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Benjamin Joseph Manaly “B. J.” Novak (born July 31, 1979) is an Americanmarker actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, and director. As an actor, he has appeared in films, including Knocked Up and Inglourious Basterds, and plays Ryan Howard on the NBC sitcom The Office. He is also a writer and co-executive producer for the Emmy Award-winning show.

Early life

Novak was born and raised in Newton, Massachusettsmarker, the son of Linda and William Novak. Novak's father co-edited The Big Book of Jewish Humor and has ghostwritten memoirs for Nancy Reagan, Lee Iacocca, and others; Novak's parents also established a Jewish matchmaking service. Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse and Lev. He attended Newton South High Schoolmarker with future Office costar John Krasinski, and they graduated in 1997. Novak attended Harvard Universitymarker, where he worked for the Harvard Lampoonmarker and majored in English and Spanish literature. 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 wrote his honors thesis on the films of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Career

Novak in June 2007
Novak graduated from Harvardmarker in 2001. Afterward he moved to Los Angelesmarker and began working in clubs as a comedian. His first live stand-up performance took place on October 10, 2001 at the Hollywoodmarker Youth Hostel. He was named one of Variety's "Ten Comedians To Watch" in 2003.

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

Novak's 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 was most widely known for his pranks on Hilary Duff, Usher, and Mýa.

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. He is also a writer and co-executive producer for the series. In a June 2009 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Novak spoke about sharing the success of The Office with his Newton South High Schoolmarker classmate John Krasinski:

In addition to his television credits, Novak has appeared in the films Unaccompanied Minors, Reign Over Me, Knocked Up and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

Filmography

As actor

Year Film Role Notes
2003 Punk'd Field Agent TV series
2005-present The Office Ryan Howard 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 Reign Over Me Mr. Fallon
Knocked Up Unnamed Doctor
2009 Inglourious Basterds Pfc. Smithson Utivich


As writer

Year Title Notes
2001-2002 Raising Dad 2 episodes
2005-present The Office 10 episodes:
Diversity Day (March 29, 2005)
Sexual Harassment (September 27, 2005)
The Fire (October 11, 2005)
Boys and Girls (February 2, 2006)
Initiation (October 19, 2006)
Safety Training (April 12, 2007)
Local Ad (October 25, 2007)
Chair Model (April 17, 2008)
Prince Family Paper (January 22, 2009)
Dream Team (April 9, 2009)
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)


As director

Year Title Notes
2009 The Office - Blackmail webisode series 4 episodes


Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Won Film/Television series
2005 Writers Guild of America Awards New Series No The Office
Episodic Comedy - for episode Diversity Day No
Comedy Series No
2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Yes
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy Series Yes
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Yes
Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series No
Writers Guild of America Awards Episodic Comedy - for episode Local Ad No
Comedy Series No
2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series No
Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series No
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy Series No
2009 Prism Awards Performance in a Comedy Series No


References

  1. B.J. Novak - Biography
  2. B.J. Novak gives at 'The Office' and out of it
  3. B.J. Novak Takes 'Office' Leave
  4. Screen Actors Guild Honors Outstanding Film and Television Performances..., a January 2007 press release from the SAG Awards website
  5. 'Sopranos,' 'The Office' Win SAG Ensemble Awards, a January 2008 TVWeek article


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