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Anders Holm on Pretend-Dating Mindy Kaling, Godlessness, and Nudity

Anders Holm
Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Hallelujah! Pastor Casey and Mindy are still going strong as The Mindy Project heads into its final episodes of the season. The minister, played by Workaholics’ Anders Holm, has proven himself the best boyfriend Mindy’s had yet. Sure, he wouldn’t avenge her murder by a hook-handed maniac (God wouldn’t like it), but he’s totally cool with her meeting up with an ex, because he’s trusting like that. The good news is he’s in two more episodes after tonight. “Two more action-packed, must-see episodes — I’m not even fucking around when I say that,” says Holms. “One of them has a big fight scene.” Vulture rang up the actor to get the scoop, and he told us all about cursing in church, disagreeing with boss and co-star Mindy Kaling, and being super comfortable getting naked on TV.

Hi. How are you?
What’s up, Denise Martin? That was my principal’s name in high school.

Oh no.
Let’s just say I wasn’t well liked.

How’d you get cast with The Mindy Project?
I was stalking Mindy Kaling and I had a ladder up to her house. The ladder fell; she heard the noise, came to the window, saw me dangling, and was like, “This guy looks like a minister” … No. It was basically a Mutual Admiration Society–type thing. I knew a couple people who worked on her show who were friends with people who write and work on my show Workaholics. On Twitter, we started talking. She let me know that there are shirtless pictures of me in their writers’ room, which to the normal person would be very embarrassing, but for me it was just a confidence booster to know that in a room filled with probably, like, six men and three women that I was on the wall being leered at.

Well, he had to be a minister she’d sleep with, right?
I guess so. Or maybe they saw my body and went, “What’s the name of that person who wears long sleeves and a collar that goes up to his neck that covers his entire body? Oh, it’s a minster! Let’s make him a minster.” I mean, I wasn’t there. This is all speculation. I’ve been in this industry 900 days, so I think I know my way around.

What do you think of Pastor Casey?
[Laughs.] When I read the part, there was a lot of me going, “Can pastors do this? Is this straight legal with the Bible?” It’s a lot of fun. I’m finally acting.

You don’t act on Workaholics?
On Workaholics I feel like I’m just hanging out with my buddies being filmed, but on Mindy I’m around professional funny people who act. Guys like Chris Messina, who are the real deal. I watch what they do and put my own spin on it.

Do you now have a Chris Messina impression? It seems like all the actors on the show do.
I enjoy everyone else’s. [In his best Messina] I think everyone’s got a Chris Messina in them, you know? And do you know what else? Chris even does an impression of himself.

He does not.
Well, he doesn’t know he’s doing it, but during the table read, he’s got more of a [unintelligible impersonation of Messina: uuuuh-bluuh-bluuuh-uuuuh-uuh]. When the cameras are rolling, it’s a little more high stakes, but during the table read, you’re a little more chill, so he’s like uuuuuh-uuuh-uuuh. It’s in his eyes that you get all the emotion. There’s his guttural groan, where you kind of make out every sixth word, and then you look in the eyes and you’re like, “Holy shit. This guy’s gonna make me cry.”

How’d it feel getting to sing Bruno Mars?
It was the second scene we filmed. “Okay, day one, scene two for you, Anders: Do you want to sing and do a sermon in front of all these people?” I’m a professional, so I said, “Fine.” Literally, right when I’m going to kick into the song, my mind goes completely blank. I sing the first lyric, and in a church in the cloth of God, I say, “Fuck! What is it again?” It only got more uncomfortable after that.

I’m glad you’re still with us.
Yeah. I’m un-smiteable. That’s something I realized very young. When Principal Denise Martin was trying to smite me. It wasn’t going down.

Mindy has real chemistry with all the guys her character has dated on the show. What makes her easy to fall for?
I’ll tell you why everyone’s got chemistry with Mindy: because she will beat you up if you don’t. She whips you into shape.

It’s her way or the highway, and the way she does that is with a smile. You want to be part of it, you know? She is … I’m going to come up with a genius term here. She is frighteningly charismatic. Or either of those words. I don’t know.

How’d you get along?
I’m a different animal, as I’m sure they’ll tell you. Acting with Mindy is great; we think the same things are funny, but then between takes, we were trying to figure what we have in common, and it turned out to be almost nothing. I think we both like Hawaii and then that’s it. But it was more fun finding out how much we didn’t have in common than to be kindred spirits. It was funnier to be like, “I hate that! I can’t believe you love it!”

In this week’s episode, Casey asks Mindy to convert to Christianity. Would you ever ask someone to convert for you?
In real life? In my opinion there is no such thing as God, so no. If I met somebody Christian, I don’t think it would work out. I wouldn’t ask them to not be Christian and convert to a there-is-no-God stance. And I would not convert for them. It would be too strange.

Do you think he’ll be back next season?
I hope so. Actually, how about this? I don’t hope so, that way Mindy will hope so, and then it’s up to her to hire me. Don’t you go and paint that as a weird thing!

In the season finale of Workaholics, you had an alien probe pulled out from your butt over the course of several minutes.

How did that scene come about?
That was actually footage from a house party. We built the episode around that.

But really, how did it come about?
We wanted to do something season-finale-worthy. We feel that people who watch our show like to see us in high-stakes situations. Normally we can’t get away with that on our show because it would be too real, so we put it in the context of Blake’s imagination: end of the world, dystopia, what happens when it’s like Terminator: Rise of the Machines? Next thing you know, we’re saying, “anal probe,” “Tom Green,” “Alice in a catsuit” … it all seemed the right way to end the season.

Blake’s face was peering into your butt for so long.
I’m not a highly outgoing person. I’m pretty guarded when you first meet me. But being in a Speedo for my entire life growing up, because I was a swimmer, and being naked in front of people now doesn’t really bother me. If I’ve got Blake and Adam right behind my ass, looking into it, pulling out a probe, it doesn’t faze me. In fact, I think I’m either shirtless or naked for the rest of the Mindy episodes.

Anders Holm on Romancing Mindy Kaling