love you, Mindy!

  53. Don’t know if it has been posted yet, but the literal translation of what Dwight sings is:

    “Sleep, little child, sleep. (The) father guards the sheep.”

    German original:

    “Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf. Der Vater hüt’ die Schaaf.”

    Actually he stops at “Va…” and uses a voiced instead of a voiceless fricative (V in German is pronounced as a voiceless “f”).

    But don’t worry, Germany gets you back by dubbing the office with the help of horrible horrible speech actors.

    Hope I could help,

    Tommy from Germany

  54. I hope Mindy lurks back here to read comments…. I check her blog every day and I’m going nuts that it hasn’t been updated in over a month! Don’t tell me she hasn’t been buying anything that whole time!

  55. Maybe I’m just blue collar or too East-coast, but I laughed out loud at the notion of “concern for the welfare of senior creative staff…FOR JUMPING A FENCE!” I realize the coma was exaggerated, but…

    Time to do some wind sprints and curls, creative staff!

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