Benjamin Joseph Manaly “B. J.” Novak (born July 31, 1979) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for being a writer and co-executive producer for and playing the role of Ryan Howard on the US version of The Office, as well as appearing in Inglourious Basterds. He has received an Emmy Award for his works for The Office.
Novak was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Linda (née Manaly) and William Novak, who has ghostwritten memoirs for Nancy Reagan, Lee Iacocca, and others. Novak's family is Jewish; his father co-edited The Big Book of Jewish Humor, and his parents also established a Jewish matchmaking service. Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse, an electronic music producer, and Lev, an undergraduate student at Tufts University. He attended Newton South High School with future Office costar John Krasinski, and they graduated in 1997. Novak attended Harvard University, where he worked for the Harvard Lampoon and majored in English and Spanish literature after writing a thesis on Hollywood responses to Shakespeare. In addition to the Lampoon, he occasionally staged and performed in a variety show called The B.J. Show...
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