Hey, Summer Campers!
I bet you can’t wait to have the blast that your summer camp experience is sure to be! You know who else had a blast at summer camp, well-known comedian, Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak. What’s that? You never hear of him? Maybe you know him better simply as B.J. Novak.
B.J., as you may already know, was one of the esteemed writers as well as an executive producer AND played the role of Ryan Howard (initially ‘The Temp.’ or ‘Fire Guy’) on the very successful TV show, The Office, which ran from 2005 to 2013. But that’s not all he’s known for: he’s an engaging stand-up comedian, screenwriter, author, director, and….oh, yeah—a former summer camper.
When he was closer to your age, B.J. spent a summer at Camp Ramah, a network of Jewish summer camps. Camp Ramah has locations all over the map, but, a Massachusite himself, Mr. Novak enjoyed his summer camp stay attending the Palmer, Massachusetts location of this co-ed Jewish camp.
Novak had a pretty average upbringing. He attended Newton South High School (along with his future costar of The Office, John Krasinski, oddly enough) and then went on to Harvard University! After graduating from Harvard in 2001, B.J. moved to L.A. and started doing stand-up in clubs.
It was here that Greg Daniels (the guy who instigated the American adaptation of the original British version of ‘The Office’) spotted Mr. Novak. Greg knew immediately after B.J.’s opening joke that he wanted to get B.J. involved in something. Soon after, B.J. became the very first cast member of the American version of ‘The Office’.
B.J. has trouble accepting his own success from time to time. “Sometimes,” he says, “When this feels too good to be true, I think that if this were all a dream, that would be what should have tipped me off. I’d wake up saying, ‘I was in this incredible TV show and it was a big hit and the star was John Krasinski from high school. Isn’t that weird?’”
Summer camp got B.J. going on the right path. What kind of path will camp put ahead of you? As always, thanks for reading!