B.J. Novak performs at the Illini Union

By Phil Collins

A capacity crowd in the ballroom on the Illini Union’s second floor gave B.J. Novak plenty of laughs and applause Friday night. Although the show started at 9 p.m. – 90 minutes late – excitement filled the room when he walked on stage.

“I thought it was great, the students were really enthusiastic,” said Novak, who plays Ryan Howard on NBC’s “The Office.”

Novak, who also writes for “The Office,” said he wished the weather was better so the show could have been done on the Quad as was originally planned.

Wristbands were given to those who arrived early enough and some people were turned away when the capacity of the room was reached. Rain forced the standup comedy show off the Quad and into the Illini Union.

Allison Pigatto, junior in ACES and Emily Seifert, junior in AHS, both said they enjoyed the show.

“He was different than his character I thought, which I thought was interesting,” Seifert said.

In his standup set, Novak covered topics ranging from Wikipedia to Google maps and took questions from the audience about life in “The Office.” In one segment of his set, which Pigatto said she found particularly funny, he tested out new jokes and either put them back in his briefcase or threw them in the garbage, depending on the audience reaction.

From the planned starting time for the show, 7:30 p.m., to the actual start at 9 p.m., episodes of “The Office” were shown on a projector screen and prizes were raffled off including bags of candy, T-shirts and DVDs.