One More Thing (Novak)

Author Bio
Birth—July 31, 1979
Where—Newton, Massachusetts, USA

Benjamin Joseph Manaly "B. J." Novak is an American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, author, and director. He is known for being a writer and co-executive producer of The Office, in which he also played Ryan Howard, as well as appearing in Inglourious Basterds and Saving Mr. Banks.

Novak was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Linda (nee Manaly) and author William Novak. Novak's family is Jewish. His father co-edited The Big Book of Jewish Humor, and has ghostwritten memoirs for Nancy Reagan, Lee Iacocca, and others; his parents also established a Jewish matchmaking service. Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse, a composer, and Lev, a graduate of Tufts University.

B.J. attended Newton South High School with future Office costar John Krasinski, and the two graduated in 1997. Novak attended Harvard University, where he was a member of the Harvard Lampoon and the Hasty Pudding Club. He majored in English and Spanish literature and wrote his honors thesis on the films of Shakespeare's Hamlet. In addition to the Lampoon, he occasionally staged and performed in a variety show called The B.J. Show with fellow Harvard student B. J. Averell. Novak graduated from Harvard University in 2001.

Following graduation, Novak moved to Los Angeles, California, and began working in clubs as a comedian. His first live stand-up performance took place in 2001, at the Hollywood Youth Hostel. He was named one of Variety's "Ten Comedians To Watch" in 2003. He has also performed on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

He became a writer for the short-lived The WB sitcom Raising Dad. But his television acting career began on MTV's Punk'd. He was the lead accomplice to Ashton Kutcher on the show's second season in 2003, and has played pranks on Hilary Duff, Rachael Leigh Cook, Usher, and Mya.

After hearing Novak's opening joke at a comedy club, executive producer Greg Daniels immediately decided to include Novak in his upcoming project: a U.S. version of the hit British series The Office. Novak was cast as Ryan Howard, becoming the first cast member. On July 21, 2010, news reports indicated Novak had signed a contract to remain with the show for its seventh and eighth seasons; under the new terms, he would be made a full executive producer midway through Season 7 and also direct two episodes of the show, as well as becoming the latest cast member to also have a deal with NBC to develop other shows. In a June 2009 interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Novak spoke about sharing the success of The Office with his Newton South High School classmate John Krasinski:

Sometimes when this feels too good to be true, I think that if this were all a dream, that would be what should have tipped me off. I'd wake up saying, "I was in this incredible TV show and it was a big hit and the star was John Krasinski from high school. Isn't that weird?"

In addition to his television credits, Novak has appeared in the films Unaccompanied Minors, Reign Over Me, The Internship, Knocked Up and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. He appeared in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, and as the villain role of Alistair Smythe in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

His book of 22 stories titled, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, was published in 2014 to high praise by the New York Times, Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, and Publishers Weekly.

Novak has a close friendship with Mindy Kaling, whom he met through writing for The Office. The two dated on and off while writing and acting on the show, sometimes mirroring the on-again, off-again nature of the relationship between their characters, Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor. Novak also served as a consulting producer for Season 1 of Kaling's show, The Mindy Project. (From Wikipedia.)

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