While presenting the trophy for writing for a limited or anthology series or movie at the 2022 Emmy Awards Monday night, the longtime friends and former The Office costars poked fun at the buzz surrounding their relationship.
“To all the nominees, we just want to say congratulations, you lazy sons of bitches,” joked Kaling, 43. “How are you getting away with this?”
“Eight episodes?” chimed in Novak, 43, before Kaling continued, “We came out doing network sitcoms, 22 episodes a year.”
“And that show, that would take up your whole life. No time for other projects,” Novak said before Kaling added while looking at him, “No time for a social life. You had no choice but to form insanely complicated relationships with your costars.“
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Chris Haston/NBC via Getty Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak
“And now, you can just write some self-contained masterpiece, cast it with movie stars … ” Novak said, continuing to good-naturedly poke fun at the perceived differences between limited series and network sitcoms.
“Shoot it for a few weeks and then go back to your fancy luxury compound,” Kaling quipped, nodding to The White Lotus’ picturesque Hawaii set.
They’ve helped each other on creative projects, attended each other’s red-carpet premieres — and in 2017, Novak officially became a member of Kaling’s family when she named him her daughter’s godfather.
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Similarly to their hilarious joint speech at the Emmys on Monday, Novak described his relationship with Kaling — who played his Office character Ryan Howard’s on-again, off-again love interest, Kelly Kapoor on the show — as “complicated” when he spoke to PEOPLE in 2014.
“A really complicated person and a really complicated friendship, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” Novak added.
“It isn’t the thing that people sometimes think it is,” Kaling said in a 2019 interview on CBS Sunday Morning. “But he’s really part of my family now, which is great. Even though that’s less of a sexy characterization of our relationship, I think it’s a deeper and a closer one.”
The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards are being broadcast live on NBC at 8 p.m. ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.