BJ Novak Gushes About Mindy Kaling and Their Past Romance in PGA Speech: 'We Were Reckless Idiots'

The actor-writer presents his longtime pal and ex with the Norman Lear Award at the 2023 Producers Guild Awards.

BJ Novak didn't hold back when praising his friend, ex, and former collaborator, Mindy Kaling. The 43-year-old actor and writer gave an almost eight-minute speech honoring Kaling, 43, at the 2023 Producers Guild Awards over the weekend.

Presenting Kaling with the Norman Lear Award for Achievement in Television, Novak gushed, "The first thing I noticed about Mindy in that writers' room is she cared so much about everything... her opinions were passionate and unstoppable and she cared about all the issues of the day."

Novak touched on meeting Kaling while they were co-writing and co-starring on The Office, sharing details on their passionate on-off romance.

"We were in love with each other, and we were reckless idiots. The two of us would argue about all of these things forever, grinding the writers' room to a halt until we got too upset and we'd go to our respective offices and slam the door where we would continue arguing over AOL Instant Messenger," Novak quipped. "It was 2005. My screen name was @DaxSucks because I imagined myself in a rivalry with actor Dax Shepard. Hers was even stupider -- @Fairfax1240 because that was her home address."

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He added that when producers on the hit comedy caught wind of Novak and Kaling's romance, they decided to put them in more scenes together.

He described their relationship as a "tumultuous, romantic, toxic, boundaryless mess," saying, "We made it work or didn't work, we made it through."

He also praised Kaling's series, The Mindy Project, calling it his "favorite" of her work, and joking that the main character, Mindy Lahiri, was "balancing work with her many terrible and toxic relationships with men who all looked weirdly like me."

He concluded his speech, saying, "It would be tempting to tie all this together by saying how much Mindy grew up or changed since those early days. But what's more important, is how much she didn't change, no matter how much pressure she might have felt... She cares so much about everything, and I care so much about her."

Throughout Novak's speech, Kaling was seen smiling and laughing in the audience. She later posted about the event on Instagram, writing, "I was so nervous to receive the Norman Lear Prize for Achievement in Television at the Producers Guild Awards last night that I took zero pictures, so here is what I found online. The evening was unforgettable. My best friend @bjnovak gave the most stunning tribute and I was surrounded by everyone I love. This job is wonderful but also tough, and it meant the world to me to be able to reflect on my career, the people who took a chance on me, and why I love making TV. Also to be associated with Norman Lear as a working comedy writer is unreal, the man created Maude for God’s sake. Will definitely post more as I find pics - gonna get real PGA-y on here! ❤️"

The exes and longtime friends have been vocal about their unique relationship numerous times. In December 2022, Kaling spoke about the godfather of her two kids on The Drew Barrymore Show.

"He loves children and they’re so attached to him. He’s really part of our family," she said of Novak. "But we’ve known each other for a long, long time and I think anyone who’s been friends with someone for 18, 19 years and at one point dated and now doesn’t, they maybe understand this. You have exes that you wouldn’t necessarily marry now."