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John McEnroe Had Never Heard of Mindy Kaling Before Narrating ‘Never Have I Ever’

Kaling's father was a massive tennis fan, which inspired her to cast the tennis legend in her semi-autobiographical series.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 11: Lang Fisher, John McEnroe and Mindy Kaling attend the Los Angeles premiere of Netflix's "Never Have I Ever" Season 3 on August 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)

Lang Fisher, John McEnroe, and Mindy Kaling

Getty Images for Netflix

One of the biggest surprises of Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher’s “Never Have I Ever” is the voice of legendary tennis player John McEnroe, who narrates the coming-of-age series. But no matter how surprised you were to hear his voice on the show, the tennis star was even more surprised to be asked to narrate it in the first place.

“Who would’ve thought that [I] would be the sort of psychologist or uncle or advisor to an 18- or 17-year-old Indian American girl going through high school,” McEnroe said in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight. “So I got to credit Mindy Kaling.”

The decision to cast McEnroe in her semi-autobiographical series was a nostalgic one for Kaling, who grew up in a tennis-loving household.

“It turned out her father was a big tennis fan and must’ve talked about me a lot when she was growing up,” he said. “He was in India and it’s sort of her story.”

But while Kaling had known about McEnroe for her entire life, he couldn’t say the same about her. McEnroe revealed that he had never even heard of the former star of “The Office” until she approached him about the show.

“I met her at this Vanity Fair Oscar party and we were just crossing paths and [his wife] Patty goes, ‘Oh, that’s Mindy Kaling!'” he said. “I wasn’t even sure who it was then and she’s like, ‘Oh my god, I have this idea of you narrating this show,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, sure you do. Of course I’m gonna narrate this show.’ And then, hey, it actually—this is actually working!”

McEnroe took a risk by collaborating with Mindy Kaling, but it appears to have worked out well for all involved. “Never Have I Ever” was recently named one of IndieWire’s 35 Best Teen TV Shows, with Ali Foreman writing that “creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher deliver an adolescent comedy masterclass in ‘Never Have I Ever’: Netflix’s sparkling dramedy about an Indian-American teen facing high school’s many challenges in the wake of her father’s death. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is instantly likable as Devi Vishwakumar in Season 1 and her performance grows only more endearing in the installments to follow. Kaling and Fisher imbue Devi’s quest for love and purpose with inspiring specificity, daring to consider the thorniest aspects of reinventing yourself.”

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