March 27, 2008

A Love Letter to B.J. Novak

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Dear B.J. Novak,
I’m not quite sure how to put it any other way but … I’m madly in love with you. I know you wrote for The Harvard Lampoon, so I was inspired to write this letter to you in The Daily Sun. I (jealously) watched you pull stunts like proposing to Mya on MTV’s Punk’d when you first started your career and I just couldn’t get enough of you. I religiously watch you on The Office; the episode “Diversity Day,” which you wrote, totally happens to be my favorite episode. I keep a framed copy of your picture from when you were on the cover of Improper next to my bed and kiss it goodnight every night. I know you’re the oldest of four, did you know I’m the oldest of two? We also like some of the same televisions shows! I like House, South Park, The Daily Show, and My Name is Earl, too!
B.J. I love you so much, I even bought your dad’s book, The Big Book of Jewish Humor, and listen to your brother, Jessie Novak’s, music all the time. We have so much in common. I’ll be sitting front row at your stand up performance at Cornell on Saturday. I can’t wait. Maybe we can hang out after the show? Write me back please!
Love your biggest fan EVER,
Sydney Arkin

This Saturday night, B.J. Novak is making his way over to a sold out Bailey Hall to perform his stand up routine — and there’s a good reason why it’s sold out too. Those of you who’ve locked yourselves up in Olin trying to treat Prelim Fever might not have seen the posters plastered around campus advertising his grand arrival. You might be wondering who exactly this B.J Novak guy is (and why I just confessed my undying love for him above). Let me tell you: B.J. Novak is possibly one of the funniest men alive. “Well that’s a ridiculous statement. I don’t even know who he is,” you might be thinking. I suggest everybody take a step back and consider the facts before you make any more ignorant statements.
Born Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak in 1979, the man happens to be a fellow Ivy Leaguer — he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2001 with a degree in English and Spanish literature. Putting his degrees to the best use possible, Novak is now a writer and producer for the hit television mockumentary, The Office. Whether you watch the show or not, this singular fact means that Novak has almost definitely had an influence on you’re life — and it’s all thanks to one wonderful catch phrase. Ever since the show started broadcasting in the U.S. in 2005, it’s hard to think of a day where I haven’t heard (or even expertly used) the notorious phrase: “That’s what she said.” These four little words miraculously turn any ordinary statement into dirty, amazing sexual innuendo. Used in any crowd of college kids, hilarity ensues — guaranteed. Thanks B.J. Novak.
Not only is Novak one of the great minds behind The Office; he’s a lead character on the show too. His character, Ryan Howard, just happens to be one of the most logical and easily understood people in the show’s titular company, Dunder Mifflin (a paper distributor). As the bitter temp (it’s like a substitute teacher for jobs) turned high-powered executive, Ryan offers an amusing contrast to the overenthusiastic workers of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch. He remains in constant conflict with his boss, Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), and is constantly irked by his zany coworkers.
Aside from The Office (for those of you who don’t appreciate the show’s dry humor), how about stopping to appreciate the other sides of B.J. Novak. For the pranksters out there, Novak actually started his career on the second season of MTV’s Punk’d, where every celebrity found themselves in danger of being humiliated on (hidden) camera. Notably, Novak was able to mortify Hilary Duff by pretending to be a driving instructor who threw a drink at another car and started a fight — I swoon at the thought.
So there we have it. An Ivy Leaguer turned scam artist turned writer/producer/actor is coming to Cornell so we can all see how he does stand up comedy too. In 2003 Novak was named one of Variety’s Top Ten Comics to Watch; his jokes range from topics such as terrorism to Bill Nye the Science Guy; like I said, it’s no wonder tickets sold out so quickly. Saturday night is going to be spectacular for those lucky students who get to be with B.J. Novak.
That’s what she said.