The man. The myth. The mustache.
Nick Offerman’s role as the government-hating and breakfast food-loving craftsman, outdoorsman and pencil pusher Ron Swanson on the beloved NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” has made him the avatar of neo-Americana, a caricature of the sensitive lumberjack we all wish we could be.
Their show, “The Summer of 69: No Apostrophe,” aims to bring all the raunchy laughs of their marriage to the Mahalia Jackson on April 19.
It wasn’t easy to clear space in their careers to tour, Offerman said.
“We created this show last year and were about to start touring, and then my wife got cast in this big Broadway hit show called ‘It’s Only a Play,’ so we postponed the tour to this spring. We’re really excited. We’ve been sitting on this show waiting to bring it to the people,” Offerman said.
The tour, featuring music and naughty humor, was inspired both by Offerman and Mullally’s marriage and by fans’ exaggerated expectations of their relationship.
“Inexplicably, our relationship has been sort of mythologized,” he said.
“Our fans tend to treat our marriage like something of legend, and that’s something that we find humorous, so we decided to capitalize on it and wrote this show … kind of like a much sexier Sonny and Cher.”
While Offerman is deeply in love with his wife and often says so, he admits that the two of them getting together in the first place was unlikely.
“Megan had just completed two seasons of ‘Will and Grace’ and was suddenly like a huge comedy legend, and I was living in somebody’s basement. So I think there would have been a class separation if we had just met at the grocery store or at the bus stop.”
Fortunately for true love, the couple instead met while starring in a play together in Los Angeles.
Since then, the two have guest-starred on each other’s shows several times, with Mullally playing the villainous ex-wife of Offerman’s character on “Parks and Rec.”
Offerman’s real-life marriage wasn’t the only thing that made the jump from fact to fiction during the creation of Ron Swanson, though Offerman claims there’s less of himself in the character than fans might think.
“I think maybe 5 percent,” he said. “It was the creators Mike Schur and Greg Daniels and their crack team of writers who took parts of my personality and said, ‘We can make comedy out of this guy.’ I think it all worked out very fortuitously.”
Offerman has said that he finds supporting roles to be more interesting, because there’s no fun in playing the “straight man that everything happens to.”
It’s uncertain where his career will head now that the show that made him famous has ended, but if past roles are any indication, it’ll be somewhere interesting.
“You get a lot of close-ups of say, Tom Cruise, where we’re just looking at his face because it’s a nice thing to look at and it’s proven to put people’s cabooses in theater seats.
To actually do that, and spend a day having my face filmed is just not as fun as getting to eat an enormous platter of steak and bacon,” he said.
Offerman is excited to return to New Orleans, and not just because the bacon melt at Butcher, adjacent to Cochon Restaurant, is a personal favorite of his.
“We love New Orleans, Megan and I. We’ve been there a lot … and we’re really excited. There’s an element of bacchanal to our show, where we take a sort of comedy marriage and explode it in a ribald way that will really appeal to the New Orleans audience.”