The Office
The B.J. Novak Interview

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
"It Was Just So Intellectually Stimulating And Inspiring; It Was All I Wanted To Do"
WC: How did you happen to get the job on The Office? BJN: [Executive Producer] Greg Daniels saw me do standup. This is probably over two years ago now, because the pilot was so long ago. And he called me in for a meeting with him; he thought I would be good for this small role that he was considering putting in, of the temp. He also knew that I had been a writer, and was interested in trying out writer/performers for the show, and was willing to read some of my writing samples. We talked for over an hour -- it was the most exciting meeting I had ever had -- about the British Office and his theories of comedy, and he drew me these Venn diagrams explaining his theory of television comedy, and it was so exciting for me. I mean, he's this genius in his little-- not "little"; in his palatial King Of The Hill office. It was just so intellectually stimulating and inspiring; it was all I wanted to do. So I was discovered first, I guess, as an actor, by about fifteen minutes. And I had other things I could have done -- I'd just been on Punk'd as an actor -- and all I wanted to do was this show that everyone thought was such a terrible idea to remake, and [Steve] Carell wasn't involved, and it was not something anyone considered a good bet, but I knew exactly what Greg wanted to do, and I so wanted to work with him; I knew exactly who he was when I got called to meet him. So that's kind of a chock-filled anecdote of an answer. You can make several answers with that question. WC: You really overestimate my ability to massage this into, like, a fancy Vanity Fair type of profile. BJN: I will work harder. WC: No, I will. So there's a whole crew of writer/actors on the show -- you, obviously; Mindy Kaling; and Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby. How did it happen that there was so much crossover between the two camps? BJN: It started just with me -- that was the concept with me, or the gimmick, or whatever; the fun little experiment. But Greg had smartly built into every writer's contract some sort of acting hold -- I'm not quite sure what, but he did have in the contract that he could call them to act. I guess maybe this is a Saturday Night Live mentality -- I know they have a lot of crossover there, and Greg used to work there -- and he hired, even as extras in the pilot, Angela [Kinsey] and Oscar [Nuñez]; he hired people who he knew were improv people who could bring their own ideas to the role. So we always kind of thought of it as a small, creative group. And that's, obviously, how Ricky Gervais did it; he wrote and acted.

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16Next

The Office




Get the most of your experience.
Share the Snark!

See content relevant to you based on what your friends are reading and watching.

Share your activity with your friends to Facebook's News Feed, Timeline and Ticker.

Stay in Control: Delete any item from your activity that you choose not to share.

The Latest Activity On TwOP