Newton’s B.J. Novak Admits To MFA Prank

BOSTON (CBS) — One of Newton’s most well-known natives confessed to a prank he played on the Museum of Fine Arts when he was 17 years old.

B.J. Novak, star of “The Office,” admitted to replacing audio-guided tour tapes for an ancient Chinese art exhibit with a homemade version. Novak, now 34, made the confession during an interview on CBS’ The Late Show with David Letterman.

During the interview, Novak described the prank.

According to Novak, they recruited a deep-voiced, Romanian classmate to record their version of the tour, during which he interjects personal and humorous opinions of the museum’s artwork. They borrowed a CD of traditional Chinese music from the Newton Library to play in the background.

When describing a painting by a Chinese emperor, Novak’s version said, “This is probably here just because the guy who painted it is famous.”

Novak and friends slyly returned to the MFA and switched the actual tour disks with 10 of their own homemade ones.

The next day, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined “Wild Ride Through ‘Dragons'” about the prank. According to the article, the narrator made “juvenile jokes and ultimately encouraged listeners moving left, right and around the galleries to do the hokeypokey.”

The company that made the real tapes apparently launched an investigation in the prank’s aftermath.

And if the MFA needed the confession in writing, Novak has also posted about it and provided the fake audio tour on his blog.

Now, it appears the truth is out there.

Watch the interview here


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