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‘Mindy Project’s’ Chris Messina on Kissing: ‘Ike Barinholtz Has Soft Lips, But Mindy Kaling is Better’

The questions ran the gamut at the PaleyFest’s “The Mindy Project” panel on Tuesday night at the Dolby Theatre, ranging from whether the script is improvised to who is the better kisser.

For the most part the script is not improvised because the writers are so good, said exec producer/star Mindy Kaling before co-exec producer and co-star Ike Barinholtz said, “Mindy comes up with stuff and improvises.”

“The death of comedy is political correctness,” she said. “Danny (Chris Messina’s character) is the opposite. He thinks Catholicism is the No. 1 religion. Grounded characters can say anything,” she said, pointing to Alec Baldwin’s character in “30 Rock” and Steve Carell’s “The Office.”

Exec producer Matt Warburton said the jokes on Messina “come from him being so lame, but he’s one of the most good-looking guys. He’s playing an 80-year-old.”

Messina, whose character has kissed both Barinholtz and Kaling, compared the two. “Ike has soft lips, but Mindy is the better kisser,” he said, to which Barinholtz pretended to stalk off the stage as Kaling added, “Who’s better at sex is the better question.”

Barinholtz especially had the crowd in stitches as he mimicked his fellow cast members from James Franco, who had a brief arc last year, to Messina, Ed Weeks and the absent Adam Pally. He even took questions for Pally. “’The Mindy Project,’” Barinholtz said imitating Pally’s voice and mannerisms, “is different from ‘Happy Endings’ because Mindy is different.”

Comparing Mindy’s romances with Pam and Jim on Kaling’s previous show, “The Office,” Kaling and Barinholtz said there was an inevitability to the former, which is not there with her and Messina. “Danny (Messina’s character) went, ‘I kind of wish I didn’t have to do this.’”

The other romance is between Barinholtz’s character Morgan and Tamara, played by Xosha Roquemore. “Tamara’s into pale creeps,” Roquemore explained.

Props were given to the writers, who were in the audience, and to the cast. Barinholtz said, “We’re all crazy. The actors are crazy, the characters are insane and Ed’s a dick.”

“It’s a fine line between sexuality and insanity,” said Beth Grant.

Zoe Jarman explained her character’s craziness thus: “She has this point of view that she thinks everyone shares. Then she realizes no one shares it. Obviously she doesn’t think she’s crazy.”

Weeks said he was enjoying his promotion this season. “It’s a fertile comic area being the boss,” he said.

When moderator Jarett Wieselman threw the questions to the audience, one woman played Aaliyah’s “Try Again” from her iPhone hoping to get Messina to reprise his dance from the Christmas episode, but although he got up and acted like he was about to, he sat down.

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