B.J. Novak Creates a Detective for Our Time

Ex- "The Office" worker reads us more than one thing from "One More Thing," his new story collection.

10 years ago, TV producer Greg Daniels caught  B.J. Novak doing standup at an L.A. nightclub.  Novak’s opening joke (oh how we wish we knew what it was) convinced Daniels to make him the first cast member hired onto a little sitcom called “The Office.”  Novak went on to write, direct and produce the show — all the while amassing big-screen credits in films like “Inglourious Basterds,”  and most recently “Saving Mr. Banks.”

This week, he released his first book, the humor collection “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.”  Then he stopped by our studios to read us several — including this modern take on a childhood classic.

(PS click here to hear  an extra one, to boot.)


I’m B.J. Novak, and this is a story from my book “One More Thing.” This story is entitled “Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Bicycle.”


It was a quiet Sunday. Wikipedia Brown was sipping lemonade with his friend Sally when all of a sudden their classmate Joey ran in out of breath.

“Help!” said Joey. “Someone stole my bike! I left it outside the library this morning. Who stole it?”

“The modern-day chain bicycle was patented in Germany in 1817,” said Wikipedia Brown. “Ten-speed bikes became popular in the United States in the 1970s. Carrot Top uses a bicycle as a prop in his popular mainstream comedy act.”

“Oooh, Carrot Top,” said Joey. “Whatever happened to him?”

“Carrot Top was born Scott Thompson in Big Bear City, California, in 1965,” said Wikipedia Brown.

“Big Bear City? What an odd name. Is that a real place?” asked Joey.

“Big Bear City is an unincorporated census-designated location in San Bernardino County, California, with a population of…”

“Wait! Let’s not get distracted,” said Sally. “Every time we talk to Wikipedia Brown, we get distracted. We spend hours and hours with him, and we always forget what we were supposed to investigate in the first place.”

“Sally is a bad detective and well-known for her promiscuity,” said Wikipedia Brown. “Citation needed.”

“Is that true?” asked Joey—his intentions unclear.

“No,” said Sally, fuming with anger. “I don’t know who told him that. It could have been anyone. Literally, anyone.”

“The government caused 9/11!” Wikipedia Brown shouted suddenly, for no reason.

Sally pulled Wikipedia Brown aside. “Are you sure you’re okay, Wikipedia?”

“I’m not perfect,” said Wikipedia Brown. “I never said I was. But I work fast, and I work for free, and I’m everyone’s best friend. Plus, I’m getting better by the second—and it’s all thanks to people like you.”

Sally smiled. She liked being part of Wikipedia’s process.

“Okay, Wikipedia,” said Sally. “But I have a question for you, Joey. You say you left your bike outside the library this morning? It’s Sunday morning. The library is closed.”

Wikipedia Brown stood up with a start. “George W. Bush is the father of Miley Cyrus’s baby!” announced Wikipedia Brown, “This story is under review.”