King: I wrote a bunch of rules up that it is probably almost impossible to actually build a real game around, but we wanted something just for Adam to be able to reference at any point. When we shot it, Adam did a lot of ad-libbing, which was hilarious, and we also just wrote a bunch of what we call “wild lines.” So I would just stand off-camera and feed him lines like, “Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.” As a staff, we had all written up probably five pages of those because it was so much fun to do.
Scott: I remember just not wanting to screw it up, because it was incredibly important to Mike Schur. This Cones of Dunshire thing was near and dear to his heart. And there were so many specifications and guidelines, things that I could not get wrong. Mercifully we shot it in three or four separate chunks, so I didn’t have to memorize all of it in one go, which made the whole thing a lot easier.
Dontanville: In the extended cold open, Ben talks about cone covers — which was improvised from the fact that we actually made those. When you get to the Cone of Decision at the center of the game, then you can decide to either put the cover on the cone or take the cover off the cone. And that determines whether you choose the dark side of the cone or the light side of the cone. And apparently they ran with that.
Scott: When I was a kid I was into comic books, and I kept them all in plastic bags and would get really annoyed when anyone would not treat them with the utmost of care. So I tapped into that, I guess.
Charlton: Also, there’s a huge market in gaming for card sleeves. People who play games and don’t want to ruin the cards buy tons of card sleeves. So when he’s talking about cone covers, it’s really an inside gamer joke.
Sackett: We shot a lot of stuff. Way more than you would normally do on a little cold open like that. I think Amy Poehler was sort of befuddled by the whole situation. [Laughs] Amy doesn’t get it at all. Or maybe she gets it, but she doesn’t have a lot of interest in it. So she was standing there probably as horrified as Leslie Knope was.