Actor, humorist, and author Nick Offerman is best known as the character Ron Swanson on TV's Parks & Recreation which aired for seven seasons on NBC. This weekend he’ll perform an evening of deliberative talking, mirth, and music at the Tanger Center in Greensboro.
His most recent book is Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside. Offerman recently spoke with WFDD’s David Ford.
On how to make an auditorium full of strangers laugh:
"It's fascinating to me actually because I went to theater school and all I ever wanted to do was get good parts and plays in Chicago. I wanted a life in the theater and this and that happened, I got cast in a couple of films. I moved to Los Angeles and had some very fortunate success in TV and film and lo and behold, I backed into a career then as a touring comedian or humorist. And, I mean, I was in, I was in my early forties when I started doing this and I just thought, well, I take a swing at that. ... I feel like I'm getting away with something because when I started doing it, even like when I would walk on stage and say "Good evening," there's something about my cadence that the audience would laugh at that as though it was funny and I would think, 'Oh, this is gonna go just fine. All I have to do is be mildly amusing and everyone seems to think that I'm a funny writer.'"
On what to expect this Saturday:
"So I've got songs about my love-making career with Megan Mullally, songs about your manners. There's a song that people love called, "I'm Not Ron Swanson" — trying to clarify the difference between an actor and his roles with lines in it like, 'He can eat a big ass steak for every meal because his colon is fictitious, while mine is all too real,' and 'His scotch intake, well, it would be my liver's doom, because mine is controlled by nature and his, by the whims of the writer's room.'"
On the art of deadpan delivery:
"Generally when we get into matters of technique, or approach, my first thought is that it's hard for the clown to know from behind the makeup why the children are crying. But, you know, I would say that it's not a particular skill set like juggling or tennis. It's just simply a commitment. And for me, my natural proclivity has been towards stillness and, and maybe it's because I quickly recognized when taking the stage with comedy dynamos that I should not try to compete with what they were cranking out. I just wait till they're done. And then I try to say one pithy thing, and they call it collaboration and they call it chemistry and I call it getting away with murder."