Most people know Nick Offerman as the man behind the grumpy Libertarian, bacon enthusiast and epitome of mustachioed masculinity Ron Swanson, a breakout character on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. But as intriguing as the fictional character is to many, it’s actually Offerman himself who may be “the most interesting man in the world” (sorry, Dos Equis spokesman).
Sure, there may be some other individuals with a “Y” chromosome who could vie for that distinction, but you can’t deny Offerman has some interesting layers.
The Illinois native does have some genuine interests, characteristics and hobbies that he shares with the memorable role he created and inhabited for seven seasons. He enjoys the great outdoors. He is slightly adverse to technology. He appreciates a good book (he cites Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Kentucky author Wendell Berry as some of his favorite wordsmiths). He is passionate and proficient at woodworking. That last sentence might be an understatement, given that he is a master carpenter doing stellar business at his own Los Angeles-based Offerman Woodshop.
When he loves, he loves hard. On screen, this amounted to Swanson’s tumultuous and passionate relationship with his second ex-wife, Tammy, played by comedic actress Megan Mullally. Off screen, Offerman and Mullally are smitten romantic partners and occasional creative collaborators (the two toured together recently on the Summer of 69: No Apostrophe tour) who have been happily married for 18 years.
And like Swanson, Offerman, 44, doesn’t fancy himself a comedian. After years os working in theater and landing a few minor parts in television and film, the character was his first main and consistent comedic role. He does, however, fancy himself as someone who has collected bits of inspiration and lived-in wisdom over the years and has found a few different outlets to share them.
He has done so as the author of two books: the 2013 New York Times best seller Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals For Delicious Living, and his 2015 follow-up Gumption: Relighting The Torch Of Freedom With America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers. Offerman has also offered up comedy-coated nuggets of insight and truth on stage, speaking at college campuses and performing at theaters across the country. This was captured in the 2014 documentary Nick Offerman: American Ham, in which the humorist delivers life lessons in an elixir of blunt truth, comedic quips, laugh-inducing tales and the occasional song.
“In my own lifetime, I greatly admire Garrison Keillor (of A Prairie Home Companion). I would like to consider my show (like Keillor’s), when people ask me to describe it,” Offerman told the St. Joseph News-Press in 2013. “I am able to recount a story or anecdote in a way that entertains the audience, and we end up having fun. I often describe myself as a foul-mouthed, less-educated Garrison Keillor.”
Since Parks and Recreation wrapped, Offerman has taken on roles that have capitalized on his acting talents, personality and comedic gifts, whether he has appeared on the big screen in comedies like 21 Jump Street and We’re The Millers or on the small screen in the acclaimed and quirky dramatic miniseries Fargo on FX.
He also continues to appear on stage, as he will on the Full Bush tour that comes on Friday night to the Singletary Center for the Arts. Offerman will likely express his essence through a mix of humor, perspective, personality and music. Similar to a fine whiskey that Ron Swanson would imbibe in from time to time, expect to experience a lot of different notes.
Blake Hannon: firstname.lastname@example.org