“Diversity Day” is the second episode of the American version of The Office and the first to prove the series could be more than just a shot-for-shot remake of the British original. So for the 10th anniversary of the show’s premiere, Uproxx gathered Executive Producer Greg Daniels, director Ken Kwapis, producer/writer Michael Schur, and actors Brian Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey, and Oscar Nunez to discuss the filming of “Diversity Day” and the making of the show in general.
In the B.J. Novak-penned episode the whole office has to undergo racial sensitivity training after Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) performs a Chris Rock routine. The cast mostly discusses how hard it was to keep a straight face while filming, and the creators share some of the jokes that ended up on the cutting room floor (including one involving incest). They also offer insights into the larger process of creating The Office (for instance, the creators spent a lot of time discussing whether Jim’s desk should face Pam’s or sit at a 90 degree angle).
Everyone involved clearly thinks very highly of “Diversity Day,” and Daniels even calls it the “Ur story” (i.e. template) for The Office. At one point Kwapis explains:
A lot of people, and B.J. Novak and I talked about this once, a lot of people, television pundits, critics, felt like The Office took a while to find its footing. Well, it certainly took a while to find its audience. But creatively the show hit a home run in episode two. I mean, that episode really is a standout. Two hundred episodes later, that’s really a standout.
The full oral history is available on Uproxx.