Ike Barinholtz finds no downtime working as a writer for and costar of Fox's "The Mindy Project," but the Chicago native wouldn't trade the job for anything.
"It's long hours and I don't look good anymore and my blood pressure is higher and my weight is fluctuating," he said. "I'm getting pimples in interesting places. Like a pimple right here on my arm? Really? But with that said, best job; so excited."
In "The Mindy Project," Barinholtz plays Morgan, a meathead nurse to Mindy Kaling's love-challenged OB-GYN Mindy Lahiri. The series begins the rest of its freshman season at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday with "Mindy's Brother," in which Morgan tries to convince Mindy to perform karaoke at a bar.
Barinholtz, 35, who grew up in Rogers Park and Uptown, returned to Chicago last week and stopped by RedEye to chat about Kaling and the show, plus his years performing for Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and a couple of other old jobs. Below are five quotes, totally out of context. Can you guess to which each comment refers?
- "I own a small part of an alley on Sedgwick that I used to pee in. That's it. It's literally—I think it's 6 by 6 inches—but it's mine. It's not much, but it's home."
- "My supervisor was doing 11 years for killing a cop with her car. This is the kind of people I was associating with. Really."
- "It was really fun, from what I remember. There are whole chunks I don't remember; whole chunks."
- "I have to pay her $30,000 a year for 30 years, but it's worth it. It's worth it, man. I mean, come on."
- "Apparently a janitor found me sleeping in there and told my boss, and the miracle of that story is, I continued to work there for another eight months."
Find the answers by reading the full interview below and watching the video above, in which he compares "The Mindy Project" to "Downton Abbey" and tells a story about when he worked for the CTA.
What you been up to while in town?
I got in last night and went back to my old apartment and saw my parents and made love to a large Lou Malnati’s deep dish pepperoni pizza.
Yes, everybody brings up the pizza.
It's such a cliche. I’ve actually learned how to make it living in L.A. ’cause we have such terrible pizza. I learned how to make it. I went on message boards; I went on little weird sub boards on Chow Hound and I found basically the Gino's East recipe, and I can make a deep dish pizza from scratch that tastes pretty good. And then I come here and taste the Lou Malnati's and I realize what I'm making is basically Domino’s. It’s basically shit.
You’re a big star now, Ike. You can probably go over to Lou Malnati’s and say, “Give me your recipe. I want to make this in California.”
[Laughs.] I went in there last night. I walked right in the kitchen. I demanded to know the recipe—and the good news is my father's an attorney so I was out of jail in two hours, which is really good because otherwise I could have been in there all night. But yeah, no, I got to see my folks and the dog. It’s always good to come home.
Do you still have your old apartment here?
Still have the old apartment over on the North Side, Uptown. And yeah, it's so good to come home to.
You’re worried things will go bad in L.A. or something so you keep an apartment?
Well, no. This is my parents’ house they still live in. But it is good to know that if I ever go belly up and show business leaves me and my wife leaves me that I can still go to my old room. I'm holding on to that.
Oh, so it's their place?
It's their place, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I thought you meant you had your old apartment here.
I own very little property in Chicago. I own a small part of an alley on Sedgwick that I used to pee in.
The pee break place, yeah.
That's it. It's literally—I think it’s 6 by 6 inches—but it's mine. It's not much, but it's home.
Tell me about when you lived in Chicago. You have interesting stories, I hear.
I grew up on the North Side. I was born in Rogers Park; I grew up in Uptown, and I went to the Latin School. I didn't really have the acting bug even though I loved comedy, I loved movies. I went to Second City a lot and used to see, like, Chris Farley before he was famous and Steve Carell, but I never really got the bug.
It wasn't until I went to college that I realized, “Ah, I hate college and I'm doing poorly here.” And I came to a great agreement with Boston University. They said, “Don't come back.” And I said, “OK.” We really saw eye to eye on that. And I came back home and I was working at the CTA, not [as] a bus driver. I was doing marketing. And I went to the Improv Olympics 15th anniversary show. I went with my dad. And I remember never seeing improv like that before. I remember specifically Tim Meadows; Tim Meadows was so funny in this show that I said to myself, “I want to do this.” Like, “I have to get in on this. This is my kind of stuff.”