B.J. Novak Spring Comedy Show

After two solid opening performances from TCNJ’s Mixed Signals and the hilarious sketch comedy group Kiss on the Lips, B.J. Novak strolled on the stage at Kendall Hall to a roaring round of applause. He delivers his first joke of the night- Office themed, of course, “That was I lot bigger than I was prepared for! …That’s what she said.”

Novak is an actor, comedian, screenwriter, author, and director, most widely known for playing Ryan Howard on The Office, as well as being a writer and executive producer of the show.  

He opened the show just like every comedy show seems to start at TCNJ, by pulling out The Signal and making fun of sections like “Fun Stuff” and the ever-popular “Cop-Shop.”

A running joke through his entire show was one passage from Cop-Shop, about a student who “might have inhaled more than marijuana,” and possibly inhaled some glass from his new bowl. Novak joked, “I hope he’s okay, but is this not the epitome of ‘Dude you’re too stoned!’”

He continued with his standup routine, and joked about how celebrities are usually pretty calm on Twitter, but when it comes to airlines, all hell breaks loose. He warned all Communications majors in the room to never take a job in social media for an airline, because “no one is ready for that level and specificity of abuse.”

Novak also included a little history lesson in his comedy routine, asking the audience if they knew what TCNJ was called before the name was changed. Most people shouted out “Trenton State,” but Novak had an even earlier name in mind. In 1855, TCNJ was in fact named New Jersey State Normal School, which Novak thought was hilarious. “Oh where do you go to school?” “I’m a normal guy I go to Normal School!” he joked.

He liked to jump around from joke to joke with very little transitions, but I was a little shocked when he starting his next joke by stating bluntly, “You know what I like about porn?”“Everyone’s a star,” he continued. Unlike showbiz where it takes a while for actors to make it to stardom, everyone who appears in porn is automatically a porn star. “You’ll never hear of an underrated porn star, they’re all stars!”

Novak then decided to test his jokes on the crowd and let us chose what jokes we liked and which ones we didn’t. He took out a handful of jokes on notecards, stating that he’d keep the ones we laughed at, and would throw the others away in the trash “to stay here in New Jersey.”

He started a joke with “I used to sponsor an orphan,” but stopped when too many people in the audience laughed. Novak joked about how that wasn’t the part of the joke that was supposed to be funny, and when he finished the joke and no one laughed he said “Oh I get it, it was funnier when I was just sponsoring an orphan!” Later in the show he referenced back to that moment, laughing while saying that we “love the weirdest stuff.”

For one of his last jokes of the night, B.J. wanted to have a round of applause for Bill Nye, because with a last name that rhymes with guy, he could’ve became anything, “Bill Nye could’ve sold out and became ‘Bill Nye the Mattress Guy,’ but he chose science!”

(Photo was made and tweeted by my friend Emily, and B.J. favorited her tweet after the show!)

B.J. then allowed the audience to ask a few questions, and it was clear there were some huge Office fans in the room. The questions ranged from “So, have you ever been to Thailand?” to “What is your favorite Office episode?” and “What character would you want to have played if you didn’t play Ryan?” To those B.J. answered, “I had some great Thai food in Florida,” “‘The Injury,’” and “Easy, I would have loved to play Toby. Michael screaming at you with irrational hatrid is a great way to live!”

Novak closed the show by calling Rainn Wilson (who plays Dwight on The Office,) after being asked the question “Is Dwight the same in real life as he is on the show?”

Unfortunately, Rainn did not pick up, but we left a voicemail for him, screaming “Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica!”

B.J. ended the show there, stating “To answer your question, he’s a real asshole.”