B. J. Novak’s collection One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories contains a fun bunch of stories and by “bunch” I mean a lot- 63 stories to be exact. Novak is best known for his writing and acting work on the American television sitcom The Office. A thank you goes out to Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice for making me aware of this book.
I found the book to be a notch above the typical stand-up type of material found in the books of many television comedians. For the most part, the reason would be that these are actually stories and not just funny commentary. As with any group of 63 stories, some are better than others.
One of them that stood out to me, “Julie and the Warlord”, could have easily been the result of an improvisational suggestion. I can hear a comedian telling the audience that Julie is a single, twenty-something girl at a nice restaurant on a first date with…and then someone in the audience yells out “a warlord from The Congo”. And as the story continues, comedy ensues over the dessert menu.
Another one, “The Comedy Central Roast of Nelson Mandela”, reaches the epitome of political incorrectness; in fact, I thought it went a little too far over the edge but nobody expects television comedians to be the most tasteful group of people. On the other hand, “Sophia” is the story of a man who buys a female robot that falls in love with him. Where this could have gone down the lewd and crude road (which many of the stories do), it actually ends up being quite sweet. And then we have “Wikipedia Brown and The Case of the Missing Bicycle” which took me chuckling down memory lane.
I wonder if Novak is writing a novel? I bet it would be worth reading.