Commentary
5:00 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Novak Masters Short Comedy In 'One More Thing'

B.J. Novak cut his writing teeth on comedic TV scripts, most notably for "The Office" where he also played Ryan Howard.

Eventually, he got a book contract. Instead of a comic memoir, Novak set to work writing short fiction in One More Thing: Stories and More Stories.

B.J. Novak
B.J. Novak
Credit Greg Hernandez / Creative Commons

Novak’s father was a ghost writer whose book Iacocca sold millions of copies but only paid a flat fee—from this, Novak learned how to negotiate the publishing world. He landed a six-figure, two-book contract with the most prestigious literary publishing company, Alfred A Knopf.

Some of the 63 stories are very short, three lines, like 'If You Love Something': “If you love something, let it go. If you don’t love something, definitely let it go. Basically, just drop everything, who cares.”

Or the Literalist’s Love Poem: “Roses are rose, violets are violet, I love you.”

Novak also riffs on his Ivy League education to satirize translations of classic literature like Don Quixote and Anna Karenina in “J.C. Audetat, Translator of Don Quixote.” He reimagines the widely known Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective in “Wikipedia Brown and the case of the Missing Bicycle.”

One of my favorites is the diary of the inventor of the calendar. January starts with excitement and promise, but by December 26, the inventor feels fat.

B.J. Novak was born to entertain. The stories in One More Thing prove he is a master of yet one more medium in which to do so.