B. J. Novak

Last updated
B. J. Novak
B.J. Novak, Actor.jpg
Novak at SF Sketch Fest 2008
Born
Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak

(1979-07-31) July 31, 1979 (age 39) [1]
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation
  • Actor
  • writer
  • comedian
  • director
Years active2001–present

Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak [2] (born July 31, 1979) is an American actor, writer, comedian, and director. Novak was one of the writers and executive producers of The Office (2005–2013), in which he also played Ryan Howard.

Executive producer (EP) is one of the top positions in the making of a commercial entertainment product. Depending on the medium, the executive producer may be concerned with management accounting or associated with legal issues. In films, the executive producer generally contributes to the film's budget and usually does not work on set, in contrast to most other producers.

The Office is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005, to May 16, 2013, lasting nine seasons. It is an adaptation of the original BBC series of the same name and was adapted for American television by Greg Daniels, a veteran writer for Saturday Night Live, King of the Hill, and The Simpsons. It was co-produced by Daniels' Deedle-Dee Productions, and Reveille Productions, in association with Universal Television. The original executive producers were Greg Daniels, Howard Klein, Ben Silverman, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant, with numerous others being promoted in later seasons.

Ryan Howard (<i>The Office</i>) fictional character in The Office

Ryan Bailey Howard is a fictional character on the US television series The Office. He is portrayed by the show's writer, director, and executive producer B. J. Novak, and is based upon Ricky Howard from the original British version of The Office, although his role is significantly expanded to that of a main character.

Contents

Early life

Novak was born July 31, 1979 in Newton, Massachusetts. His parents are Linda (née Manaly) and author William Novak. [3] [4] [5] Novak's family is Jewish. His father co-edited The Big Book of Jewish Humor, and has ghostwritten memoirs for Nancy Reagan, Lee Iacocca, Magic Johnson, and others; his parents also established a Jewish matchmaking service. [6] [7] Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse, a composer, and Lev. He attended Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston for elementary school and middle school. [8]

Newton, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Newton is a suburban city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is approximately 7 miles (11 km) west of downtown Boston and is bordered by Boston's Brighton and West Roxbury neighborhoods to the east and south, respectively, and by the suburb of Brookline to the east, the suburbs of Watertown and Waltham to the north, and Weston, Wellesley and Needham to the west. Rather than having a single city center, Newton resembles a patchwork of thirteen villages. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Newton was 85,146, making it the eleventh largest city in the state.

William Novak is an author who has co-written or ghostwritten numerous celebrity memoirs for people including Lee Iacocca, Nancy Reagan, and Magic Johnson. He is also the editor, with Moshe Waldoks, of The Big Book of Jewish Humor. He has also written several "private" books, which he described in a 2015 essay for The New York Times.

Ghostwriter writer who writes speeches or texts in the name and commissioned by another person

A ghostwriter is hired to write literary or journalistic works, speeches, or other texts that are officially credited to another person as the author. Celebrities, executives, participants in timely news stories, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, memoirs, magazine articles, or other written material. In music, ghostwriters are often used to write songs, lyrics, and instrumental pieces. Screenplay authors can also use ghostwriters to either edit or rewrite their scripts to improve them.

He attended Newton South High School with future The Office costar John Krasinski, [9] and they graduated in 1997. [9] Novak graduated from Harvard University in 2001, 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 . [10]

Newton South High School public high school in Newton, Massachusetts, United States

Newton South High School is one of two public high schools in the city of Newton, Massachusetts, the other being Newton North.

John Krasinski American actor and writer

John Burke Krasinski is an American actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his role as Jim Halpert on the NBC sitcom The Office. He also served as a producer and occasional director of the series throughout its nine-season run.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 post graduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Aside from the Lampoon, he occasionally staged and performed in a variety show called The B.J. Show with fellow Harvard student B. J. Averell. [9]

B. J. Averell American actor

Brian Jeffrey "B.J." Averell is an American actor and reality show contestant who won The Amazing Race 9 with teammate Tyler MacNiven. He is currently a CBS Technology Reporter and Periscope Livestreamer broadcasting from all the major Content Conventions such as NAB and others.

Career

Following his graduation from Harvard, he moved to Los Angeles, California and began working in clubs as a comedian. His first live stand-up performance took place at the Hollywood Youth Hostel on October 10, 2001.[ citation needed ] He was named one of Variety's "Ten Comedians To Watch" in 2003. [11]

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Hollywood Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

Novak was a writer for the short-lived The WB sitcom Raising Dad . [9] He performed on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and on Late Night with Conan O'Brien . [10] [11]

<i>Raising Dad</i> television series

Raising Dad is an American television sitcom that aired on The WB from October 5, 2001, to May 10, 2002. The series stars Bob Saget, Kat Dennings, Brie Larson, Riley Smith, Beau Wirick and Jerry Adler. and was produced by Albion Productions in association with Paramount Television.

Comedy Central American cable and satellite television channel

Comedy Central is an American pay television channel owned by Viacom Global Entertainment Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. The channel is geared for mature audiences and carries comedy programming in the form of both original, licensed, and syndicated series and stand-up comedy specials, as well as feature films.

<i>Premium Blend</i> television series

Premium Blend was a stand-up comedy series that aired on the American cable television channel Comedy Central from 1997 to 2005.

Novak's television acting career began on MTV's Punk'd . [9] He was the lead accomplice to Ashton Kutcher on the show's second season in 2003, playing pranks on Hilary Duff, Rachael Leigh Cook, Usher, and Mýa.[ citation needed ]

Novak in June 2007 Bjnovak crop.jpg
Novak in June 2007

The Office

After hearing Novak's opening joke at a comedy club, executive producer Greg Daniels decided he "wanted to do something with him"; [9] Novak was subsequently cast as Ryan Howard.

Novak was not only a cast member on the show but a producer and writer. He along with Mindy Kaling, Greg Daniels, Michael Schur, and Paul Lieberstein were the original writers for the show. He is credited with writing fifteen episodes during the show's duration including the Writer's Guild of America nominated episodes "Diversity Day" and "Local Ad".

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 an executive producer midway through Season 7 and direct two episodes of the show. 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: [12]

"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?"

Post The Office career

Novak has appeared in the films Unaccompanied Minors , Reign Over Me , The Internship , Knocked Up , The Smurfs , and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 .

He has had supporting roles in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009), John Lee Hancock's Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and The Founder (2016).

He has starred in episodes of The Mindy Project , The Newsroom , Community , and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend . [10]

Novak in September 2013 BJNovak2013.jpeg
Novak in September 2013

Book deal

On April 11, 2013, publishing house Alfred A. Knopf announced it had signed a seven-figure, two-book deal with Novak, with the first book slated to be a fictional collection of Woody Allen-like stories. [13]

On February 4, 2014 a book of 22 stories, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, was published and spent 6 weeks on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers List. [14] Novak also signed a deal with Penguin's children's books label and wrote The Book With No Pictures, which was released in September 2014 and has spent four full years on the New York Times Picture Books list, with 34 weeks charting as the #1 seller in the United States. [15]

In May 2015, it was announced that Novak and Mindy Kaling had signed a book deal worth a reported $7.5 million to write about their long friendship and former relationship, though Kaling said in an interview that the book would "not be a tell-all."

The List App

On October 14, 2015 Novak released an Apple iOS app along with co-founder Dev Flaherty called The List App. [16] The app has since been nominated for a Webby Award (losing in its category to Beme and Pocket) and in May 2016 rebranded as 'li.st' and became available on the Android platform. [17]

In September 2017, the app was shut down, citing that the growth wasn't enough to sustain the current product. [18]

Personal life

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 respective characters Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor. [19] He served as a consulting producer for Season 1 of The Mindy Project , [20] and has appeared on the show several times, though his formal producing role ended after the first season. [21]

His brother Jesse composed the music for The Mindy Project and BoJack Horseman . [10]

Bibliography

Books

Essays, reporting and other contributions

Filmography

Roles as an actor
YearTitleRoleNotes
2003 Punk'd Field AgentTelevision series
2005–2013 The Office Ryan Howard Television series; 164 Episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2006, 2007)
Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2008)
Nominated: Prism Award for Best performance in a Comedy Series (2009)
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Flight Attendant
2007 Knocked Up Unnamed Doctor
Reign Over Me Mr. Fallon
2009 Inglourious Basterds Pfc. Smithson Utivich Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2011 The Smurfs Baker Smurf Voice role
2012 The Dictator Uncredited
2013 The Mindy Project JamieTelevision series
4 episodes
2013 The Internship Male Interviewer
2013 The Smurfs 2 Baker SmurfVoice role
2013 Saving Mr. Banks Robert B. Sherman
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Alistair Smythe
2014 Community Mr. EgyptEpisode: "Basic Sandwich" (cameo)
2014 The Newsroom Lucas PruitTelevision series
4 episodes
2015 Arthur MCEpisode: "The Last Day" (voice)
2016 The Founder Harry J. Sonneborn
2016-2018 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend HimselfEpisodes: "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles" (cameo), "Oh, Nathaniel, It's On!" (cameo)
Roles as a writer
YearTitleNotes
2001–2002 Raising Dad 2 episodes
2005–2012 The Office Episodes written:
  1. "Diversity Day" (March 29, 2005) - Season 1
  2. "Sexual Harassment" (September 27, 2005) - Season 2
  3. "The Fire" (October 11, 2005) - Season 2
  4. "Boys and Girls" (February 2, 2006) - Season 2
  5. "Initiation" (October 19, 2006) - Season 3
  6. "Safety Training" (April 12, 2007) - Season 3
  7. "Local Ad" (October 25, 2007) - Season 4
  8. "Chair Model" (April 17, 2008) - Season 4
  9. "Prince Family Paper" (January 22, 2009) - Season 5
  10. "Dream Team" (April 9, 2009) - Season 5
  11. "Happy Hour" (March 25, 2010) - Season 6
  12. "Counseling" (September 30, 2010) - Season 7
  13. "Threat Level Midnight" (February 17, 2011) - Season 7
  14. "The List" (September 22, 2011) - Season 8
  15. "Free Family Portrait Studio" (May 10, 2012) - Season 8

Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy Series (2006)
Nominated: Writers Guild of America Award for a Comedy Series (2005, 2007, 2008)
Nominated: Writers Guild of America Award for a New Series (2005)
Nominated: Writers Guild of America Award for an Episodic Comedy (2005, 2007)

2013 The Mindy Project 1 episode
Roles as a director
YearTitleNotes
2009 The Office Blackmail webisode series4 episodes
2009The Office – "Scott's Tots"aired 12/03/09
2011The Office - "The Seminar"aired 01/27/11
The Office - "The List"aired 09/22/11
2012The Office – "Trivia"aired 01/12/12
2013 The Mindy Project – "Mindy's Minute"aired 02/19/13
2013The Mindy Project - "Santa Fe"aired 04/09/13

Awards and nominations

List of awards and nominations
YearGroupAwardWorkResult
2005 Writers Guild of America Awards New Series The Office Nominated
Episodic Comedy - for episode "Diversity Day"Nominated
Comedy Series Nominated
2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy Series Won
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series [22] Won
Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Episodic Comedy - for episode "Local Ad"Nominated
Comedy Series Nominated
2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy Series Nominated
2009 Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated

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References

  1. Hoys, Matt; Brooks, Mel (2013). Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People. Chronicle Books. p. 194. ISBN   1452131953.
  2. "B.J. Novak". TV Guide.
  3. Courtney Hollands (20 December 2007). "Molly Goodson has stars in her eyes - and on her blog". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  4. Berman, Alyssa R.; Beborah B. Doroshow (14 May 2001). "BJs Bring a Full House to Sanders". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  5. Novak, William (2006). The Big Book of Jewish Humor. Collins. p. vii. ISBN   0-06-113813-4.
  6. Getlin, John (17 September 1992). "Ghost to the Stars - William Novak Is the Invisible Writer Behind Memoirs by Lee Iacocca, Nancy Reagan and--Soon--Magic Johnson". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  7. Uriel Heilman (November 19, 2006). "Better than Pork, Isn't it? Jewish Joke Book turns 25". JTA. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  8. "Class Notes-Solomon Schechter Day School". www.ssdsboston.org. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Christopher Muther (December 6, 2005). "Class reunion". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on February 24, 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  10. 1 2 3 4 B. J. Novak on IMDb
  11. 1 2 "B.J. Novak: Videos, Jokes, Tour Dates, Biography and more". Jokes.com. ComedyCentral. 2009. Archived from the original on October 20, 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  12. David Hiltbrand, "B.J. Novak gives at 'The Office' and out of it", Philadelphia Inquirer, June 11, 2009.
  13. Julie Bosman, "B.J. Novak, Actor and Writer, Signs Two-Book Deal", nytimes.com, April 12, 2013; accessed September 21, 2013.
  14. "Best Sellers". The New York Times. 30 March 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  15. Towers, Andrea (22 January 2014). "On the Books: B.J. Novak lands children's book deal". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  16. "B.J. Novak introduces new app for people who 'just love lists'". EW.com. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  17. Perez, Sarah. "B.J. Novak's "The List App" rebrands to li.st, arrives on Android". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  18. "List App Shuts Down App, Moves On To New Project". Commaful.
  19. "35 Times Mindy Kaling And B.J. Novak's Best Friendship Killed You In The Heart".
  20. "B.J. Novak on his 'Mindy Project' arc, being BFF with Mindy Kaling, and returning to 'The Office'", ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com, January 29, 2013.
  21. https://www.glamour.com/story/bj-novak-the-mindy-project
  22. Andrew Krukowski, "'Sopranos,' 'The Office' Win SAG Ensemble Awards," TVWeek , January 27, 2008.
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Joey Fatone interviews Novak at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2008)