Hely has written for the television shows Late Show with David Letterman (receiving an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Comedy Show), Last Call with Carson Daly, where he also served as an associate producer, American Dad!, 30 Rock, and The Office.
Hely has also authored or co-authored two books. The Ridiculous Race, written with Vali Chandrasekaran and published in 2008 by Macmillan, chronicled a real-life race around the world between Hely and Chandrasekaran. Each set off from Los Angeles in opposite directions, with only one rule: "No airplanes." In 2009, Grove/Atlantic published Hely's debut novel, How I Became a Famous Novelist. Hely subsequently won the 2010 Thurber Prize for American Humor for the novel.
Hely has appeared onscreen in select episodes of 30 Rock and The Office. He appeared as a poster-collecting bachelor named Jerem in the 30 Rock episode "Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter". Additionally, he appeared as a flautist and shirtless bohemian in The Office episode "Gettysburg".
- Author Blog "End of Books"
- April Fool's Joke on Galleycat
- "The World’s Foremost Consultant on the Future of Publishing" article on The Rumpus