The Office star and writer BJ Novak has revealed why he decided to quit the show before the final season 9. The Office ran on NBC from 2005 to 2013, and even though it’s been close to a decade since the series finale premiered, the show remains incredibly popular and continues to capture the attention of new audiences every year. The mockumentary-style series revolves around the employees of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and their hilariously cringe-worthy antics led by their boss Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell.
The comedy series features an ensemble cast with the likes of Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak, to mention a few. Novak plays the role of Ryan Howard, a temp worker who turns into a full-time employee by the start of The Office season 3. He also co-wrote and produced many episodes of the beloved sitcom and earned an Emmy Award nomination for his role as producer. Novak has also appeared in some major Hollywood films over the years, including Inglorious Basterds, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Saving Mr. Banks and The Founder.
Novak sat down to discuss his time making The Office and opened up about what led him to quit the series in a recent episode of the Armchair Expert podcast (via Cheat Sheet). The actor explained that there were “a few things” that factored into his decision to leave the show, but said the primary reason was that he was “burnt out.” He also admitted that he lost the passion to carry on with season 9 and said that he “just couldn’t do it anymore.” Read his full quote below:
“I was burnt out, Mindy (Kaling) had left. Carell had left. And they wanted a new showrunner and they asked if I would want to do that and I couldn’t imagine it. And I also couldn’t imagine just hanging around without it. And I just couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t have the love.”
Novak continued to look back on his time making The Office. He confessed he regretted “not enjoying any of it as much as I should have,” saying he felt “insecure and nervous” at the time. Ultimately, this stress during production likely contributed further to Novak’s decision to prematurely leave the show down the line. The writer/actor also revealed that co-creator and fellow writer on the show, Greg Daniels, attempted to keep him in the fold, but he refused. Novak said that “sometimes you just know when it’s time.” Moreover, the writer disclosed that he was “unhappy” even after quitting The Office, as his fatigue carried over to his work on former co-star Kaling’s show, The Mindy Project.
While Novak may have left the show prematurely, he did make an appearance in the series finale in season 9, episode 25, where his character Ryan once again reunites with Mindy Kaling’s Kelly Kapoor at Dwight and Angela’s wedding. Novak was one of the first writers to be recruited for The Office along with Kaling and Daniels, which speaks volumes about his talent. It’s quite clear that he is a gifted writer and comedian, and despite his leaving The Office before its end, has most definitely cemented his legacy as one of the best in the business, joining the ranks of iconic comic actors like Steve Carell.