“The Hobbit: The Battle For the Five Armies” has employed some impressive PR, most notably an interview on “The Colbert Report” with a fire-breathing Smaug. But even that may not top the sketch from this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” in which host Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) begins a second career as a paper salesman in a sendup of “The Office (UK)”
The sketch, written by “SNL” staff writers Streeter Seidell and Mikey Day along with cast member Bobby Moynihan, is hilarious even if you’re only familiar with the American version of the show — but in case you weren’t aware, Freeman played the wide-eyed, prank-loving Tim Canterbury (the original Jim Halpert) on the British version, so his mannerisms were already pitch-perfect. His impish smile to the camera as Gollum (Taran Killam) finds that The One True Ring has been placed in Jell-O makes the whole sketch worth it alone. But the UK version-specific inside jokes — Moynihan’s Gandalf the Middle Manager ruining an office party with his over-the-top dancing and an Orc eating a Scotch Egg are a special treat for comedy nerds who rightly regard the British original as a trailblazing comedy.