“Where do I know him from?” This is what I was constantly asked while reading B.J Novak’s book, One More thing. Novak’s picture is on the back of the book, so people recognize him. He isn’t known as an author, as this is his first book. B.J. Novak was widely known as Ryan Howard, the jealous, pushy, desperate-to-keep-up Dunder Mifflin employee from the popular TV Show, “The Office.” I am a fan of him not only in this role, but also in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” in which he starred opposite Brad Pitt, along with the recent Disney movie, “Saving Mr. Banks.” Other than being an actor, Novak also wrote for “The Office,” and, in my opinion, is a genius stand-up comedian. However, even within the realm of alt comedy, Novak had ideas for things he put aside. Usually when someone has an idea for something that they put aside, they forget about it. Instead, Novak began writing these ideas down. These stories, from short paragraphs to 6-page scripts, are what make up the book.
The stories themselves, are amazing. Most of them are hilarious, full of such clean and smart humor that really makes you laugh out loud. Some of them, however, lack in laugh-out-loud humor, instead being beautiful and observational while still making a clever joke.
For example, an amazingly hilarious story would be something like “Wikipedia Brown,” a child detective who, despite his friend’s best efforts, is only as useful as people let him be. There is also another chapter in the form of the transcription of the unaired comedy central roast of Nelson Mandela. This is something that made me laugh especially hard.
Then again, there were the things that made me die of laughter on the inside, but at the same time, I was just being appreciative of what a beautiful piece of writing I just read. Like, For example, in a short story called “Sophia,” is a man telling the story of how he bought a sex robot, only to have it develop a consciousness and fall in love with him, which is exactly not what he wanted. It is almost a parody of the recent film “Her,” but the roles are reversed. It is amazingly funny, but so representative of human behavior that it doesn’t have to be as hilarious as it is.
Novak, other than being a great and hilarious writer, encapsulates the most real characters in the most relatable situations. Fans of David Sedaris will be happy, and people that aren’t fans of humor in general will also be satisfied. Many people have long reading lists, but I recommend that you drop whatever it is you are reading and pick up B.J Novak’s One More Thing.