Benjamin Joseph Manaly “B.J.” Novak (born July 31, 1979) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, and director. He appears as Ryan Howard on the NBC sitcom The Office, and is a writer and co-executive producer for the Emmy Award-winning show.
Novak's father William Novak is a ghostwriter and the co-editor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor. Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse and Lev. Jesse is an electronic music composer and former member of the sketch comedy group Olde English.
Novak grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, as did John Krasinski; the two played Little League baseball together. Krasinski has said that Novak was a "home run king of Little League." They both graduated from Newton South High School. While in high school, Novak wrote and cast a satirical play for the senior show, and cast Krasinski as the lead – his first role since sixth grade. Krasinski credits this event for spurring his interest in acting. After high school, the two only saw each other incidentally.