Benjamin Joseph Manaly "B. J." Novak (born July 31, 1979) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, author, and director. He is most widely known for being a writer and executive producer of The Office, in which he also played Ryan Howard.
Novak was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Linda (née 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. He attended Newton South High School with future Office costar John Krasinski, and they graduated in 1997. Novak graduated from 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. 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.
Novak graduated from Harvard University in 2001. Afterward 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. He was named one of Variety's "Ten Comedians To Watch" in 2003...
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