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BJ Novak: A closer look at our fall concert performer

By Derek Rose
On September 20, 2012

  • A shot of BJ Novak. this year's fall concert performer

   You can see the posters everywhere; bright and florescent fliers hung up in every dorm, coating every wall, each one bearing the same smiling face. Yet, even with this overabundance of advertisements, many students have asked the question: "Who is the guy performing at our Fall Concert?" Other than dedicated fans of NBC's Emmy-award winning show, "The Office," the average Marist student may be unfamiliar with comedian/actor/writer/director/Harvard graduate B.J. Novak, this years Fall Concert performer.

   A survey was conducted in which 75 randomly selected Marist students were asked as to whether or not they were familiar with Novak. The results revealed 32 yes's and 43 no's. Using this sample as a relative gauge for the student body, it can be presumed that roughly fifty-seven percent of Marist students have been deprived of Novak and his incredible humor. So, who is this young performer unknown to the masses, and why should we be so excited?.

   Novak began his career performing stand-up comedy on popular television shows such as Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."Soon after his career took flight (or rather, hampered flutter), Novak appeared on MTV's "Punk'd" wherein he became a key member of the iconic celebrity prank show. He also played Pfc. Smithson Utivich in the blockbuster film "Inglorious Bastards," alongside Brad Pitt and Christopher Waltz.            However, Novak is most notably recognized for his role as Ryan Howard on "The Office," the critically adored show that ignited his career. In addition to his performance, Novak wrote and produced many of the show's most notable episodes, helping to elevate the popular sitcom to its current level of cult adoration.  

   On the show, Ryan begins as an intern and the hilarious "mancrush" of his boss, who is played by Michael Scott. Over the course of the series Ryan works his way up the corporate ladder of Dunder Mifflin, a fictitious paper distributer and then rapidly descends into the depths of unemployment, only to once again regain a job at the quirky paper company. His work on the show has earned him a Screen Actor's Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, a Writer's Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Series and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

   The show has aired 168 episodes over the years, with Novak's character appearing in 164 of them; this makes it somewhat difficult, if not utterly impossible, to rank Ryan's funniest moments on the show, but here we go:

5)"Shareholder Meeting" - After mocking Jim, the newly appointed co-manager, over the fact that he does not have the ability to fire anyone, Jim retaliates by stuffing Ryan's desk, computer and chair are stuffed into a small. He immediately begins to profusely apologize and state that he will stay after to do his work. Seeing Ryan grovel uncontrollably is endlessly amusing.      

4) "Take Your Daughter To Work Day" -When office salesman, Stanley thinks that Ryan is hitting on his fifteen year old daughter at "Bring Your Child to Work Day," he goes off on a rant that nearly sends the young intern into tears. After the incident, Ryan, still visibly shaken by the ordeal, states: "That was one of the most frightening experiences of my life."

3) "Gossip" -In the first episode of season six, Ryan looks to reform his lifestyle by becoming more mellow, and learning to appreciate the arts. He shows up to work in full hipster fashion, touting thick-rimmed glasses, a generic sweater with suspenders and a bowtie to top it all off. This new poetry loving, scarf wearing, sensitive shell that was Ryan Howard contrasts so much against the power hungry alcoholic he was before that it becomes impossible not to burst out in laughter.

2) "Night Out" -Fresh off a promotion from office temp to Vice President of Dunder Mifflin by the beginning of season 4, Ryan suffers from extreme anxiety after the website he designed for the company is hacked by child predators. In a hilarious skit, Ryan, Michael and Dwight go to a nightclub in New York City for Ryan to let off some steam. Clearly under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, Ryan is kicked out of the club for getting too out of hand.    

1) "The Fire" - In "The Fire," Ryan constantly shows up his boss, Michael by knowing more about business than him. After a fire alarm goes off in the building, the workers run outside where Ryan continues to flaunt his knowledge over Michael, except this time in front of all the other employees. In a moment that goes down in "Office" fame, it is proven that Ryan accidently started the fire by burning a cheesy pita in the microwave. This sparks countless jabs that Ryan knows so much about business, yet cannot even work a microwave. Eventually Michael and Dwight break out in a parody of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," but change the words to "Ryan started the fire."

   Tickets for the show, which is set for September 27th at 9:00 p.m. in the McCann Center, are now on sale for $10. Take my word and come to the concert, you will not be disappointed.

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