Nick Offerman is an American actor, writer, and carpenter widely known for his breakout role as Ron Swanson in the acclaimed NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, in which he received the Television Critics Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy.
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Howdy Reddit. Nick Offerman here. I play Ron Swanson on NBC's Parks and Recreation. I also like to use a shovel, a broom, and craft things out of wood.
Last week I read a slam poem to bacon as a part of Malarious, a charity project to help end malaria, which you can watch at collegehumor.com/malarious.
I'll be here starting at about 2:30pm EST, so give me all the questions you have.
Ok, Reddit, that was some good, clean fun. Thanks for having me, now I must partake of some savoury meatstuffs. Adios.
I'm back. One more thing - my friend Jim Slonina just sent me this, he is the funniest thing I ever....
I know you and your character have a lot things in common, in what ways are you drastically different from Ron? (if any)
I wouldn't call it drastic, but my penis is 5/8" larger than Ron's, in both length AND breadth, but it is held that he wields his with greater aplomb.
Best way to cook Bacon & Eggs? Thanks for doing this!
In an iron skillet, over a fire of oak at your cabin.
You are one of the manliest men of whom I have ever heard. What is your morning routine that begins a day of badassery?
Also, what is your favorite outdoor activity?
I awaken. I consume oxygen, then bacon, eggs and black coffee, then my wife, then bacon.
I love to paddle my own canoe, and also wife. Best while staring at the leaves of the maple or sycamore.
How'd you get started with "Nick Offerman reads tweets from young female celebraties"?
I am a very big fan of Conan, so I am tickled anytime I get to go play with him and his gang. An incredibly funny chap named Brian Stack, who has been writing for Conan for about 15 years, thought up the idea, and he makes it happen. Just happy to do my part.
Whats going on here? http://imgur.com/rMC0E
Thanks for the AMA!
PS: This is a little NSFW... Just a tad...
My wife is just apeshit for grapes. We had just done a 3 week tour of Vienna, Bruges, and Prague, over Christmastime, and every day in these venerated European cities, in a picturesque town square, centuries old, I would purchase a 12-inch pork sausage, some variety of Bratwurst, and wolf it down, muttering my adoration of Europe all the while. If your math is sound, that's about 21 linear feet of pork sausage, 1 1/4" in diameter on average. Then I was reminded that I had a naked photo shoot in NY upon the day of our return. I laughed from deep in my pork-lined belly, long and loud. It was worth it.
When you play monopoly, which piece do you choose to represent you on the board, and why?
I choose the thimble because no matter where I roam, you can't prick my motherfuckin' thumb with your bitch-ass Scottie Dog. Can I cuss on here?
How much can your mustache bench press?
114 lbs. of wife.
Well, I just went to discuss this question with Ron, and I found him staring stoically into a fire in which burned his VHS collection of Dirty Harry movies whilst he seemed to be mumbling the words to the Beastie's High Plains Drifter, and welling up. I would not have expected Ron to be aware of Paul's Boutique, I guess that seminal record really penetrated the generations. Anyway, I left him to his thoughts.
What's your favorite brand of scotch?
what is the hardest part of acting as Ron Swanson
Keeping a straight face in the onslaught of hilarity from all of our cast, except Jerry.
Stopping at the end of the day.
What's your favorite thing about each of the cast members of Parks and Rec?
Do you worry that you're going to be defined by this role for some time?
Ahem. I'm given to understand that Mr. Knight did not like to be portrayed as an angry, screaming basketball coach, especially in an Indiana sweater. One might ask, "What else do you think you are known for, Mr. Knight?", but then one might get a knuckle sandwich across the chops, so maybe one should just keep such notions to oneself. It was sad for a moment, as he so encapsulated Ron's attitude towards his govt. job, but Mike Schur, P&R creator and captain, made some delicious lemonade when he replaced Bobby K with a brunette holding (boner commencing) a plate of breakfast.
I swear to Christ there was a question about "what happened to that picture of Bobby Knight in Ron's office?".
Where did it go?!?!?
What the fuck are you trying to do to me, Reddit?!?!
You're not the one. Can you see me right now?
Amy - Her ability to combine mischief with leadership and generosity of spirit.
Adam - His sweet, gumdrop caboose.
Pratt - Best personality ever, like a golden lab meets Don Knotts. Also a fine backside.
Rashida - Incredibly well-adjusted and lovely for having been bitten by Michael Jackson's monkey as a child. Not a euphemism.
Aziz - He can say anything in the most hilarious way - also keepin' them buns tight.
Aubrey - She is beautiful and wonderful - not evil, don't be ridiculous.
Rob - A champion in every way, super funny - wouldn't mind a tad more junk in his trunk.
Retta - Could rule the world if she so chose. DISCERNING. Beautiful.
As far as typecasting, I honestly don't really give a shit. I feel pretty damn lucky to have landed in the role of Ron, and if I am defined that way, well, I can think of worse problems. If no one will hire me after Ron then I'll have to suffer through making things in my shop, performing live theater, and paddling my canoe with my wife. Yes, that was a euphemism.
Greetings, Mr. Offerman!
How much of Parks and Recreation is improvised?
When did you first meet Amy Poehler, and how awesome is she in real life?
Also, sharing this awesome photograph. A friend spotted this and took a photo while walking around the Coachella 2012 campgrounds (this was taken on the first morning of the second weekend of the festival; we were just a few cars away from this camp)!
Too many questions. That looks like a fine camp at Coachella, one in which I would like to consume intoxicants.
A small portion of P&R is improvised, although we have a lot freedom to spout off as we see fit. The thing is, the writing is so sublime, there is seldom any need to improve upon it. We do love to play, so we always start having extra improv fun in the later takes.
I met Amy in the early 90's and she is like a superhero mixed with both Coach and Tammie Taylor from FNL, as well as Tim Riggins and a little Landry.
Nick, I watched in awe your web video in which you built a canoe and must say that it's quite impressive. My question is simple, whats your favorite type of wood to work with, and why?
It's difficult to name a favorite wood. They are all so noble, each with its own special characteristics.
Oak is mighty and dense, for the hull of your square-rigged sailing ship, but also, when quarter-sawn, its medullary rays can make your library table sing with erudition.
Maple and Birch are creamy and many colored, like a delicious bowl of only Lucky Charms marshmallows.
Cedar and Redwood are lightweight but extremely high in tensile strength, rendering them perfect for boatbuilding in the smaller classes of watercraft.
Bamboo (a grass) makes nature's bong.
Walnut (esp. California Claro) is my gold standard for depth of figure, strength, beauty, and workability.
Ash and Hickory, straight-grained and true, make excellent bludgeons, dandy for the cudgeling of vegetarians.
What about woodworking appeals most to you? Do you woodwork with friends?
The moments of truth in woodworking:
1) When you flood your finished wood with oil, and the grain, color and figure jump out like a visual lung-full of opium smoke (so I've read).
2) When the piece you have wrought comes into use. The canoe, the table, the canoe paddle, the pipe, the cribbage board.... when you rest your steak and your whiskey upon the table you have made, you feel pretty goddamn tall for keeping those treats off the ground..
Woodworking is a largely isolated pursuit, but it's very gratifying to do it communally, whilst AROUND other woodworkers, so you can all put your heads together when one person has a puzzle to solve. I love puzzles. I love my community of woodworkers, both in my shop in LA, in NY, and all of my new pals from the world of Fine Woodworking Magazine across the country and AROUND THE WORLD.
I've heard Ron Swanson described as a PG version of Nick Offerman. However, I'm not sure how accurate that can be if RS's moustache rubbed off "from friction."
I think it's accurate, relatively speaking, for I once rubbed my own moustache off from sidling up to a Tom Sizemore lit fart. While urinating on an Amy Grant cassette.
Have you ever eaten a turf 'n turf?
Have you ever eaten a fatal amount of beef? I have not.
What's your favorite firearm?
Do you and Aziz do anything weird together?
Hm. Sometimes we pretend we're on a CSI program and examine each other's underpants under a huge Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass....we like to go around the lot where we shoot and see whose pet's heads we can fit in our mouths (I always win with Jim Belushi's (miniature) Corgi), but no, nothing weird comes to mind. Oh, we both really love to enact Rush Limbaugh radio vomit with hand-puppets made from pig intestines, which is hilarious good fun, but I think a lot of people do that. On the coasts, anyway. So, no.
Nick, I'm a great admirer of your moustache. Since I assume it's all natural, what do you do in episodes where part of it needs to be burned off (Lil' Sebastian's funeral is on TV now) or removed for some reason? Do you actually have to mangle it and wait for it to grow back before you shoot another episode, or is there some kind of makeup trick to get that effect while still preserving the moustache's integrity?
My moustache grows with such rampant, perpetual virility, that we need to trim it 3 or 4 times a day during filming. It was cool at first (grade school), but to be honest, it's getting old.
You, Clint Eastwood, and Teddy Roosevelt have a bacon eating contest. Who wins?
Teddy is no longer with us, so a moment of silence for #26. You had a hell of a run, Theodore.
Then, I handily defeat Clint, since he is an old - oh, wait, he pulls out a gun and shoots me, drooling something about Commies and pinko faggots and his cold, dead fingers, before falling out of his chair and soiling himself. Thanks a lot, lazythinker.
How do you keep a happy relationship with Megan for so many years? How should a lady be treated?
We keep a happy relationship by respecting it. We make it the top priority in our lives.
A lady should be treated like any person, man or woman, with respect and good manners. If you're a fellow, it doesn't hurt to open a door for a lady, or help her with her parcels. We're all in this together.
On a one on one fight you against Theodore Roosevelt at your age, who would win and why?
Ted Roosevelt would hand me my ass in moments.
He was a goddamn man and soldier who could kill with his hands.
Let's remember, I am an actor who is handy with a sopkeshave.
Spokeshave. Apologies, Shakers.
How about Laphroaig? The cask strength version is excellent.
I will sample this cask strength and, no doubt, add it to my list. I do so enjoy the normal Laphroaig, especially getting my Dad to pronounce it after a couple of snorts. He's a lot of fun with Cabernet Sauvingon as well.
I love your character on Childrens Hospital. I noticed that you did a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo on last week’s show. How did you get involved with those guys, and how easy is it for you to accommodate dropping by that set to shoot a scene/episode at any given time?
CH is my favorite show for envelope-pushing on the air right now. Rob Corddry is so delightfully, wickedly funny, and his writers and cast are unstoppable. He contacted me to play Briggs after we had worked in a film together, now called Taking Chances, and we enjoyed placing our fingers inside each other's mouths.
living in Chicago during the mid-90s; did you ever feel like joining the then-popular improv scene?
No, I did not. The comedy world and the "straight theatre" were very self-contained, very autonomous groups, and I was in 100% ignorance to that fecund chuckle-field. I was working on plays, mostly with my company, The Defiant Theatre, 24/7, so it was all I could do to see another play that a friend was in, let alone go see comedy.
To me your character is honestly the funniest on the show. Being so deadpan, how often do you crack or cause others to crack while delivering lines? I'd like to see you and Aubrey face off in a "who can get the other to smile first" contest. That's gotta be a fun set to be on. Also, thanks for all the laughs!
I will never defeat Aubrey in any contest, because, quite simply, she employs black magicks in her combat, which some would call unfair or "morally bankrupt", but I would never cast such a aspersion, for fear of her macabre retribution. Aubrey is kin to the Black Goat Mother of a Thousand Young, yea, she has known the spoor of Shub-Niggurath, and upon the black midnight of her birth, every blossom of the pretty little Gilly flowers perished all across Trafalgar Square. Up jumped the Devil, and off they crept. In short, she is League with Lucifer, but I really respect her work.
What's a typical evening at home like with Megan?
Oh, gosh. Well, we get dressed up as Marx Brothers (she's always Groucho or Harpo, and I'm Chico...whatever, she made the outfits.) and we get sauced on Gin and goofballs and run around the yard, sometimes with a lot of horn-honking, and then I set up the target rings at which Megan fires ping-pong balls and sometimes racquet balls from her vagina, often racking up an impressive tally of points (she got a 420 last night!), while I assemble my black powder muzzle-loader collection and fire lead balls at our neighbor, Charlie Sheen's secret wife's mom's jungle cats (I miss on purpose, I'm not a dick.) Normal Hollywood shit.
What's your favorite beer?
Cold. Closely followed by, you guessed it, warm.
How hard is it to keep such a straight face when filming Parks and Rec? The delivery of some of your lines has me laughing so hard. I loved drunk Ron and your tiny hat!
It is very hard to keep a straight face because my castmates are literally the funniest collection of people working today. Amy and Pratt and Aubrey and Aziz and Adam and Rob and Rashida and Retta. Every single cast member. Devastatingly funny.
Hiya Nick, love Parks & Rec! "You had me at meat tornado." is one of my favorite lines of Ron's.
I know you are a master woodworker, and I was just wondering what is your favorite piece you have ever made? And what is the most intricate?
Thanks for the AMA!
So far, the answer to both questions is the same:
My first canoe, Huckleberry. In case anyone wants to grow quickly bored by tables and boats, please avail yourself of:
favorite scene to be a part of on parks and rec?
Any scene. If I am on the call sheet, it is my favoritest.
Also: Any scene with Amy or Pratt or Aubrey or Adam or Aziz or Rashida or Rob or Retta. Or in my canoe. Or as Duke Silver.
Hi from a fellow carpenter! I know you're into carpentry and woodworking, and I've always wondered if you actually built the cedar-strip canoe that was in season 2 of Parks and Rec? That was some beautiful work.
PS-your wife is awesome, just heard her on Comedy Bang Bang today and I really enjoyed the episode.
There are 2 canoes in that episode, both built by me. See them at