George Mason Law School

Novak makes stand-up appearance

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February 8, 2008

5:21 PM

“The Office” star B.J. Novak came to Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall Friday Feb. 1 to perform for a sold-out crowd. The lengthy applause Novak received was not surprising, given that he is a writer, producer, and an actor on one of today’s most popular television shows.

p. Surprising, however, was that the opener, Pete Holmes (VH1’s “Best Week Ever”), actually outshined the adored “temp.” Holmes spent some time exploring Williamsburg and poked fun at our “social awkwardness.” Joking about our unexpected friendliness, he said he made a game of smiling at strangers and receiving waves. He was also shocked that we had “Puritan ghosts” in the bookstore. Holmes’ quick timing and excellent impressions of various “Food Network” stars were well worth the price of admission.

p. Novak’s performance included a briefcase full of one-liners, a mini-puppet show and a children’s mystery story. After gaining national attention by virtue of his well-known television show, he commented how sometimes it takes a while for strangers to recognize him, resulting in some interesting flights during which “The Office” is shown.

p. After Novak’s stand-up routine, he encouraged the audience to ask questions. Most focused on “The Office” and his future career plans. Some of the more provocative questions included, “If you’re a writer, how come it took you so long to go from Michael’s bitch to corporate boss?” and a request to sing “Ryan Started the Fire,” which he begrudgingly did. He even received an invitation to hang out at the Green Leafe after the show, where a handful of lucky students got to meet him. Novak signed autographs and took pictures with die-hard fans for an hour after the show.

p. Novak is more of a situation-comic, meaning he’s better at pulling off awkwardly humorous situations than cheesy one-liners. We’re more accustomed to the hilarious interactions between Ryan, Michael and Dwight on “The Office,” and that proved difficult to reproduce with just one-third of the dream team.

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