Recently, a YouTube account named Robot Pilot unearthed two great clips of shows by Mindy Kaling and Robert Smigel, and they’re a perfectly entertaining, “before they were stars”-style way to start your week. The above highlight reel is from the ‘80s Chicago revue Smigel wrote and performed on, called All You Can Eat and the Temple of Doom, which also featured Dave Reynolds, Doug Dale, Todd Lambert, Hugh Callaly, Debby Jennings, and Mr. Show’s Jill Talley. It was during this time that Smigel met Bob Odenkirk, and thanks to the success of All You Can Eat he was discovered by Al Franken and Tom Davis, which led to him getting hired on Saturday Night Live.
The second clip is a full performance of Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers’s off-Broadway play Matt & Ben, in which the two play Matt Damon and Ben Affleck who, while attempting to write their big-screen adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye, have their futures changed forever when a package falls from the sky with the Good Will Hunting script inside. Kaling and Withers performed the play from 2002 through 2004, and after Greg Daniels saw the show he hired Kaling to write for The Office, which debuted on NBC the following year. Here’s an excerpt from a 2003 review of Matt & Ben from The New York Times:
With their success, Ms. Kaling and Ms. Withers are in some small danger of begetting a media legend of their own. Read anything about Matt & Ben and you’ll hear the story of two Dartmouth schoolmates and aspiring actors who, while rooming together in New York one hot summer, stayed indoors reading celebrity magazines that featured Ben Affleck’s rehab saga on the covers. They began improvising. Like Matt and Ben themselves, they wrote a script they could act in. The Legend of Mindy and Brenda was born, and the media cycle goes on.
Check out the full performance below: