One name: Ike Barinholtz. If you’ve never heard of the hilarious and talented comedian/actor/writer, then clearly you’ve been living under a rock. Currently, Barinholtz plays goofy ex-con nurse Morgan Tookers on FOX’s comedy ‘The Mindy Project.’ In my opinion, not only is Morgan extremely lovable, but he’s also one of the funniest characters presently on the small screen. I was lucky enough to chat with Barinholtz about what it’s like playing funny-man Morgan. Here’s what he had to say.
TVRage: To start, what do you love most about Morgan?
Ike Barinholtz: I’m a big fan of his loyalty. I think it’s very funny that he tries to do the right thing by the people that he loves. It usually ends up hurting them, but he still has good intentions. He’s very pure of heart.
TVRage: I’ve really enjoyed every Morgan storyline, but I’m ready for Morgan to get a serious love interest. As we saw in Tuesday’s episode, Morgan tried to steal Tamra from her boyfriend. Will Tamra and Morgan eventually get together, or will Morgan set his eyes on someone else?
Barinholtz: I think definitely the way we’re pitching stories now for the next cycle of episodes, Morgan’s definitely eyeing her [Tamra] … obviously she’s super, super pretty. But, I think … a lot of people are like “God, you don’t want to date someone you work with,” but I think Morgan’s like “No, that’s great! We can hang out all day too!” He definitely has his eye on her. The only problem is she has this big roadblock of this kind of loser boyfriend, Ray Ron, played by Josh Peck, who’s super funny. He has to get through that obstacle. We’re actually working on a story though that we shoot in a month or so that kind of has a big showdown between the two of them, but I think for right now he definitely has his eyes on her.
[Morgan] definitely had a crush on Ellie Kemper’s character, who was Mindy’s kind of neighbor. She pops up in an episode coming up in a few weeks. So, for a second, he’s like “Ohhhh,” but she’s off the market very quickly, so I think that Morgan realizes he is really is into Tamra.
TVRage: So far, what’s been your favorite episode?
Barinholtz: I enjoyed the second episode of this season, which I think it might be called “The Other Dr. L.” Mindy squaring off against James Franco was really funny. I love James, he’s a great guy, and a really funny actor, so watching them go at it was really funny. Then, last season, there was an episode called “Frat Party,” where Mindy visits a frat party with Bill Hader and Anders [Holm]. It was so crazy, but really, really fun.
Just you wait. Once we start this kind of love story with Mindy and Glenn Howerton, who plays this lawyer in the building, it starts getting pretty crazy. We’re pretty excited for the episodes we have coming up.
TVRage: You’re a writer and an actor on the show. Do you enjoy both writing and acting, or do you prefer one over the other?
Barinholtz: Honestly, they kind of go hand in hand, where a lot of times I’ll be in a scene, in the background, and this is something Mindy taught me, she’s like, because she did this for years on ‘The Office,’ you’ll be in the background acting, the story’s not about you, but you walk over afterwards and be like “Hey, that’s funny. What if we tried this?” So, a lot of the time you’re doing the same thing simultaneously. I like acting, because I get to perform and I’m like a big ham anyways. But, also, on days where I’m not acting, I know I don’t have to shave and I can wear (laughs) sweatpants. I gotta say it’s a 50/50 situation. It can go either way.
TVRage: As much as I love ‘The Mindy Project,’ I really enjoyed the Morgan web series, ‘The Morgan Project.’ If the opportunity ever came about, would you consider a Morgan spin-off?
Barinholtz: (laughs) Yes, if for some reason people demanded it. I want to give people what they want. That was a really, really fun experience shooting that. I really loved the scenes. I just totally want to push Mindy out of the focus, and really make it more about me. So, I’m waiting for the day, where I’m able to pin it into the lead role on this show and make it all about me. Any day now that’s going to happen.
TVRage: Lastly, what can we expect from Morgan in upcoming episodes?
Barinholtz: The next big Morgan episode is I think the week after next, and Morgan and Adam Pally’s character, who’s Peter, they kind of inadvertently set off this huge firestorm in Mindy’s life. The whole other story in that episode is us dealing with the ramifications of that. Much like last year when Morgan [mailed the letter], this is basically like our version of that this year (laughs). Morgan is getting himself into trouble and possibly starting something that he can’t control. So, I’m really looking forward to that.
Then, the episode after that I actually wrote, and it’s really fun and it jumps into a discussion about race and stuff, which I think is a thing we haven’t really talked about on the show, because we do have a diverse cast. Mindy is Indian and Xosha’s African American, like it’s something that we haven’t really talked about, but it’s always there on the surface. It was directed by Greg Daniels, who created ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Rec,’ and he’s one of my idols, so to get to do that episode I was so, so excited. I just watched it, and I think it’s really fun.
Be sure to follow Barinholtz on Twitter, and don’t forget to watch ‘The Mindy Project’ every Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.