This is why I love this cast.
Weird, because I can.
Weird, because I can.
I'm in australia atm, maybe it's outside of US and Europe it doesn't work
This is why I love this cast.
The cast is ****ing flawless.
Showrunner Michael Schur on Building Parks and Recreation’s Fourth Season
Part 1 - http://www.avclub.com/articles/showrunner-michael-schur-on-building-parks-and-rec,81404/
Part 2 - http://www.avclub.com/articles/showrunner-michael-schur-on-building-parks-and-rec,81456/
Part 3 - http://www.avclub.com/articles/showrunner-michael-schur-on-building-parks-and-rec,81531/
Part 4 - http://www.avclub.com/articles/showrunner-michael-schur-on-building-parks-and-rec,81611/
Part 5 - http://www.avclub.com/articles/showrunner-michael-schur-on-building-parks-and-rec,81648/
DP/30 Emmywatch '12: Parks and Recreation, actor Nick Offerman
I'm in love with Offerman tbh
Kanye West Wing in the house!
Love these thing, I read the first three last week. However, my favorite it still the episode-by-episode interview with Harmon for Community's second season.
I'm in love with Offerman tbh
Nick's the best. His laugh is adorable. I love the way he talks about Megan and himself. Perfect couple.
Amy Poehler Answers Tumblr's Questions @ 92nd Street Y
Emmy Watch: 'Parks and Recreation' EP Michael Schur on 'The Debate,' why Amy Poehler is due
In EW.com’s annual Season Finale Awards, readers voted Parks and Recreation‘s season 4 ender the episode most likely to earn someone an Emmy — that person being Amy Poehler. Parks and Recreation exec producer Michael Schur, who thinks there are about a dozen episodes from last season that could do that for Poehler, would obviously love that. “It’s very important to me that people know she’s never won an Emmy before,” Schur says. “I watched this happen with Steve Carell. I think if you ask the average person on the street how many Emmys Steve Carell won for playing Michael Scott, they would probably say, ‘I don’t know. Nine?’ The answer is zero, and it bummed me out deeply. Everyone who worked on that show with Steve feels this way. And now Amy is kinda in this weird similar position where she’s been nominated a bunch of times, and she’s been so good at what she’s done for so long, that I think everybody just assumes she’s been properly rewarded for that and she hasn’t. I hope this is the year that changes.”
Could 2012 also bring the show, which broke into the Best Comedy category last year, its first Emmy as well? Below, Schur takes us inside the episode he hopes voters will revisit.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why is “The Debate” an episode voters should revisit?
MICHAEL SCHUR: The main reason obviously is that it was a true Amy Poehler joint. She wrote it, directed it, and obviously starred in it. We put a tremendous amount of pressure on the episode. [Laughs] We knew we had Paul Rudd in the middle and then we were gonna get him for a couple at the end, so in order to increase the anticipation of his return, Leslie said to his campaign manager, played by Kathryn Hahn, “We’re gonna have a debate soon, and when we do, I’m gonna kick your opponent’s ass.” A huge setup, generally speaking, isn’t really a good idea because it means you really have to deliver something special if you call out how big a deal the episode is gonna be. But we did that. And it was her directorial debut. It was the biggest production we did all year. There were 400 extras, six cameras, crane shots, night shoots, and stunts — Ron Swanson climbed a telephone pole. It was a massive production and like everything she does, she pulled it off effortlessly. She prepped super hard. She watched that documentary The War Room about the Clinton campaign. We broke the story as a group, as we always do. In the outline, it was like, “So the debate is going well, and then this thing happens and this thing happens, and at the end, Leslie makes a big speech and it really moves everybody to tears emotionally and she saves the day.” Okay, go! [Laughs] There wasn’t a single pitch about what the content of that speech should be. That speech that Leslie gives at the end of the debate in that incredibly high-pressure moment is exactly Amy’s first draft. We did not change a single word of it from the moment she wrote it to the moment it aired, which is extremely rare in TV. You rewrite everything.
And Paul Rudd’s reaction to her speech is priceless.
That’s another reason why I would love people to watch it again. Paul gives such an amazing performance. There’s no scene of him behind-the-scenes. He’s only able to convey what’s going on in his character’s weird little brain in the context of the debate. He does such a great job of conveying a guy who is out of his depth, but is kinda trying hard, and has been drilled really hard by his people but he doesn’t fully understand what he’s saying. [Laughs] At the very end, it made us laugh so hard that he comes up and celebrates with Leslie as if this is something they accomplished together. And then he runs off the stage awkwardly in a way that indicates that he’s not even smart enough to understand how exits work.
I’ve watched Amy’s director’s cut on Hulu, and there is footage of Bobby (Rudd) behind-the-scenes. Leslie and Ben go to find him and get in his head and he’s on the floor in the fetal position.
We shot that, for exactly that reason, to be able to show that this guy’s in big trouble. But the episode had so much good stuff in it, we had to cut like nine minutes or something, and that was one of the casualties. One of the biggest reasons I think it’s maybe our best episode of the season is it gives everyone in the cast a chance to shine. Everyone has a big moment. Andy reenacts the movies for people. Nick Offerman sings “Wichita Lineman” at the top of a telephone pole. Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, and Rashida Jones have their story line where Tom makes a huge play for Ann. I think that’s when our show is best, when everyone in our large cast gets a chance to stand out.
Let’s talk about Andy’s movie reenactments. How did those come about?
We came up with the idea that Andy didn’t pay the cable bill, so when they tried to watch the debate on TV, there was no TV. I can’t remember who pitched the idea, but it was that he was trying to entertain people and distract them by reenacting his favorite movies. Again, this is like a perfect storm of goodness from our show: Amy went to Pratt and said, “If Andy were going to reenact a movie for people, what would it be?” And he said, Road House immediately. So she then went and watched Road House and like started to write Andy’s recap. Then she said to herself, “Why am I doing this? Pratt said Road House so quickly, that I’m sure all I have to do is go record him actually doing it, and then I’ll get the perfect Andy reenactment.” So she did that and essentially transcribed what Pratt really said in their dressing room. Which is a genius move as a writer — if you have the actor to write your scene for you, by all means do it. And then, even better was that Pratt, when he was reenacting it that day, he then added four or five things that were even funnier than what he said originally. Like there’s a moment when he clarifies what is subtext and what is not subtext. And then we always like to get a lot of alternatives for the jokes, so Amy asked him on set for one more movie Andy would do, and he said, “I would do Rambo.” But like the most recent Rambo, which Chris Pratt vehemently insists is the best Rambo movie. It’s very important for him to tell people that that’s actually the best Rambo movie. So it was the perfect mix of writer/director Amy knowing exactly how to use this amazing comedy machine that is Chris Pratt, and then Pratt turning that machine up to 11.
I kinda wanted to see him do more of Babe.
I had the same feeling. There was no more of it. That was the actual scripted line, that when you come back to him, he’s just finished Babe. But I thought, Ah, I really want to see how Andy would emotionally relate Babe to me. Which I think is a good sign, right? Leave people wanting more.
In addition to Amy, Chris, and Aziz Ansari (read that interview), Nick Offerman also made our critic’s Emmy Wish List. When I chatted with Nick, he told me you have this wonderful way of making him cry. He said he cried when you handed him the script that included the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Should I believe him?
I believe that’s true. I believe I’ve seen him cry several times. Nick is like a writer and showrunner’s dream. First of all, he’s just a wonderful human being. He also is just incredibly grateful for being able to play this role. He’s been a little bit of a square peg in a lot of different round holes. This part was obviously designed for him, and he settled into it immediately. He’s so happy playing the part and being a part of the team that he will just come and hang out in the writers’ room or on the set when he’s not even shooting. That’s a very rare thing anywhere, a person who loves his or her job so much that he or she goes to that job when he or she doesn’t have to. I remember he got very emotional and weepy on the night our series premiere aired because it was suddenly real. Sometimes he’ll call me and leave me a voice mail that’s just two minutes of him telling me happy how he is, and how great he thinks the show is, and how grateful he is to be a part of this. I play them for my wife, who’s also a writer, and she thinks it’s a bit or something. She can’t believe that it’s real, that someone would be that sincere and grateful and humble and emotional. It’s really who he is, and it’s amazing.
One moment I’ve always wanted to talk to you about is actually from last season, when Ben first told Andy that he has feelings for Leslie and Andy’s response is “You’ve chosen well.” That’s not what one of Liz Lemon’s coworkers would have said about her. I just love that Leslie is actually appreciated.
We take great pains in all the episodes to show how much her friends’ happiness means to her and the crazy lengths that she’ll go to to help her friends when they’re in trouble. Like when Ron is in trouble with his ex-wives, she’ll throw herself on a number of different grenades for him. In the first ever Ron and Tammy episode, Ron saw that happen and it really affected him. It laid the foundation for the rest of their relationship. Part of the theme of the show is if you’re that kind of person, that will come back and help you. That was the whole design of last season for us: When she was in a crisis and her campaign managers pulled out, her friends said, “Screw it, we’ll help you.” That’s the essence of who the character is and the world she inhabits: She’s a person who is so genuinely mindful of the people around her and wants so badly to help them succeed and achieve their goals and dreams that she’s now in a situation where there’s no length to which her friends will not go for her. It’s a little bit of a friend fantasy. [Laughs] She’s what everyone wishes their best friend could be like.
Last but not least, let’s talk about Leslie’s relationship with Ben. I’ll find myself rewinding scenes, like the one in the finale when he tells Leslie he never wrote her a concession speech, just because a smile on Adam Scott’s face looked so genuine. You believe Ben loves Leslie, and there’s no question that she deserves that love — which feels rare for a female on a sitcom.
He’s a very intuitive performer, and I think he very early on figured out what kind of guy this was and what kind of lady Leslie was, and how it would be that he would fall for her. My favorite line, it’s a tiny moment that probably flew right by most people, is in the Valentine’s Day episode. Leslie has set up this insane scavenger hunt for him that has like 25 clues spread all over the city that are incredibly difficult to decipher, and Ben’s rushing around with Andy and Ron trying desperately to solve this incredible Leslie puzzle before he’s supposed to meet her for dinner. When they get to JJ’s Diner, the end of the clue says like “Only 22 clues left to go.” Ben says, “22? God. Come on, Leslie, give me break.” Then he says to no one, “Well, this is the woman I have chosen to love.” Her insanity and her intensity is what he loves about her. It’s why he’ll do things like the scavenger hunt, which is important to her.
Emmy Watch: Aziz Ansari talks Tom's Oh-no-nos list
Season 4 of NBC’s Parks and Recreation revealed more about the extravagant taste of Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) — both at work, with his doomed business venture Entertainment 720, and at home, with his Diamond Collection bed and breakfast amenities. “It’s always just kinda like, ‘Well, where did he get all this money from to buy all this stuff? It’s never really quite explained,” Ansari says with a laugh. “That’s the fun with all the characters in our show: They’re all very different from what you normally see on TV. They’re weirder than most TV characters, but the more you see into their world, the funnier it is.”
To that end, season 4 also taught us about the things Tom considers potential deal breakers in a relationship. No. 3 on his “Oh-no-nos” list: Not loving ’90s R&B music. He was shocked when Ann (Rashida Jones) didn’t know who Ginuwine is after Donna (Retta) shared that he’s her cousin. Watch a clip below. Ansari takes us inside the scene, which just might help you understand why you and Ann like wannabe playa Tom (even if it’s against your better judgment).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why is this scene one of your favorites?
AZIZ ANSARI: When you have a character that you’re playing so much, it’s fun to create interests for them and things you imagine they really like, and then, whenever it’s appropriate, you bring them up. Early on, I decided he’s gonna be really into clothes, and I’d always thought he would be really into ’90s R&B for some reason. So anytime a scene has come up where those interests needed to be put on display, I have go-tos of what I know he likes, in my head anyway. I got that script and the whole thing about Ginuwine was so funny to me because my brother has always thought that song “Differences” was so funny. In the video, he’s sittin’ on a chair and the lyrics are just so heartfelt [sings] “My whole life has changed.” I thought that was such a funny specific for Tom, and then the absurdity of him being Donna’s cousin. It’s like, I guess that could happen? [Laughs] It was just kinda funny that they just went for it. “Yes, he’s going to be Donna’s cousin.” I thought it was so funny to get to play how freaked out Tom would be that Ginuwine was Donna’s cousin. It’s not like Usher. Ginuwine isn’t the most famous R&B player ever but Tom’s world just like explodes. He can’t believe that he’s only so many people removed from someone he respects that much.
It was just last week, right, that you and Conan O’Brien serenaded a member of his audience with “Differences.”
Yeah. [Laughs] I was in Chicago and they were doing shows there and we came up with that bit. I was like, “Oh, it would be funny if I serenaded someone. There’s no song that makes me laugh more than ‘Differences.’ Let’s do ‘Differences.’ I thought it would be a subtle nod to any Parks fans that picked up on it.”
Parks and Rec EP Mike Schur has told EW in the past that you’re very good at knowing where the line is keeping Tom funny but not sleazy. Where is that line for you?
I kinda know it when I see it or feel it. If we get a script and something feels a little bit too much, I always go up to Mike or the writers. It’s important to keep Tom likable. You want him to be a loveable goofball more than a sleazy dude that you don’t want to be around. The trick to that character is to be able to get away with a lot stuff that you wouldn’t normally be able to get away with, selling it with a certain charm. Maybe if someone else said that stuff you’d be like, ” Oh my god, get this guy out of here!” but for some reason, because he says it with a smile, it’s able to kind of work. With that whole Tom-Ann story line, it’s about toeing that line. She knows he’s kind of an idiot, but she’s somewhat charmed by his antics and sees a sweetness underneath. With Ann’s character, the reason she’s with him in some of those episodes is she’s seen glimpses of what he’s really like when he removes all of the bravado. She knows that silly stuff is ultimately coming from a good place. He’s just kinda dumb. [Laughs]
Do you know what Tom and Ann’s status will be in season 5?
I don’t know anything about next season. I haven’t had a chance to talk to the writers about what they have planned, and we won’t get the script until we go back in August. I’m excited to see what they do.
Anything you’re hoping for?
I’m very lucky to work on a show with amazing writers and producers. I trust them to do a good job.
Going to see Aziz tonight. Anyone gone to a show? How was it?
The Rockstar Games Stan
Going to see Aziz tonight. Anyone gone to a show? How was it?
Even though I've never been to any of Aziz's live shows, I know for a fact he never disappoints. NEVER.
Parks & Recreation Boss on Season 5
Were you guys worried at all that you'd be relegated to a different night considering NBC is expanding to four nights of comedy now?
Mike Schur: Yeah. I certainly knew that was a possibility. For obvious reasons, the network had some problems, and they need to fix them. There are no guarantees in this business, and so we certainly talked about the possibility, and the pros and cons of being on another night. Thursday is so crowded. There are so many huge shows on Thursday nights. We just were like, "Look, if you want to put us on Sunday mornings at 11 after Meet the Press then that's fine. Just put us on there somewhere."
What lessons did you learn from last season?
Schur: We were all very happy with the season creatively. The challenge that we have is to find something fun for everybody to do, and it's always been our preference to have every person to be funny in every episode. That was the challenge last year that will continue to be the challenge this year, especially since start the season with certain characters off on little adventures in Washington, D.C. and stuff like that.
You guys shot two different endings for the season finale — one with Leslie winning the election and one with her losing. Was that just to throw people off so there were no spoilers or was there an actual possibility you guys considered having her lose?
Schur: It wasn't just for show. That was an obvious side benefit of it, but it was such a huge decision and had such ramifications for the future of this show that we wanted to make sure we had our bases covered. We decided after endless amounts of debate and a very split writers' room, I would say, but eventually everyone got on board with the idea of her winning. We shot both endings. We figured if a version leaked out that she won, but everybody knew that we had shot both endings, then there still would have been doubt in people's minds.
How will the show change now that Leslie is in office?
Schur: The No. 1 most important thing is to make the show feel the same even if she has a new job or a new part-time job. I don't want anyone to tune in and feel like they're watching a different show, but you also have to honor the fact that the character has this big change in her life. You have to say what her new job is like and how it affects her life. We're going to end up concentrating part of the time on her role as a City Councilor and part of the time on her old life in the Parks Department where she still works, and part of the time seeing how the two intersect, and how they affect each other. That's the general idea. Going forward I imagine there are many episodes where if you didn't know that she is a City Councilor, you would not learn it from the episode.
Leslie has always dreamed of being in office. Do you think it will be all that she hoped for, or is that the fun of next season in seeing how it's not?
Schur: That's a big part of the fun of it is seeing what the reality is. The reality is her old job isn't all wine and roses, it's a lot of frustrating stuff and she has to press forward with her eternal optimism all the time just to do the kind of things she wants to do. I don't think that's going to get any better as a City Councilor. She's not a dummy. I don't think that she has any misgivings about how difficult the road ahead is because she's pretty experienced now as a person who works in government. I think part of the real charm of the character, especially the way that Amy portrays her, is that she doesn't care if she runs into obstacles, she just puts her head down and plows through them. It will just be that the obstacles are slightly bigger and more important.
How will Leslie deal with Ben off in Washington?
Schur: The decision to move Ben to Washington at the beginning of the season was in part because it's very hard to come up with realistic ways that their relationship can come under stress and strain, as all relationships do at some point, because they're so gooey and mushy and in love with each other. As far as how long they're going to be apart or anything like that, we certainly don't know that yet, but we want to make it real. We don't want to have it be that in the premiere all of a sudden he's back. That would be pointless. He's going to be gone for a while. It's also a little bit like the way that Tom (Aziz Ansari) was gone at Entertainment 720 where we still found ways to work him into the show and he was still an important part of what was going on.
You have mentioned before that you didn't think you could ever break up Ben and Leslie. Is that still the case?
Schur: Anything is possible. I would never say never. They're not Ross and Rachel. They're not a mismatched pair where their relationship is based on this hot friction. They are made for each other.
Because Ben is working with Jennifer Barkley, do you expect to see Kathryn Hahn return?
Schur: We certainly hope so. She's an in-demand actress. Say she wanted to be in Anchorman 2 or whatever and then she disappears; well that screws that up. We're looking into that literally as we speak and we're hoping that it all works out.
If last season was about the election, have you guys figured out what this season is gearing up towards?
Schur: We've got a bunch of different ideas. The fun of these characters is that they're all always looking for something new and interesting to do with their lives. Like Tom Haverford is the best example. He's not content with his life, he always wants to strive for bigger and better things and I think that that's true most of the characters.
We dropped a hint during the tag at the end of the finale that Andy's (Chris Pratt) been talking about. Andy's in love with police officers, FBI agents, and CIA agents for a pretty long time. There's a career that he could have as a police officer in Pawnee, and he was excited about that prospect.
Burt Macklin really needs to be a regular character on Parks.
Schur: I love Burt Macklin so much. I was also just completely blown away by Chris Pratt last year personally. I know that I'm biased because he's on my show, but I feel like if there were any justice in the world he would get nominated for an Emmy. I don't think he will because the award shows work in mysterious ways.
If we decide to go with that story line, the point of it would be to see the whole process: from applying to the academy to training to figuring out whether it's even what he wants to do. It would be a more concerted effort and dedication that he's ever shown to any one thing in his life. So I do not think it would be a totally easy pass to glory for him.
Considering Ron (Nick Offerman) helped Andy with college, would he also get involved?
Schur: Yeah. That's a nice little unexpected aspect of that show that we certainly never planned on, but grew organically. Ron doesn't have kids of his own and he has adopted April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy as his children and has, despite his best efforts, become emotionally attached to them in some way and wants to see them grow and change and become better people and stuff. I think he would certainly continue to play that role for both of them going forward.
Speaking of April, with Leslie focusing on the campaign last season, it really provided an opportunity for Aubrey Plaza to step up. Will we see more of that next season?
Schur: Yeah. We really want to keep moving in that direction with her in figuring out what her future is. She's entrenched in the Parks Department and she's getting interested in the possibilities of this life, and just growing up in general and getting some responsibility at what it's like to be married and want to be an adult. I don't ever want to lose the essence of April because the essence of April is what made me fall in love with Aubry Plaza as a performer originally.
Tom and Ann (Rashida Jones) are such an odd pairing. Can you talk about the reaction in the writers' room when that was first pitched?
Schur: Well, it was debated heavily. I imagine this is what Friends was like when they were like, "Maybe Monica and Chandler should get together!" Anytime you do any move like this, you know it's risky and you know it could backfire. It was a guarantee that there would be people who didn't like it, but we really didn't care. We talked about it a lot and we just decided to keep this super casual and not try to turn it into something it would never be. It was just a comedy relationship for 99.9 percent of the time.
But she agreed to move in with him in the finale!
Schur: Yeah, but she said it when she was super drunk and so was he. That's another thing that we're debating right now, whether it happened and then the next day she was like, "What the hell am I doing?" or whether they are living together. The important aspect of that scene is that they were so drunk the chances of them actually remembering that it even happened the next day are pretty slim.
You promised at PaleyFest that we'd see the Tammys — Megan Mullally, Patricia Clarkson and Paula Pell — again at some point. Have you already started planning?
Schur: They're certainly such an important part of Ron Swanson's life, and he is such an important part of the show that I'm sure we'll try. The question is how, and I don't know. I think that the last episode where there was all three of them was such an epic conclusion to the trilogy that we would need to maybe go in a different direction and show them in a different way. They can't all be battling each other all the time.
Maybe they could team up?
Schur: Oh, possibly. Like an Avengers situation!
Chris (Rob Lowe) was in a major funk last season. Will he be out of that next year?
Schur: [Jen Barkley leaving without saying goodbye] did affect Chris, but I think the point of that story for Chris was that he had just had a crummy year, he had hit a lot of romantic road blocks and he was in a funk. He found his salvation in this torrid goofy two-day long affair with this dragon lady who just snapped him out of it and said it doesn't all have to be so serious. That complete detachment that she had as a character probably helped him. Next year obviously we'll want to tell a different story with him, because I don't think we want to repeat ourselves, so I think he'll be a happier person, or at least a person in a different emotional space.
Is there anything you wouldn't do on Parks and Recreation? For example, getting Ron and Leslie together.
Schur: That's what leapt to mind that we would never do that, but I think saying never is a terrible idea. Because you say never to something and then you have it in your head that it's impossible, and then if it comes up organically as a good idea, you've already declared that it's impossible and then you're fighting yourself for no reason. Ron and Leslie getting together is a thing that feels like it wouldn't work and that we're betraying the interesting platonic relationship that they have together. I would never say that we will never do it. If Ron and Leslie getting together is the best possible idea of the millions of ideas we toss around every year at some point in the future then we'll do it, because why not?
Nick Offerman's Proud List of the 25 Most American Things You Can Do Today
1. Shoot your own dinner entrées.
2. Drink American beer while it's fresh.
3. Carry a sidearm into church.
4. Shave your pubes into an American eagle.
5. Place a beef-jerky bouquet on John Wayne's grave.
6. Drive an appropriately sized truck.
7. Read the national edition of USA Today.
8. Make a healthy living simply playing the children's game of soccer.
9. Visit the historical home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and drink a half pint of Old Darlin'.
10. Urinate in North Dakota.
11. Consume USDA-certified meatstuffs.
12. Learn about the Bible in science class.
13. Gape at the majesty of California's giant redwoods while watching Ax Men on an iPad.
14. Carry a sidearm into an antique-furniture store.
15. Stand at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and contemplate the grandeur of the combination safe full of sidearms in your nearby RV.
16. Go an entire week eating nothing but corn-syrup-based comestibles.
17. Appreciate firsthand the natural beauty of American women, particularly my American wife.
18. Not hear any Dutch accents.
19. Stand at the northern border and pass gas into Canada.
20. Secede from the union and form your own island state. (Still working out the bugs in this one.)
21. Watch a WNBA game live and revel in the physical prowess of women who know what the human body is supposed to look like.
22. Catch a largemouth bass, release it, then drive to McDonald's in a Hummer and step up to a delicious McRib.
23. After that delicious McRib, hum "I'm Lovin' It" while carrying a firearm into a Buddhist temple.
24. Become obese, then immobile, and get famous for it.
25. Appear on television and get all the money and tail you could ever dream of by becoming a televangelist.
The GQ&A: Nick Offerman
The Parks and Recreation star on how to be a man, how to love a woman, and why he'll never tweet again
You might be surprised to learn that Nick Offerman—who plays iconic manly-man Ron Swanson on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation—has a giggle that can only be described as girlish. It is at once disconcerting (this is a guy who wields a chainsaw like it's a third arm) and endearing. I got a load of the giggle over breakfast in New York. Not long after allowing his pubic hair to be shaved into the shape of a eagle for GQ's July issue, he and the cast of Parks had come east to receive a Peabody Award. Offerman was wearing a tie-dye T-shirt, jeans, and the bushy beard he favors when his show is on hiatus. Despite a hangover, he was unfailingly polite; the waitress got a please and thank you every time she dropped by. He is also the poster boy for how to treat a woman. Take note, guys: This a man who never misses an opportunity to wax rhapsodic about his wife of twelve years, actress Megan Mullally (who plays Ron Swanson's sex-crazed librarian ex, Tammy Number One). Indeed, Offerman has an admirable affection for old school good manners and a clear code of behavior—rules that, we have come to believe, every man should live by.
GQ: What were you up to last night?
Nick Offerman: A contingent of us—[Parks creator] Mike Schur, Amy [Poehler], Adam Scott and myself went to the season finale of Saturday Night Live. It was really something. I've never seen Mick Jagger perform. The Foo Fighters played live karaoke at the after-party. I am always so happy to be at SNL. I still feel like a kid when I'm there, like I can't believe I'm watching them make the show. I had known Amy back in Chicago in our early twenties, and so eventually when I started going to SNL, it was as if my childhood friend was getting me into the White House. Steve Martin was there last night, and we've met, and I stood next to him for a while.
GQ: You stood next to him? You say that like you didn't talk to him.
Nick Offerman: I've learned through experience that to trouble celebrities with my handshake doesn't do anybody any good. I thought, If Martin doesn't talk to me, I'm not going to add to his evening of, Hello, nice to meet you. So I did not say anything.
GQ: I have to interrupt for a moment: One thing I've come to appreciate about you is that you don't often use contractions.
Nick Offerman: Oh. That's a compliment I don't hear very much. Or, I should say, that's a compliment I do not hear very often. [giggles]
GQ: I'm happy to see that Parks was renewed, which wasn't a certainty.
Nick Offerman: It was a strange time for us. The Thursday and Friday before the upfronts [the May event where the networks reveal their fall shows to advertisers], we still weren't hearing if the show had been picked up, and we were nervous. Then suddenly there were rumors, and for the first time NBC didn't invite the cast to the upfronts. We were, like, what's going on!
GQ: And then that whole thing with NBC firing Community creator Dan Harmon.
Nick Offerman: It was crazy, but not surprising. Dan has been notoriously difficult with NBC. And then he had that really public Chevy Chase feud. I think Dan is brilliant, but we all kind of hung our heads and thought, That's no way for a boss to behave.
GQ: You strike me as a guy who has a powerful code for behaving properly. Are there some rules you could share with GQ's readers?
Nick Offerman: I would say, first of all, be prepared. I can't say enough about that. Right now I'm traveling in New York City, but I still have my Swiss army knife on me. I grew up among farmers in Illinois and so you always have to have the tools you might need in the eventuality of a flat tire or a broken window. In the traditional role of man, it falls to you to keep the weather out and fish in the boat. Two: Be polite. Good manners have gotten me as far as anything else in this business. The first film I did, Chain Reaction, was with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman. I had some really nice scenes as Keanu's building super, which were then completely cut from the film [giggles]. Anyway, at the end of my day on set, I hung up my costume in the trailer, and the wardrobe assistant came to pick it up. I said something involving please and thank you. She stopped, put her hands on her heart, and said, "Can I just say thank you so much for treating me like that, and for hanging up your clothes?" I said, "Are you kidding me?" And it quickly became clear, as I continued working, that having manners was equivalent to a superpower in the business.
GQ: Would you say it's getting worse?
Nick Offerman: Actually, in the twenty years that I've been working, I've seen it start to get better. On Parks, for example, there's kind of a No ****s rule. You cannot get away with diva behavior on our set. It certainly does still exist in the industry, but it's not as prevalent. You can see it in the cars. When young people come into money in Hollywood these days, they no longer buy the muscle car, they buy the Prius. It's amazing to me, the parking row at my show—all these twenty-six-year-old wunderkinds who went to Harvard or Brown and, boom, in three years they're on the writing staff of Parks, And literally it's a fleet of Priuses on the lot. That gives me a lot of hope that we're evolving.
GQ: What do you drive?
Nick Offerman: A little Audi wagon. I would like nothing more than to get a '68 Chevelle convertible. That's my dream—to be Matthew McConaughey's character in Dazed and Confused.
GQ: I'm sure you could get one.
Nick Offerman: Oh, yeah, I could. But I can't in good conscience. I know too much about the world, sadly. For years I drove a big Ford F250 pickup. That was my ride because two-thirds of my work was wood work, and I'm always driving up to Northern California, where I harvest salvaged trees.
GQ: Just for readers who don't know, you have a thriving custom wood shop in Los Angeles, where you build tables and canoes, among other things. Your website, by the way, is beautifully designed.
Nick Offerman: Thank you. And, yes, when my career was primarily woodwork, I needed a big truck. But four or five years ago, when acting work started to take over, there was a shift. One particular day on the Fox lot, a woman shouted at me from across the parking garage—something about what my **** size must be because of the truck I drove [giggles]. I was pretty gob smacked. God, lady! I mean, I get it, I agree with you. But I actually haul trees that I cut with my chainsaw, ma'am. And my genitals are perfectly adequate. Bastard. But that was around the time when I realized it was ludicrous to be commuting in this big diesel truck. And even the Audi posed a crisis of conscience—whether to get the A4 or the A6, which is more sporty and beefed up. But I couldn't pull that trigger. A modern German-made station wagon is so incredible and zippy—it would just be the McDonalds consumer in me that would bump it up to six or eight cylinders.
GQ: Any other rules before we go on?
Nick Offerman: Yes. Learn to do something with your hands. Ladies and men alike find handcrafting to be really sexy. When I met Megan, I was building a set for the play we were doing, and she saw me with my tool belt for a month. I would be a fool to think that didn't have some effect on her hormonal decision.
GQ: I noticed that you sell coffins on your site. Has anyone bought one?
Nick Offerman: Not yet. Being a man of the theater and a hedonist, I find the idea of building coffins very romantic. It's just another version of a wooden vessel that carries us through this world—whether it's a bowl or a canoe or a coffin. But the only coffin, so far, is only this big [he holds his hands about two feet apart]. I lived with this friend in college and Chicago, when we used to enjoy a lot of marijuana. He has a macabre sense of humor, so it was only right that I would make a coffin-shaped stash box.
GQ: Given your very DIY sensibility, I was surprised to see that you had a Twitter account.
Nick Offerman: It was a brief, unfortunate interlude. Megan and I happily eschew all social networking. I got involved because of a movie I produced and starred in, Somebody Up There Likes Me. The filmmaker, Bob Byington, is an old friend and each of his films is his whole life. And he kept suggesting that I ask some of my friends, who have millions of followers, to tweet about our movie, particularly when the trailer went online. I was in the middle of sending Conan O'Brien an e-mail asking him to tweet about it, and thankfully I caught myself and said, Wait a second. That's a real **** move. Conan's gone to the trouble—and a handful of other friends—have gone to the trouble of amassing all these followers, and applying themselves to this service that is free. Grab yourself by your bootstraps and do it yourself, jerk. I also had this humorist tour coming up, and I knew that [Parks co-star] Aziz Ansari does really well communicating with his fan base about his comedy shows.
GQ: What was his advice for successful Tweeting?
Nick Offerman: Aziz told me, don't follow more than ten or twelve people. He said he follows over three hundred and it consumes his life. So I picked just a handful of people that I knew and liked, and was just immediately struck by—it was like signing up for cable for the first time and thinking you need to Tivo seventeen channels, and then you start watching the channels and you're like, There's no need to watch any of them! It was frankly horrifying.
GQ: So what made you stop?
Nick Offerman: A couple of weeks into Tweeting, I was down in New Orleans for a couple of weeks, working on a film with Holly Hunter. We got into some long philosophical conversations about how these social networks are degrading our society and civilization. I immediately started putting it into my humorist show. One of my tips is get a hobby, and part of that section is talking about putting your phone down and doing something with your hands, so that at the end of two hours you have a tangible result to your time. You've still been distracting yourself, by knitting or cooking or playing music, but you've created something instead of played Words with Friends for two hours. Of course smartphones are brilliant inventions, but the nefarious thing about Twitter and other social media is that it starts to fill all the gaps in your day. I quickly become an addict. If there was a pause in a conversation, I didn't think twice about seeing what Rob Delaney had to say. It was on a van ride home from the movie set that everything came together. I realized I had to get off Twitter. It just struck me that I couldn't stop everyone else from doing it, but I could certainly stop myself. Who is it that said, "Be the change you want to see in the world?" Was it John Lennon? It was probably Yoko [giggles]. If John said it, it was probably Yoko who said it first.
GQ: Speaking of great partnerships: One of the best photos I've seen of you and Megan was in New York magazine a few years ago. The two of you posed nude—it was very Rubenesque.
Nick Offerman: That was completely Megan's idea. So many of the good things in my life are attributable to Megan—she's the brains of the outfit. And I'm really good at carrying luggage. I make tables, and she puts illustrious people around them.
GQ: Seems like she's been a mentor since you met.
Nick Offerman: Megan is eleven years older, and fascinatingly—to us anyway—she got Will & Grace at thirty-eight or nine, which is the exact same age I got Parks. I was there for the last six years of Will & Grace, and it was like this incredible PHD program by proxy. By being in the golden position of being her spouse, I had the freedom to walk around and glean everything I wanted to. And one of the things that always occurred to me is that it's easier to win the New Jersey Powerball than to put together a successful sitcom. And there was nothing I wanted to do more than to make people laugh like Megan did, and I just thought it would never happen for me. So now, coming home from work—having just eaten two pounds of beef for a paycheck—it astonishes me and makes me really grateful that I've lucked into Parks. Watching Megan go through all of these career steps and being her support system was unwittingly an incredible education in handling it myself.
GQ: Is it true that you hooked up at a Glen Campbell concert? Are you fans?
Nick Offerman: I mean, we're Americans so, like oxygen and food, we love Glen Campbell. When we started dating in 2000, we went to the Hollywood Bowl for the Fourth of July to see him. The second to last song was "Rhinestone Cowboy," and there were fireworks, both literal and figurative. That was the first time Megan invited me to be her boyfriend. I mean, I had been asking [giggles]. I'd been at the door for a while, and she opened up and let me in to Glen Campbell. So he holds a special place in our hearts.
GQ: You've been with Megan for twelve years, and you're still a little starry-eyed when you talk about her. You seem to love her as much as you did when you met. I think I speak for all women when I say, Tell us how you do that?
Nick Offerman: Again, I have to give Megan a lot of credit. I was still a young actor when we started dating. She had to point out that if I wanted to commit to this, I'd have to step up to the plate and we right away made some rules. We put our relationship above everything else, including acting jobs, and that's what—I think what can erode a relationship is allowing other things to take precedence over it. We have a rule that we will never do a job that will keep us apart for more than two weeks. But I also grew up in this incredibly farm family in Illinois, with an incredible salt-of-the-earth set of parents, so I had an amazing example for me, of a loving marriage. I feel incredibly lucky that Megan and I are still like newlyweds. But I think a lot of it has to do with our sense of fidelity. I have managed to land an absolute goddess of beauty and talent, but still she is a human being and I am a human being. It's not that different from any relationship where you live with someone: At some point they're going to get on your **** and you need to rise above it. I think I can boil down my rule for a happy relationship to one phrase: Swallow yourself. That is something I'm thankful to have learned: Whenever I have a stubborn position on something, I take a deep breath and swallow myself. When let go of my stubbornness, the argument goes away really quickly. Hang on to your ego. I just coined that phrase. You're welcome to it.
GQ: Aside from Campbell, do you have a soundtrack for getting down with your lady?
Nick Offerman: My ultimate soundtrack for lovemaking is Peter Gabriel's Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ.
GQ: That's certainly an unusual choice!
Nick Offerman: Well, if you listen to it—and it depends on your personal timing and cycles of climax but it has some very languid, you know, drawn-out tracks for foreplay, culminating in some blood-curdling screams with driving tribal drums [giggles]. Megan and I share taste in music, and we consider musicians like Tom Waits and Randy Newman and Patty Griffin to be the most romantic musicians. Not necessarily the most beautiful music, but, for our money, the most romantic because it's authentic and from real life experience. When I first got turned on to Tom Waits, I was trying to get my dad to come around, and I played him one of Tom's most moving songs, his cover of "Somewhere" from West Side Story. My dad said, It's a pretty song, but the guy sounds like he's being run over by a dump truck. And I said, "Well, that's the point, Dad." This guy whose voice evokes having been through a lot of **** is singing that there is even a place and time for him.
GQ: I asked a writer who interviewed you what I should know about Nick Offerman that I don't know from the countless articles and interviews. She said that you're a big fan of American pastoral poetry.
Nick Offerman: [sounding shocked] She did?
GQ: Yes. She said that you are a fan of American pastoral poetry, for one thing, and that you tear up when you look at photos of your two dogs.
Nick Offerman: Yes, that is true. Especially when I'm far away from them. But that sounds much too high-falutin' to say I am a fan of American pastoral poetry. Uh, I love to read, certainly. And my favorite writer is Wendell Berry. But, um, I am certainly no expert in literary genres, beyond plays.
GQ: What books are you reading now?
Nick Offerman: I'm halfway through Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace—a writer who escaped my notice until a few years ago, when posthumously his final novel, The Pale King, came out. Mike Schur did his thesis on Wallace and had been in touch with him, and was absolutely religious about his writing. And Mike had organized a reading in Los Angeles—excerpts from The Pale King. It was Henry Rollins, Adam Scott, myself, and a couple of other actors. That was my introduction to Wallace's writing. And to continue in my fealty to Mike Schur, I decided to devour the massive feast that is Infinite Jest. But I am constantly reading Wendell Berry—that's sort of my bible.
GQ: What drew you to Berry?
Nick Offerman: I was working at Steppenwolf doing Buried Child, and this great actor named Leo Burmester befriended me, and on closing night gave me a collection of Berry's short stories. I had no idea what a profound influence he was handing me. And I ended up getting in touch with Berry, trying to get permission to adapt some of his work. And he, so far, has refused. He says that he doesn't want to see anybody's adaptation because all of his fiction is of a piece—all of his stories and novels continue to flesh out his fictional, rural town of Port William, which reminds me of the farm town where I grew up in. So I wrote him back and said, "I'm annoyed because I have to respect your wishes even more, but I'm so disappointed. And I said, You're getting up there in years, so if at some point you feel okay about it, I'll be ready." I mean, I'd really love—if he would ever give me the green light, I feel like his body work would make a great TV series, a la Little House on the Prairie. We'll see what happens. I'm new to the world of getting to do things that I want to.
GQ: Didn't you write an episode of Parks and Recreation this past season?
Nick Offerman: It was called "Lucky." It's the one where Leslie gets a hotshot interview with a guy in Indianapolis, played by Sean Hayes. And Andy finishes his college class and gets his oral exam, and we all go out with his teacher. It's a little bit of a triangle with Rob Lowe, herself, and my character.
GQ: Was that the first script you've written?
Nick Offerman: It is. It's really the first thing I've written period. I love writing. I write short, funny things all the time.
GQ: Including what you wrote for the July issue of GQ.
Nick Offerman: Yes. For years, Megan—god love her—I would leave her a Post-it in the morning on the way to work. And I would get home at night and she would be holding the Post-it and saying, Honey, you really need to be writing. I would say, "Honey, it's a Post-it." Two phrases [giggles]. And she'd say, "Yeah, but you've got the goods." So Mike Schur took a big chance, and I was very tickled to be able to do so.
GQ: What was it like writing for your own character?
Nick Offerman: It was really fun, I mean, I think what gave him the confidence to have me do it is that, from the get-go, I've been writing for my character. We all sort of do, to some extent. I will also pitch line for other characters. We're all throwing out ideas for the stories.
GQ: Does that happen on set or in the writer's room?
Nick Offerman: Mostly it happens on set, but I learned quickly that, in my down time, if I go sit in the writer's room—it's really fun and educational to sit among twelve geniuses as they try to make each other laugh.
GQ: Once, for a story, I got to sit in The Simpsons writing room. There were about a dozen guys, and they would tell jokes, and no one would actually laugh. They'd go, "Yeah, that's funny." No one laughed once, and I'm sitting in the corner laughing my ass off. Is that the way it is in the Parks room?
Nick Offerman: No. We're like children sucking on helium. I wonder if maybe the Simpsons writers had been doing it so long...
GQ: Yeah, they're like professors of comedy.
Nick Offerman: They are as impressed with each other's jokes as the Harlem Globetrotters would be with each other's layups. Like, Eh, okay. Seven spins and a flip? All right, not bad. I mean, we have Mike Scully, one of the old guard from The Simpsons, working on our show. And he has that sly, quiet way about him in the room, where he'll float out a joke. And then there's all these young people throwing a lot more out at the wall to see if it will stick, and Scully's material just rides through. Being in the room while my own script was being broken and rewritten and polished was some of the most fun I've ever had. These late-night sessions where things just devolved into outright silliness. I haven't giggled so much since I was under the influence of something in college.
GQ: What's your favorite Ron Swanson line?
Nick Offerman: Oh, gosh. It's a hard question because, regardless of who penned them, for me it's all of a piece. Actually, my favorite answer to that question is silence. I think one of the things we love to see Ron succeed at is not having to say anything while speaking volumes. Mike and l love Ron's sensibility when he takes an unlikely position and states it very matter-of-factly, as if people are idiots for thinking otherwise.
GQ: The unexpected development in the second season, when Ron becomes Leslie's ally, was one of the show's sweetest developments. It's one of the reasons, in my opinion, that Parks and Recreation went from good to great—which is all part of the bigger picture of making the show less about Leslie and more about the ensemble. It sounds like you're saying that the show is the same behind the scenes—very collaborative.
Nick Offerman: I had dinner with Mike last night, and we were talking about story ideas for next year, and about the season we just created. I learned in my early years in the theater that I would never become the guy on top. I'll never create a show; I don't have a brain expansive enough to see the whole picture, in a way that would behoove anyone. But I learned that I was very good at serving the general. And I love to soldier for someone who can see that vision, like Mike. It's so rewarding for me to have found this place where he lays out the landscaping, and I'm in charge of shoveling. He just tells me where to dig and I know he's going to be very pleased with my hole. [giggles]
GQ: I get a little envious watching the show because who doesn't want to be part of that group? Those characters clearly love each other. Not many people can say that about their co-workers.
Nick Offerman: So many of the sets I've been on are operated, to some extent, under a reign of fear. Quite frequently the kind of mentality, or the kind of personality that can create a wonderful show is also riddled with some kind of insecurity and neurosis, which trickles down. People are afraid that they're going to upset somebody on top, and so there's a real sense of, I've got to be quiet, I don't want to be fired. And there's such a safety net around our show that we can make absolute jackasses of ourselves with impunity. I can honestly say that the show is made with love.
GQ: Tell me more about the humorist show you mentioned earlier.
Nick Offerman: People keep referring to me as a standup, and that just doesn't sit well with me because a lot of my friends are standups and they're brilliant at writing jokes, and I'm not. I learned as a young man that I don't write jokes, but that I can deliver more mundane material and get a laugh. I call myself a humorist. I started doing a show—I wrote it to perform at colleges: It's my ten tips for prosperity. And then I began playing at these big comedy festivals. Another person I really admire is Garrison Keillor, and I would love to aspire to his sort of genre. There's an amazing venue in Los Angeles called Largo. The guy who runs it is this magnificent Irish proprietor named Flannigan. He is someone I really admire. He has the wherewithal to bring together the finest in American music—Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris and Jon Brion and others—and combine it with America's greatest comedy. And it makes for such an interesting sort of goulash. I have been a huge fan of Largo for the fifteen years I've lived in L.A., and become a friend of Flannigan's. So when I was putting together my show—which is called American Ham—I booked a couple of nights at Largo to make sure it worked. It ended up becoming a very popular show there; we've done about six of them so far. And to keep in the spirit of what Flannigan has been doing there, Megan opens for me, singing. I don't if you've ever heard her sing, but she's incredible. She and a young friend of ours, Stephanie Hunt—she played the bass player in Landry's band on Friday Night Lights—formed a band. They call themselves Nancy and Beth, and the two of them are opening for me. And I'm almost embarrassed to take the stage after them because they weave such a beautiful feeling.
GQ: Can you sing?
Nick Offerman: I can. And I do five or six songs in my show. But no one will ever ask me to sing because it's beautiful. My secret is hiding my musicianship behind humor. I never imagined that I would sing and play guitar for an audience. But at each show where I perform, Megan takes notes and coaches me. I think I'm approaching the level of intermediate, which I'm very excited about.
Parks and Rec Poised to Shoot Premiere On Location in Washington, D.C.
Parks and Recreation wasn’t kidding about shipping Ben off to the nation’s capital in the Season 4 finale. When the show returns with its fifth season on Sept. 20, there’s a good chance Adam Scott‘s up-and-coming political strategist will literally be in Washington, D.C.
Sources confirm to TVLine exclusively that the NBC comedy is looking to shoot scenes on location in D.C. for the premiere and perhaps beyond. Parks‘ leading lady Amy Poehler is also expected to make the trek, presumably so Leslie can help her beau get acclimated to his new city.
It was always Parks‘ EP Michael Schur’s intention to follow through on the finale twist that had Ben accepting a job working for a national campaign, thereby creating another obstacle for him and Leslie.
“We want to make it real,” Schur recently told TVGuide.com. “We don’t want to have it be that in the premiere all of a sudden he’s back. That would be pointless. He’s going to be gone for a while.”
I recently rewatched the fourth season, and I think that Chris Pratt deserves all the awards in the world. That dude commits 100% every single time, and kills it in every scene he's in. It'd be great, if he got an Emmy nod this year.
I recently rewatched the fourth season, and I think that Chris Pratt deserves all the awards in the world. That dude commits 100% every single time, and kills it in every scene he's in. It'd be great, if he got an Emmy nod this year.It's one of only two or three other shows I can think of with three or four performers that 100% deserve recognition on that level. The tragedy is they can't both win, he and Nick that is. Have the Emmys/Golden Globes ever done a co-winner type thing with two actors of the same show?
If there was ever a time or show for it, this is it. They seem to be great friends as well, I'm sure they would be very proud to share that honor.