'The Office' Is So Brilliantly Funny Because Its Cast and Crew Included 5 Harvard Grads

The Office is more than an iconic TV comedy filled with snarky humor and relatable co-workers. To office staff across the country, the TV show featured many outlandish situations that many could imagine happening in their workplace. Many workers watched the show and quickly related characters from The Office with their co-workers, creating running jokes around the water cooler. 

Many cast members doubled as writers for the series, creating brilliant scripts that kept fans tuning in week after week. The well-rounded group’s clever humor is probably a result of five Harvard graduates included in the show’s cast and crew. 

These Harvard grads made ‘The Office’ so brilliantly funny

Many of The Office cast and crew members were Ivy League graduates with a quirky sense of humor. The combination of the following four Harvard graduates on set was the perfect mix for the smart TV comedy that we’ve come to love. 

B. J. Novak (AKA Ryan Howard)

Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak wore many hats on The Office set, serving as an executive producer, writer, and actor. After attending the same high school as costar John Krasinski, Novak attended and graduated from Harvard in 2001. He majored in English and Spanish literature and was an active member of the Harvard Lampoon.

Rashida Jones (AKA Karen Filippelli)

Graduating from Harvard in 1997, Jones studied religion and philosophy. While she initially planned to become a lawyer, she instead became involved in the performing arts and was a member of several of the university’s musical and drama clubs. Joining The Office cast in 2006, Jones was a regular during the third season and returned as a guest in seasons four, five, and seven. Jones returned to her alma mater in 2016 as the Class Day speaker and provided humor and advice to “the opposite of underdogs.”

Michael Schur (AKA Mose Schrute)

As one of the producers and writers for The Office, Schur also appeared on the show as Dwight’s cousin Mose. In 2006, he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for the hit series. Schur is a 1997 Harvard graduate who majored in English and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. During his time at Harvard, he served as president of the undergraduate humor publication, The Harvard Lampoon.

Greg Daniels

Graduating from Harvard University in 1985, Daniels wrote for the Harvard Lampoon with Conan O’Brien. Daniels is the mastermind behind adapting The Office for the American audience. 

The running Cornell joke on the show makes more sense

Throughout the series, there are often comedic references to Andy Bernard’s Cornell education. With several Harvard graduates, it was only natural for the Dunder Mifflin crew to poke fun at Bernard’s education choice since Cornell is a rival to Harvard. The references throughout the show that Bernard was a Chi Psi from Cornell were thanks to Paul Lieberstein, who played Toby Flenderson. As a Chi Psi graduate from Hamilton College, Lieberstein provided insider knowledge that created the authenticity for the storyline. 

Other well-known celebrities who attended Harvard

Many of today’s stars are multi-talented with more than just phenomenal acting skills. Several celebrities also have the smarts to back up their career with a Harvard education in their achievements. In addition to the four Office members who graduated from the prestigious university, other successful stars who are Harvard grads include Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, and Conan O’Brien. 

While there were four Harvard graduates on The Office set, other crew members graduated from elite schools too. Krasinski (Jim Halpert) graduated from Brown University, Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor) is a Dartmouth graduate, Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon) graduated from Princeton. 

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