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B.J. stars as "Ryan Howard" on NBC's new comedy series "The Office", which premires in Late March 2005. Novak also writes for the new series. Novak earned his stripes on an episode of the celebrity prankster series “Punk’d,” where he played a driving instructor who nearly brought Hilary Duff to tears. He also served as a staff writer for the network sitcom “Raising Dad.” Novak is known for his stand-up comedy and was named one of the “Ten Comics to Watch” by the editors of Variety in July 2003. His comedic talents were recently seen on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend.” Novak was born on July 31, 1979, in Newton, Massachusetts, USA. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Fun Facts about B.J. Novak
B.J.’s full name is Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak. His family and some of his friends call him “Ben” or “Benny.”
His favorite color is blue! He is also partial to black and white.
He grew up near Boston, in the city of Newton, Massachusetts.
He has two brothers – Jesse, age 21, and Lev, age 12 – and a sister, Keough, 16.
B.J. attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in literature. His thesis on films of Hamlet was awarded the grade of summa cum laude, the highest distinction in academia, and won him an expense-paid trip to the United Kingdom to lecture at London’s Globe Theater at the age of 21.
Three months later, B.J. was living in Los Angeles, writing for the prestigious WB sitcom “Raising Dad,” starring Bob Saget.
B.J. made his first onstage performance as a standup comedian on October 10, 2001 at the Hollywood Youth Hostel in Los Angeles. As you might imagine, the month after September 11th was a wonderful time to start performing comedy. The whole country was in a fantastic mood and ready to laugh. And, as also you might imagine, the audience at this international youth hostel was a patient, friendly crowd who understood English.
Shaken, but not deterred, B.J. took a couple of months to retreat into his writing and then began again in earnest that December. He spent nearly every night working through new material at crowds at open mike nights in coffee shops and bars.
This time, things clicked. B.J. soon began winning fans for his unique take on major issues of the day (“Battered women? Sounds delicious”) and for his feel-good crowd-work as the “compliment comic.” Within months, he was a fixture at the major comedy clubs of Los Angeles, including The Improv and The Laugh Factory, and a favorite everywhere from the mainstream Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach to elite Hollywood’s top “alternative room” at M Bar. In July of 2003, he was named to Variety’s list of “Ten Comics to Watch.”
At a performance in July, he caught the eye of a producer at MTV, who brought him to the network’s headquarters and introduced him to Ashton Kutcher, who was impressed by the comedian’s poker-faced wit and quick thinking. Weeks later, B.J. was teaching Hilary Duff to drive, rapping to musician Usher, introducing Bow Wow to a Bengal tiger, and meeting Mya for an unusually intense lunchdate on the second season of the MTV phenomenon “Punk’d.”
B.J. Novak is currently working on some writing and performing projects for television and film – as well as on standup comedy. He will appear next on “The Office: An American Workplace” on NBC.
Not so fun facts about B.J. Novak
Allergic to antibiotic Bactrum
So-so baseball player on high school freshman team
BJ Novak : Wax Nostalgic
Name: B.J. Novak
Fave Professor: Jim Mehlinger
Why: “The best professor I ever had was Jim Mehlinger, who taught a philosophy seminar on “Existence.” For the final exam, he simply revealed to us that there was no record of the class—or of his professorship—at the registar’s office. We had to prove to the registrar that he and the class had existed, or face no credit for the class. I never met a teacher as creative.”
BJ Novak plays Ryan in ''The Office''
Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak, "Punk'd") is a young, smart, self-possessed temp, who quickly figures out the real office politics despite his boss Michael's attempts to instill the official point-of-view.
Office survival guide
Top Ten Ways To Survive Team Off-Sites
• One Word: iPod
• Visualize your beach getaway during long presentations.
• Ask everyone to dress in green sweaters for unity.
• Volunteer to keep notes on your computer and surf the net for new jobs.
• Loudly say "interesting" or "that is a great new approach" every half hour.
• Continually drink water to ensure frequent bathroom breaks.
• Contrive to be dropped during the trust exercise.
• Have friends call your cell phone posing as clients.
• Ask your small group to refer you as "exalted leader."
• Have a doctor's note limiting the amount of time in large groups.
Top Ten Worst Things To Say To Your Boss
• "Are you sure about that tie?"
• "Have you heard about any job openings?"
• "I can't stay late today. I have a little date with Susie from accounting."
• "I hope to work for a great leader one day."
• "I think I left those contracts at the bar."
• "Wow, how big is your HR file?"
• "Aren't you a little old to be a manager?"
• "Wish me luck - big interview today!"
• "I am a little hung over, so can we talk later?"
• "It's been a tough day. Can I have a hug?"
Top Ten Ways To Avoid Dinner/Drinks With An Annoying Co-Worker
• Begin every conversation with, "Wow, I am so tired today."
• Drop AA membership card in front of him.
• Create a fictional spouse/partner who monopolizes your time.
• Claim to have a two-hour commute each way.
• Tell them you still have an 8 PM curfew from your parents.
• Obtain a license that doesn't let you drive after dusk.
• Carry heavy files at all times to look swamped.
• "Wish me luck - big interview today!"
• Pre-fill your calendar each week and leave it open on your desk.
• Draw a circle around your desk and ask him not to cross the line.
BJ Novak stars in Punkd
B.J. Novak earned his stripes on the very first episode of Punk'd this season as the driving instructor who nearly made Hilary Duff cry. Before he started pranking celebrities, he honed his comedic chops doing stand-up. Just a year and half since his first performances at a coffee shop's open-mike night, he has become a regular at major clubs in Los Angeles, including The Improv and Laugh Factory, as well as a favorite at alternative venues such as M Bar. In July, the editors of Variety named him one of "Ten Comics to Watch."
B.J. grew up in Boston and attended Harvard University, where he studied literature, wrote and edited for the Harvard Lampoon, and sold 1,700 tickets to a unique variety event known as "The B.J. Show."
After graduating college, B.J. Novak moved to Los Angeles and became a staff writer for the WB sitcom Raising Dad, starring Bob Saget. While writing for the show, B.J. decided to branch out into performing stand-up comedy. He soon began winning fans for his distinct take on major issues of the day and for his feel-good crowd work as the "compliment comic."
BJ Novak: How to Crash the Pudding Show
Audience participation is not generally an element of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals show, a production that entertains audiences with its men-in-drag raunchiness and leggy kickline. This year, ‘Poonster and attention-seeker B.J. Novak ‘01 decided it was his time to join the fun.
“If you are really determined to make a farce of the Pudding show, go to it, smile and laugh, crack up at the pun runs, giggle at the cross-dressing, and (important) applaud the kick line. Tell everyone the show was great. About 50-75 years into this prank, the show will become really archaic. But if you’re too nice a guy to pull a prank like that, just run up on stage in drag and try to help out the cast,” he advises.
Novak’s plan was executed on Club night, the notorious evening when final club members and their drunk dates heckle the actors. “The show was sinking, and I knew I had to save it. The show needed another character. I did it in the best interest of the storyline,” says Novak. “It was my duty. If Mother Theresa’s orphans didn’t like the food she was serving them, it would still be her moral duty to offer it to them. In that way I’m like Mother Theresa.”
The audience was little aware of Novak’s intentions to crash the show and perform. “I felt purely integrated into the cast, and I think that carried over to the audience. Some people might have mistaken me for B.J. Averell and have asked him if he crashed the show. Well, he did, by auditioning and joining the cast. He took the longer route.”
Novak’s foray into Pudding acting abruptly ended when he was tackled by genuine Pudding cast member and vice president of the Pudding cast, Mike Roiff ‘01. “Mike Roiff is a huge human being. I’m always a little on edge when I see him on the street; I think everyone is. But underneath there’s a sweet boy inside,” Novak comments. Anything for your fifteen minutes.