I'm actor, author, andÂ perfectly decent wood worker, Nick Offerman. I also have strong feelings about the outdoors, beef cows, and badgersâso much so that I have a new book about it all. AMA, please and thank you.
HELLO, I HAVE TO SIGN OFF NOW. THANK YOU VERY KINDLY FOR YOUR ENJOYABLE AND PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS. WHAT SAY WE ALL TRY TO MAKE MORE THAN WE DESTROY, AND HUG BEFORE PUNCH.
I'm Nick Offerman, author, actor, humorist, and woodworker. I live in Los Angeles, California with my redoubtable wife, our pups, and a daunting collection of assorted wood clamps. I have a new book out called WHERE THE DEER AND THE ANTELOPE PLAY, which is a failed attempt at finding the difference between loving one another and growing healthy tubers in rich humus. You can read more here: https://sites.prh.com/nickoffermanbook
Ask me anything, if you care to, or if not then have a pleasant day.
This one right here has not been too bad.
What is your weapon of choice and what would you ideally hunt with it?
Hi Nick! Do you have a favorite Ron and Leslie moment from Parks and Rec?
Haha who could ever pick. I guess the improvised scene I auditioned for the job with, in which Amy was her usual hurricane of comedy, during which I sat stoically, unmoved, until she finally finished her solo fireworks and I merely replied "no".
What's the secret to a strong, long and successful Hollywood marriage?
I think the secret to staying together is simply to make your relationship the top priority in your life. In Hollywood, that often will mean saying "no" to jobs that could erode your fidelity, like say your spouse is working on an award-winning sitcom in California, and you get offered the role of a curmudgeonly wizard somewhere in the South Pacific for many months, during which you wouldn't be able to be together, to make a purely hypothetical example...if you take the job as guardian of the ring-bearer and his party, to pull a phrase out of thin air, you might gain a nice entry or 4 on your IMDB profile, but run the risk of losing your household, and for me, I want the relationship and home to last forever, as opposed to the acting resume.
Hi Nick! Love your books and am excited for the new one.
I just wanted to ask if you're aware that there is very small Moline Tractor Museum/exhibit in the lobby of an apartment complex near where the old factory used to be in Hopkins, MN?
I figured you might want to check it out the next time you're on your way to the cabin.
Hot Damn this sounds like the right thing to do.
Key & Peele voice
"Moline Tractor Museum in Hopkins, MN is my SHHIIIIT!"
You and your wife are the absolute best. How do you keep your love life spruced up and exciting without letting day to day life/routines get in the way?
We pay attention, and make the effort to change things up and take time to have adventures, even little ones - steering clear of the ruts into which a relationship can fall. Plus tons of butt stuff.
Hi Nick! What are your feelings about cats?
I pretty much love all animals, although I'm mildly allergic to cats, I still love to hang with their imperious asses.
How did you break into your acting career?
I've always wanted to get started, I live in the Midwest, and just feel like I've got no chance if I don't move.
I went to theatre school (U of I at Urbana-Champaign), where I met smarter & cooler friends of similar weirdness, and we started the Defiant Theatre Company in Chicago...I built scenery and choreographed stage combat and worked for a lot of years - it took patience and plenty of humility. No better place to start than Chicago theatre.
Beef or Venison / Elk?
Yes, please and thank you.
What is the best way to build a sturdy kitchen table?
There are many right answers but I'd pull out my Gustav Stickley book. I actually made Rainn Wilson's kitchen table in a beefy homage to Stickley out of American White Oak.
What is your favourite thing about your wife?
I suppose her willingness to tolerate me for 21 years now. It's a hell of an attractive quality.
Do you listen to music while you work in the shop? If so what do you listen to? Your dedication to the craft is astounding.
Second question if I may, if you could build the best pirate ship to sail the seven seas and beyond, what would that ship need to have in order for one to become the King of Pirates?
Wilco Laurie Anderson Neil Young They Might Be Giants Nancy And Beth Kool and the Gang Bob Dylan Patty Griffith Tom Waits Talking Heads Petra Haden sings The Who Sell Out - built my entire first canoe (Huckleberry) obsessively repeating this astonishing record John Prine
What’s snacks do you enjoy?
I just finished your new book, along with "Paddle Your Own Canoe" immediately before it. I appreciate the life lessons, reflection, and growth you portray and many of your topics of choice are similar discussions I've had with a select few close friends who have similar methods of thinking. However, I believe for the betterment of society, as well as us as individuals, we need to be able to discuss these topics outside of our own echo chambers. I live in a quaint, rural mountain town NE of LA that is surrounded by beautiful nature and wildlife; it truly is a tiny piece of paradise. Unfortunately, it is extremely conservative and I have a hard time integrating into the community as I feel surrounded by hate, anger, and closemindedness. Trust me, I am perfectly content being a hermit on my hilltop at home with my wife, a boardgame, and an adult beverage and never venturing out into it. BUT, this is not productive to society or progressing as a people.
I apologize for being long-winded, and doubt that you will have a chance to see this, but my question for you is this:
How have you been able to find success in having meaningful discussions with those whose mindset is so very different from your own? Was it worth it, or do you walk away from those situations wishing for an asteroid to just come obliterate the planet and get it over with already?
Thank you! Zach
thats a tough question, Zach. I am stymied by the fact that I get along with just about everybody on a personal level, but then when certain topics crop up, which has insanely come to include vaccinations(!), i have learned that there is nothing to be gained from trying to convince others on the simplest points of common decency or communal good. So, I have grown quieter. I wrote this book partly to try and communicate this precise frustration - for example what a fruitless and fallacious stance it is to promote hatred of any kind - childish Good Job Brandon winks and the enjoyment of triggering others or reveling in their tears...have a look at my amazon reviews for the book if you want to see some examples of people I failed to reach. But at least I'm not hectoring them or disseminating disinformation - I think I'm affecting a lot of people positively, not by preaching but by asking questions - of myself as well as of others, based on the reality that we humans will always be flawed - it's a necessary truth of our existience - so, with that in mind, how can we continue to recognize our mistakes (slavery, genocide, corporate farming monocultures, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, etc.) and strive to make reparations for them. Only then can every citizen of this country feel like the Constitution is talking about them, and not just the white kids...
Thanks so much for doing an AMA!
What's the best praise you've ever received for your work?
I can't think of anything that feels better than a live theatre audience applauding. When you and your collaborators have delivered an evening's medicine to the people in the seats via laughter or tears or both, and they warmly communicate their gratitude with noise, it feels very much like I was always led to believe that church should feel.
In traditional Japanese Kabuki Theatre, the audience will throw money in the form of white paper-wrapped coins onto the stage, while shouting "You are better than your Father!", so I guess that's the actual best - applause plus money plus Oedipal affirmation?
What's the best wood?
Depends on the application/context...if I had to choose only one I'd go with Quercus ALba - American White Oak
Have you ever built a guitar?
soon - i am finishing 12 ukuleles first
Hey Nick! I’ve been watching the Great North for the first time and so far, Beef is just a really great dad. What’s the best part of voice acting that particular gig?
The best part of voicing Beef Tobin on The Great North is getting to collaborate with the funniest sweethearts you could cook up - even just hearing their voices often breaks me, the whole damn cast, PLUS, even better, the writers, led by Wendy & Lizzie Molyneux, super-conscientious cool smart thinking citizens, bringing serious focus to human rights issues and inclusivity and you name it all wrapped up in an hilarious and loving Alaskan package. They have built the funnest possible fishing boat, and crewed it, then they let me ride on it and do some fishing, and even steer sometimes! (Whup! THE GREAT NORTHHHH!!!)
Hey Nick. My husband and I both love you and Megan.
Besides your own, what is your favorite book?
I think I'd have to be a real butthole to to think my own book was my favorite. I'm extremely proud of my books and I work really hard on them but I also have a relatively decent perspective on reality...I'd pick any George Saunders, Rebecca Solnit, Wendell Berry, Richard Powers...here- BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by Robin Wall Kimmerer LIFE AND WORK by Harlan Hubbard
Did you come thru Browning when you went to glacier?
is this a euphemism
With the current high wood prices, any tips for finding materials on the cheap or reusing materials in a creative way to save money on projects? I thought you may have had some experience with this in your theater construction days.
Don't know if this is still the case, but I used to simply drive around the alleys of Chicago and find random timbers here and there, just like other materials; bricks, cinderblocks, etc... Also dumpsters at construction sites often have treasures to be found, just be safe about retrieving. Alternatively, many lumber yards/hardwood dealers have scrap/remnant bins that you can plunder...
Hi Nick! What's the manliest Christmas gift I can get my husband this year? (besides your new book...that's already happening). Thank you!
a cool sewing kit, with a jar of buttons?
Hi Nick, It's evident that you are very passionate about woodworking. I have recently discovered my passion for painting. Would it be fair to say those classic hobbies help us to stay more grounded and connected to the real world in an ever-encroaching digital reality?
This is a bigger question than I have time to fully answer, but I will say I firmly believe that making things with our miraculous human hands, coordination and ingenuity is a powerfully healthy discipline to practice. Part of the reason for this is that woodworking, painting, knitting, blacksmithing, pottery, leather Japanese sex swings, all the classics, encourage us to maintain an awareness of our raw materials and how they're sourced, and that awareness I think makes us worse corporate consumers and therefore better citizens.
Hi Nick. I just ate at St Elmos in Indianapolis. Have you ever actually eaten there? I do agree with Ron Swanson. They are doing the Lord's work.
Friend, I have eaten there 3 times in my life and I have the extra-thick arterial lining to prove it. We shot the Parks and Rec scenes (incl. Newt Gingrich, who just happened to be there) actually in St. Elmo's when filming at Lucas Oil Stadium
BREAKING: The "famous" and amazing shrimp cocktail is actually just a horseradish delivery system, but BIG TUBER doesn't want this revealed
How do you feel about meat substitutes like Beyond/Impossible meat?
i overwhelmingly prefer rotationally grazed, sustainably farmed meats.
everyone can eat what they like, but I think that these pretend meat products are worse in every way for us than properly farmed meat/poultry.
That said, the majority of meat & dairy & fish & produce is corporate "farmed" and also very bad for all involved, except the shareholders' pocketbooks.
Small farming, locally sourced food, this is where our subsidies should be directed.
i am a student of this, not a teacher. I admire @herdyshepherd1 and @the shepherdswife and @sustainabledish and @whiteoakpastures among many others.
Match Game '76 or $10,000 Pyramid?
Thank you, no.
Hello Nick! You've made your stance on Lagavulin quite clear. How do you feel about the other Islay scotches like Ardbeg and Laphroaig?
i have yet to sample an Islay single malt that hurt my feelings
Do you have any thoughts about Billionaires launching themselves into space? I know it’s not an uncommon opinion but I myself find it highly disturbing.
thats a big no for me dawg - hard pass on penis rocket contest
Hey Nick, a huge fan of Ron Swanson ever since i saw the Pilot of P&R. I wanted to ask this question to Ron Swanson not Nick Offerman, so here Goes. Mr. Swanson what is your whole take on what is going on right now in this world, with humanity and everything with life precovid & postcovid ? What all changes do you think has happened that has affected us humans as a whole ?
Ron Swanson was written by much smarter men and women than myself, and so out of respect for their brilliance, I tend to demur at such requests. If they were here to feed me their delicious dialogue, I imagine the answer would have a substantial amount of common sense, peppered lightly with mirth.
I’ve stared to watch Colin in Black & White and I just have to say, superb job. You and Mary Louise are so like-able and at the same time not the flavor of the week. I’m really enjoying myself with this show.
So here’s a question I suppose: is Mary Louise as wonderful to work with as I hope she is?
Mary Louise Parker is a legendary actress upon whom I was so grateful to lean through our scenework. It was tricky to be personally empathetic to the plight of Colin and discrimination in general, while imbuing his folks with legitimate parental love colored by a pre-BLM naivety to issues like microaggressions, and whitewashing hairstyles and so forth. I received plenty of education from watching her nimbly navigate said territory.
How sad are you that Parks and Rec called all your wives Wendy instead of Karen? It's like missing the lotto by one number.
I hope that your fellow redditors will not punish you too severely for calling Tammy 1 and Tammy 2 by the name Wendy. We all make mistakes, I know I certainly do every day, and I think you should be allowed to go on living a fruitful life, despite this crime. Peace.
I hope my question doesn't come off as aggressive, I just wanted to hear from you directly, do you support trans people? And a bonus question about your book: what was your most favorite part to write about?
i am a big fan of human beings, which includes trans people.
How do you feel that you didn’t get the part for Garfield in the new movie?
what is this now
Nick, thank you for doing this! I’m a huge fan and super excited to ask you this. I refuse to believe that Ron Swanson is just a character made up by a team of writers. I like to believe you directly influenced that characters creation and parts of Ron are you. Like, writers sat you down and asked you to fill out a Meyers Briggs test and then said “ok, this is literally Ron Swanson”. Please tell me I’m right? ;)
I'm afraid I can't tell you that you're right, as I am a mere bumbling human, and Ron is so much more.
Hi Nick! What's been one of your favorite fan interactions?
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