Benjamin Joseph Manaly 'B. J.' Novak (born July 31, 1979) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for being a writer and co-executive producer for and playing the role of Ryan Howard on The Office, as well as appearing in Inglourious Basterds. Novak was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Linda (nee Manaly) and William Novak, who has ghostwritten memoirs for Nancy Reagan, Lee Iacocca, and others. Novak's family is Jewish; his father co-edited The Big Book of Jewish Humor, and his parents also established a Jewish matchmaking service. Novak has two younger brothers, Jesse, a composer, and Lev, an undergraduate student at Tufts University.
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