'The Office's Paul Lieberstein on Why He Thinks Toby Was Such a Funny Character

'The Office's Paul Lieberstein explains why he thinks Toby was such a funny character.
'The Office's Paul Lieberstein explains why he thinks Toby was such a funny character. | YouTube / Today Show

Paul Lieberstein had fans laughing nonstop with his portrayal of Toby Flenderson on The Office. As Dunder Mifflin's trusty HR exec, he had lots of memorable moments on the show's nine-season run.

Now, he's taking the time to reflect on the sitcom. The writer/actor sat down with the Today Show earlier this year to share why he personally found Toby so funny. For starters, he points out in the video below how Toby was hilarious, but not intentionally so. "Toby's a calm character. He's just trying to get through the day mostly. He mostly feels in control, and like a baby sitter with a couple of out of control kids," he explains.

"I think part of what made Toby funny was his inability to get emotional about something," he adds. "It was just all too cool, so, when you had some of these really outrageous characters, his response just seems so flat. I think it kind of heightened some of the other characters, and definitely enraged Michael."

Lieberstein also admits most of his lines on The Office were completely impromptu. "The character of Toby was kind of created line by line, and on-set," he explains. "The first moment I played him, it was Steve [Carell] kicking me out of the conference room during diversity day for making a joke."

Although Toby and Michael Scott were basically enemies on the long-running sitcom, in real life, Lieberstein says Steve Carell inspired him endlessly. "As Toby, I had a lot of scenes with Steve Carell, and that was just a master class in acting. I couldn't imagine a better teacher," he also shares in the video.