Seton Hall’s Student Activities Board (SAB) hosted BJ Novak, an actor most prominently known for his role in “The Office,” for a virtual comedic conversation and Q&A on April 30.
The live stream event consisted of a Q&A with Novak and student moderators Joseph Kajon, a sophomore mathematics major, Madison Mindham, a sophomore business management major, and Mariam Elmiligi, a senior marketing major; they are all a part of SAB’s Live Events Committee.
Elmiligi said that when choosing which comedian to bring to the University, the committee considered that most students liked “The Office,” and then continued their search from there.
“We remembered that ‘The Office’ won the [SAB Instagram Story] Netflix bracket last year during quarantine, and we were told BJ Novak was available,” Elmiligi said. “We went forward with him because we felt he would be a perfect fit.”
The Q&A began with Kajon and Elmiligi taking turns asking Novak about his time at Harvard as an undergraduate, his favorite memories doing standup comedy in Los Angeles, and his experience working with Ashton Kutcher on the show ‘Punk’d.’”
SAB’s chat with Novak mainly fixated on his experience making “The Office.” The pair asked Novak about his favorite aspects of writing, acting, and directing the show.
In the second segment of the Q&A, Mindham listed Seton Hall traditions and asked Novak which “The Office'' character would participate in each of them. One example Mindham used was Seton Hall basketball’s Blue Beard Army, which Novak said he thought Dwight Schrute would have passionately participated in.
For the last segment, Novak answered video questions that were submitted by students prior to the Q&A. One of the questions was about which episode of “The Office” Novak wished he was more a part of; Novak said he wished he was more a part of “Dinner Party” (season four, episode 13).
By holding the Q&A online, the SAB Live Events Committee said that there were both challenges and advantages that came with it.
“[Novak] talked really quickly, so it kind of took us by surprise because we ran out of questions really fast,” Mindham said. “An advantage of being online is that we were able to regroup by texting each other and figure out what we were going to do next.”
Kajon added that a challenge of being online was the lack of a live audience.
“Because there was no audience, we could not really tell how the audience was reacting,” Kajon said. “It could have been hard for him [Novak] as the comedian because he could not really build off of the audience.”
Elena Przywarczak, a sophomore psychology major, said that as a fan of Novak and “The Office,” she enjoyed the Q&A.
“I really liked the part where they played videos chosen prior to the event of students asking questions,” Przywarczak said. “It was a great way to get the students involved since it could not be in person.”
After the show, SAB held a virtual meet and greet where a select number of students had the opportunity to briefly meet and get a photo with Novak. Five of these students were chosen through a contest SAB held on Instagram.
Students entered the contest by liking the post, reserving tickets for the Q&A, and commenting the name of their favorite episode of “The Office.” One extra entry was given to those who reposted SAB’s post on their Instagram stories, and five extra entries were given to those who submitted a video question. The students who were chosen for the meet and greet were done so at random.
Erica Orlando, a sophomore elementary and special education double major, was one of the contest winners who attended the meet and greet.
“I have never had the opportunity for anything like it before, and having it be someone from one of my favorite shows made the experience so much more exciting for me,” Orlando said. “It was something I will never forget.”
Brooke McCormick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.