Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak is an American actor, writer, comedian and director. Novak was one of the writers and executive producers of “The Office,” in which he also played Ryan Howard. Take a look below for 27 more interesting and fascinating facts about B.J. Novak.
1. Novak was born on July 31, 1979, in Newton, Massachusetts.
2. His parents are Linda and author William Novak.
3. Novak’s family is Jewish.
4. 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.
5. Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse, a composer, and Lev.
6. He attended Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston for elementary school and middle school.
7. He went to Camp Ramah in New England for a couple summers when he was a teenager.
8. He attended Newton South High School with future “The Office” costar John Krasinski, 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.
10. He majored in English and Spanish literature, and wrote his honors thesis on the films of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
11. 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.
12. Following his graduation from Harvard, he moved to Los Angeles, California and began working in clubs as a comedian.
13. His first live stand-up performance took place at the Hollywood Youth Hostel on October 10, 2001. He was named one of Variety’s “Ten Comedians To Watch” in 2003.
14. Novak was a writer for the short-lived The WB sitcom “Raising Dad.”
15. He performed on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
16. Novak’s television acting career began on MTV’s “Punk’d.”
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. On February 4, 2014 a book of 22 stories, “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories,” was published and spent 6 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers List.
20. 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.
21. 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.”
22. On October 14, 2015 Novak released an Apple iOS app along with co-founder Dev Flaherty called The List App.
23. In September 2017, the app was shut down, citing that the growth wasn’t enough to sustain the current product.
24. Novak has a close friendship with Mindy Kaling, whom he met through writing for “The Office.”
25. 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.
26. He served as a consulting producer for Season 1 of “The Mindy Project,” and has appeared on the show several times, though his formal producing role ended after the first season.
27. Novak is the godfather of Kaling’s firstborn daughter, Katherine.