Although he’s now busy living his best life as a respected horror director/CIA torture man, John Krasinski is probably never going to fully escape the shadow of Jim Halpert, the stapler-abusing Muppet man he starred as for nine years on NBC’s The Office. To be fair, Krasinski doesn’t seem to be too miffed about his Scranton-adjacent destiny, given the enthusiasm with which he answered some questions about the show at a recent 92Y talk hosted by Stephen Colbert, where he waxed nostalgic about the series, and discussed his favorite episode of its near-decade-long run.
And while we have to assume that classics like “Dinner Party” or “The Dundies” might have flicked through the actor’s head, he ended up going with a pretty understandable choice: “Diversity Day,” which was the show’s second episode—but its first that tried to move out of the shadow of the U.K. original. “If I’m honest, I remember the pilot of The Office was word-for-word the British show at the time,” Krasinski told the crowd. “It made no sense to any of us because I think there are actually British jokes in there that don’t even apply [to Americans].”
“Diversity Day,” on the other hand, sticks firmly in his memory, setting the moment when the show steered straight into a more American take on the material:
I remember that day when [the diversity sensitivity counsellor played by Larry Wilmore] comes in and says, ‘My name is Mr. Brown,’ and Michael says, ‘I’m not gonna call you that.’ It was that moment combo’d with Kelly slapping him [for his impression of a bodega owner] where I said, ‘Oh my God, we’re a part of something totally unique — and I don’t think anyone will watch this. But I knew it was really good and I [remember thinking] we were a part of something special.