Today marks the theatrical release of B.J. Novak’s new movie Vengeance, in which he stars alongside Ashton Kutcher. It turns out Kutcher once gave Novak his big break on TV, as Novak appeared in a number of episodes of Punk’d in the early 2000s. Novak talked about that during an appearance on The Late Show yesterday and told a terrific story about pranking Usher.
Stephen Colbert mentioned the Punk’d connection and Novak noted Kutcher “changed my life with that show.” Colbert asked if the celebrities he helped prank ever got mad, and Novak was quick to respond, “Terribly mad, and here’s the problem: So I’m meeting all these celebrities for the first time, right? It’s thrilling for me. I’m meeting Missy Elliott, I’m meeting Usher; It’s the worst day of their life!”
He then got into the Usher prank that was on the Season 2 premiere (that aired on October 26, 2003), explaining the situation and how Usher acted after the reveal:
“My job once, I got to meet Usher, but my job was I was a store owner on Melrose and [Usher’s] little brother had been busted for shoplifting; he was in on it with us. And the only way I would let the brother go was if [Usher] recorded a rap jingle for my store, which I rapped for him. And he was like, ‘First of all, I’m not a rapper. Second of all, why does it refer to ‘Ice?” I’m like, ‘Well, we wanted Vanilla Ice.’ It’s a well-written show, I didn’t write the joke, it’s so funny.
So then he’s furious and then Ashton comes out and he’s like, ‘Bro!’ Like, it’s a huge hug. And I’m like [open arms gesture] and he’s like, ‘No no no no no.’ Like, your first impression of someone sticks, you know, so I have not run into Usher since. I don’t think he’ll be in my next movie.”
Watch the Novak interview above and find clips from the Usher Punk’d episode below.