John Krasinski hosts Mass. General Cancer Center’s annual gala

Newton’s own John Krasinski was home on Wednesday to host Mass. General Cancer Center’s annual gala celebrating 100 honorees working to fight cancer. Krasinski, one of the stars of NBC’s dearly departed sitcom “The Office,’’ was joined at the Westin Boston Waterfront event by his wife, British actress Emily Blunt, and by Oscar winner Chris Cooper.

Last year, the gala was hosted by hometown hero Matt Damon, with whom Krasinki co-wrote and costarred in the film “Promised Land,’’ based on a novel by Dave Eggers.

“I’m an upgrade from Matt Damon, let’s be honest,’’ Krasinski said before the gala.

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Krasinski said he’ll be in town for a few days — long enough to spend some time with his parents and his brother, who lives in Milton. He said he usually comes to Boston four or five times a year.

“It’s as weird and nostalgic as it is for anyone who returns to their hometown,’’ he said. “There’s no other place that smells like the walk up to my parents house. My brain goes crazy with the maple trees and all the stuff that’s blooming in my mom’s garden. It feels fantastic. There are few things that I’m more proud of than being from here.’’

After a decade immersed in the world of “The Office,’’ Krasinski said he was “devastated’’ to say goodbye to the show, but also excited about his new-found availability to try new things. His voice work on Pixar’s “Monster’s University’’ has granted him “hero status’’ in the eyes of his nephews and niece, and he also appeared in the new season of cult TV favorite “Arrested Development,’’ released by Netflix on May 26. He is working on two new screenplays, and he recently watched office costar Jenna Fischer perform in Neil LaBute’s new off-Broadway play, “Reasons to Be Happy.’’

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“ ‘Office’ fans who see the play will see a whole different side to Jenna,’’ he said. “I would love to try acting for the stage. But I still get nervous doing live events — even hosting this gala.’’

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