B.J. Novak came to the San Francisco offices of Medium recently to talk about comedy’s relationship to the dark side with Foreword host Kelly Corrigan. In this excerpt, Corrigan asks Novak to explain why a very grim quote about marriage is so wickedly funny. His response speaks to the close ties between what makes us laugh, what makes us cringe and what makes us weep.
Novak is a comedian, actor and writer known for his work in The Office, where he was also an executive producer, and in films like Inglorious Basterds and Saving Mr. Banks. His book of short stories, One More Thing, was published by Knopf last year. Foreword — hosted by the bestselling author Kelly Corrigan (The Middle Place, LIFT), is a digital series where thinkers and writers take on big ideas in front of a live studio audience.