Actor B.J. Novak Admits to 1997 Prank on Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts

We hope you had a very nice holiday and a long weekend, and we realize that you’re probably a bit grumpy at being back to the grind, so let’s start off a bit gently with something fun, shall we? Over the weekend, at a fundraiser at his alma mater high school, the actor B.J. Novak, of NBC‘s The Office, confessed to a prank he’d pulled on Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts more than a decade ago. Boston Globe recounts the great story of Novak and his friends deciding to re-record the audio guide given out to guests visiting the museum’s popular 1997 exhibition, “Tales from the Land of Dragons.” To make it more convincing, a friend with a thick Eastern European accent provided the narration, and the pranksters swapped the tapes after legitimately paying for tickets and audio guide rentals. It’s a great, fun story, and something we wish we’d thought of when we were 17. Here’s a bit:

“The first three minutes of the tape were completely accurate … but about 3 minutes in, the tour started getting a little weird. The guy started injecting his personal opinions. He’d say, ’Personally I think this painting is a piece of crap,’” Novak recalled, using a heavy, vaguely Eastern European accent and laughing along with the audience.

“Quietly remove the glass and inhale the rich aroma of the paint,” the faux narrator said. “Ah, that is good stuff!”

If you’re curious, or want this all verified before you believe it, here’s the original article that appeared in the Globe (pdf) in 1997 after the prank tapes were discovered.