Nick Offerman is exactly what you imagine him to be.
With a manly aura of self-confidence bred from authenticity rather than fame, the sarcastic funnyman strode into a movie theater in Brooklyn last Saturday for a talk-back after a screening of his new indie movie Somebody Up There Likes Me. Fashioning a wrinkled plaid shirt and a striped beanie, Offerman looked more like a lumberjack than a Hollywood heavyweight.
The actor known primarily for both for his sexy 'stache as well as for his cult-inspiring dry rendition of Parks and Rec's Ron Swanson, looked out at the audience and said, "Not bad," as he assessed the turnout. He boyishly shrugged, propped himself onto the stool as if he were at a bar and shot us a subtle smile.
"Alright. Let us talk now," he said, over-pronouncing every word with intention. After an awkward pause he giggled. His shrill laugh sent rhythmic convulsions through his otherwise stoic body. "Thank you all very much for coming. Honestly." He earnestly nodded as he crossed his arms. There was no doubt in the room that Nick was just being himself and that he was never not himself.
Somebody Up There Likes Me is a modern-day fable that used the cooperation of both actors and non-actors to tell the quirky story of a group of peculiarly apathetic people who watch their lives fly by. Offerman's starring role in the offbeat independent comedy by director Bob Byington is a particular highlight as it showcases the actor's deadpan comedic genius.
In the film as well as in real life, Offerman crafts hilarity out of seriousness, giving new meaning to the term seriously funny.
During the laid-back talk-back, Heavy was able to ask some questions and get some cool facts about the carpenter-turned-actor that may blow your mind:
He Loves to Break-Dance and Rap
As Nick talked about his farm-oriented childhood in the small rural town of Minooka, Illinois, he offhandedly mentioned, "I mean, I was a break dance aficionado in the '80s." There wasn't much to do back home and apparently pop, lock and dropping was a pretty influential part of adolescence. Although he didn't show us his rad moves, he assured us that he was "pretty damn good." But the deadpan Nick Offerman isn't just a break-dancer, he's also a rapper. His wife, actress Megan Mullally, who is part of the musical duo Nancy & Beth, even took hubbie Nick on tour with her this year. Nick was particularly enthusiastic about a rap appearance he did in Nancy & Beth's musical rendition of "Smell Yo' Dick." Check it out:
He's The Sissy of His Family
Offerman may give off an ultra-masculine vibe in pretty-boy-populated Hollywood, but to his family, he's the sissy. "Let me remind you, I was the only one in my family that went to theater school. Theater school." he reiterated. After mentioning how his family is made up of tough farmers, he unabashedly confessed, "I mean, I used to do ballet."
Sissy or not, Nick Offerman is a carpenting pro. When the comedian was asked about his passion for woodworking, his face lit up with delight. "I could talk about this all day," he said. Nick went on for various minutes about the art of building canoes, his tools and relished in the specifics of crafting the mustache comb. You can buy his wood work online.
He's Happy He Didn't Make it Until Later in Life
According to 42-year-old Offerman, he's happy he didn't hit his professional stride until later in life. "If I had made it in my teens or early twenties, I'd probably be high and speeding on a motorcycle somewhere." Offerman, who went to a theater school, said he "sucked" until he began to understand what his particular voice was. "I was trying to be something I wasn't," Nick explained while talking about his early career. It was only after Nick decided to embrace his particular sense of humor that he began to thrive.
He Loves All the Characters He Plays
In Someone Up There Likes Me Offerman plays an overly confident, insensitive and snarky waiter who at one point in the movie tells a dying man that he holds no sympathy whatsoever. When asked if he liked his character as a person, Nick didn't hesitate for a second. "As an actor I feel you have to love all the characters you play in some way. ... Sh*t, an actor talking about his craft" — he scoffed at his self-detected pretentiousness — "but seriously, I think that is very true." Offerman said he he loved his unlikable character in the movie because of his unabashed confidence. "He's like those 50-year-old men that wear Ed Hardy and get laid. They think they're getting laid cause of the dragon on their shirt but it's because of their confidence."
Check out a clip from the movie:
Nick Was on the Set Will & Grace a Lot
Offerman married Will and Grace star Megan Mullally in 2003 and was able to visit the set a lot during its run. While there, Nick learned an important lesson. He distinctly remembers how, during the shoot of the episode "A Chorus Lie," Eric McCormack's character said a particularly funny line that had been changed during the shoot.
"I said to myself, 'That's a remarkably witty line,' so I went and asked the writers, 'Who wrote that?' and they all looked around and were like, 'We don't remember.' That stuck." It was then that he realized the importance collaboration and found it an important lesson he took on when he joined the cast of Parks and Rec.
His Grandfather Was His Comedy Inspiration
"I didn't really understand that he was funny until I was older, but my grandfather was f*cking hilarious." Nick Offerman's grandfather was a serious man with a serious sense of humor. When Nick was just a kid, his straight-faced grandfather would drive through cornfields, pretending to wave at nonexistant passersby, completely straight-faced. Isn't that something you could imagine Offerman doing?
He Loves Yiddish
Offerman may be from the "whitest town and hence, the most boring town in America," but our favorite stache-fashioning man loves to pepper Yiddish into his jargon. "The first Yiddish word I came into contact with was hutzpah." But hutzpah, which means shameless audacity, isn't his favorite Yiddish saying. "I just love the concepts of the shlamazel and the schlemiel. As I understand a schlamazel is someone who spills the soup at dinner and a schlemiel is who the soup is spilt on," Nick explained as he let out another boyish laugh. "How amazingly...specific."
He Said He "Looked Like an Anus"
When I asked to take a picture with my Park and Rec favorite, Offerman said yes, even though he "looked like a total anus." I think we can all agree he looks pretty awesome.