The Office’s Leslie David Baker Says Key Character Moment Was Improvised

The Office has spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of memes found around the internet at any given moment in the day. While the vast majority of the series was scripted by long-time comedic scribe Greg Daniels and his all-star writing crew that included Mindy Kaling, BJ Novak, Mike Schur, and others, one alumnus says there was certainly improvisation to be had on-set. Speaking with, Leslie David Baker revealed anywhere from 5 to 10-percent of the series that made the airwaves included moments improvised by the show’s ensemble cast.

“We got to do, I would say about 5 to 10-percent, because you’re filming and you have a certain time limit that you have to squeeze in to make a 23 and a half, 24-minute show,” Baker told us. “But he [Daniels] would always let us film something and then one take, he would say, ‘And have fun.’ And when he would say, ‘And have fun,’ that meant that we would get to do something and inevitably when he would get into the editing suite, it was always like, ‘Oh yeah, I like this.'”

One of those “and have fun” moments included Baker picking up a crossword puzzle and carrying it into one of Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) infamous conference room meetings. Baker’s split-second decision eventually became one of the defining characteristics of the character he played on the show throughout it’s nine-season run.

“To make them, to put some, basically meat on the bones of that character,” Baker added. “And I dug around at a desk and I found an old crossword puzzle book. And I grabbed a pencil and that book and I had a line to deliver, or a couple of lines and I decided to deliver them and not look at, when I was talking to Michael Scott.”

He concluded, “I decided to just deliver the line without looking up from the crossword puzzle book. And Greg liked it and he liked what I did. He kept me there for nine seasons! So I think he was kinda tickled with some of the stuff I did. It was fun.”

Baker spoke with us in support of his Uncle Stan Kickstarter, a project which he hopes to fund on the crowdfunding platform. It follows his character from the series seven years after the fact. More information about that Kickstarter can be found here.


All nine seasons of The Office are now streaming on Netflix.

What’s your favorite moment of The Office? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

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