A Masshole who threatens a planetarium scientist to find out the secret of the universe and a woman who is intent on sleeping with the happily married motivational speaker Tony Robbins — these are just some of the characters in B.J. Novak's upcoming book, One More Thing. And we're sorta jealous we didn't think of them first.
Novak was on hand at Comic Con (he's starring in the next Spiderman movie) to read from his book of short stories, which comes comes out on February 4. Novak's panel has been the funniest one that I've been to at New York Comic Con so far. Here's a snippet (excuse the poor audio) of one of his short stories, about a woman's whose life goal is to copulate with a reluctant Tony Robbins, a Robbins who is more turned on by motivating her to achieve her life goal than he is by her:
The two stories Novak told are the kind funny that makes writers jealous of his humor, pace and wit if they, like you, weren't busy laughing. What's curious is that Novak's collection of stories, is the lovechild of what happens when you put fiction writing and stand-up comedy and lock them in a room. "I'll read stories ... then see how they play," Novak said, explaining his process. "I write first, then perform, then edit," he added.
He told the panel that the audience more or less is an editor. If he sees a lull in their eyes he cuts and pares down the passage that induced the interest coma. If they laugh, he fleshes that part out more. This reactive, living kind of fiction is a concept that most writers never bother to try and might be downright too scared to attempt. But if Novak's writing is the result of this process, more writers should try it. "I immediately wanted to test whatever I did," Novak said, referring to how comedy writing and the process of writing for The Office affected his short stories.
"That's the first time I've written without a pen in my hand," he told the audience on Thursday. He didn't need one.