Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak, better known as B.J. Novak, is a stand-up comedian, actor, and writer who can be seen as the shy Ryan Howard on the NBC sitcom The Office
. Novak is also a writer and co-producer of several of the show's episodes.
Novak grew up in Newton Massachusetts, a city near Boston. He graduated from Newton South High School along with The Office
co-star John Krasinski
and enrolled in Harvard University, where he earned a degree in English and Spanish literature.
After graduating in 2001, Novak moved to Los Angeles where he began working in clubs as a comedian. His first live stand-up performance was on October 10, 2001 at the Hollywood Youth Hostel. He soon became a fixture at the popular L.A. comedy clubs like The Improv and was named one of Variety's "Ten Comedians To Watch" in 2003. He has since performed on Comedy Central's Premium Blend
and on Late Night with Conan O' Brien
. Besides The Office
, Novak has also appeared on MTV's Punk'd
. As a writer, Novak's credits include work on Universal's adaptation of the television spy series Get Smart
as well as other projects.