An Exclusive Interview With BJ Novak!
We sent HelloGiggles’ teen correspondent Julia Abate to track down author B.J. Novak in New York City and get him to talk about his very funny new book (and anything else she found exciting). Here’s what she dug up.
Earlier this week, at a Barnes and Noble on the Upper East Side, the events room was flooded with people laughing out loud while listening to B.J. Novak read his new children’s book, “The Book With No Pictures.” I was so thrilled to be able to interview him and get the inside scoop on B.J.; including some thoughts on his latest book and his preferred pizza topping, which might surprise you!
HelloGiggles: Your new book has so many crazy creative words. Where did you get the inspiration for them and for the book itself?
B.J. Novak: I get my inspiration in everything from picturing the audience. I guess I’m a natural comedian, or maybe I’m just really desperate for approval, but I’m always thinking of the people who will read or watch what I do. When I wrote for The Office, I pictured the people at home watching their televisions and what they’d want to see. When I wrote “The Book With No Pictures” I imagined a little kid and what that little kid would want to hear. So the audience is my inspiration, but in this case the audience was about five years old.
HG: You’ve written another book, “One More Thing,” and written episodes for The Office, which are both super hilarious but not particularly child-friendly. What made you decide to write a children’s book?
BN: I love all types of audiences and I especially love children. Whenever I’m around children, I find I always want to make them laugh. I think laughter is kind of like a drug and the laughter of kids is the most intense drug of all, so whenever it was time to read a book to a kid, I just always hoped there was a funny book around. Eventually I realized I should just write a funny book for kids myself and see if it works.
HG: What was your favorite book to read as a child and did it have any influence on “The Book With No Pictures”?
BN: My favorite book as a child was probably “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. It has lots of different poems that are all very funny and mischievous and I liked that intelligent, funny things could still feel kind of rebellious. Thats what I tried to do in “The Book With No Pictures,” I wanted to make it feel like books were a fun and rebellious thing for kids.
HG: I laughed out loud during “The Book With No Pictures” and was particularly intrigued by the blueberry pizza. Have you ever eaten a blueberry pizza?
BN: As far as I know there is no such thing as a blueberry pizza. I did drink a blueberry beer once and thought it was a little weird. I’ve definitely had blueberry muffins. I can’t even imagine what a blueberry pizza would be like although perhaps someone should try it because I didn’t think pineapple on pizza would be any good and in fact it’s delicious.
HG: What is your favorite pizza topping?
BN: I try not to eat too much pizza because it’s not very good for you, but my favorite pizza is pineapple and jalepeño. I know it sounds crazy but I find that the spicy and sweet together are really great.
HG: You are a seriously talented author. Can we expect another big hit from you?
BN: I hope so. The most important thing to me is that people enjoy what I write and I really care about that more than anything else. That said, if your book is a big hit it’s often a very good indicator that a lot of people are enjoying it. I hope I do lots of things in different fields. If you had asked me three years ago if I’d ever write a book, I might have said maybe not and certainly a children’s book had not occurred to me. So who knows what I’ll do next? I hope it will be something in TV or film because I really liked how many people I could reach with The Office and I would like to try that type of thing next.
HG: There is a rumor going around that your sister Keough is actually the one who wrote “The Book With No Pictures.” Is this true?
BN: Wow. Well I definitely have a suspect in mind as to who started that rumor. I have no doubt it comes directly from Keough Novak herself, who is also a HelloGiggles contributor. I would like to refute that rumor once and for all: Keough Novak did not write a word of “The Book With No Pictures.” If anything, I’m the one that writes the things that she publishes. So there.