Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
During a TCA panel promoting the Fox comedies New Girl, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate and Raising Hope, Mindy Kaling was asked to address recent cast alterations designed to punch up the remainder of her show’s rookie campaign. It included the demotion of regular Anna Camp to recurring status due to the show’s increased workplace focus and the promotion of Ike Barinholtz to regular. “Ike becoming a series regular was good for the show,” Kaling said. The session gave the stars of the four sitcoms a chance to practice their one-liners and hone their charm chops. The funniest member of the panel? No contest. It was Lucas Neff from Raising Hope, whose response to a question about how he manages to stay in character when co-star Cloris Leachman goes off-script had the room breaking up — even the typically poker-faced critics. “You know, they pay me,” Neff replied, “and that’s usually my main incentive. The checks are (the incentive), because I’d like to keep getting them. Because I’ve not had checks before, and that was awful. And I’d like to keep getting them.” As for how he stays in character, he reasoned that it’s pretty easy. “They have this word ‘Action’,” Neff continued, “and when they say it, I go to that place. It’s an internal thing. All actors have it. We all have this place inside of us, and we all have to go there.”