Ron Swanson basically is Nick Offerman, the actor who portrays the old-school bureaucrat on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. From their shared talent for woodworking to a mutual appreciation for simple living, the two have much more in common than impressive facial hair. Offerman once again proved this point in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on Friday, held to promote the April 10 episode of Parks and Rec, which he directed. Here’s what we learned:
Bo Burnham, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and Sam Elliott guest star in the episode.
“Through mere luck of the draw, I was handed an incredible episode, in story and location and guest stars,” Offerman wrote, admitting that he is “openly in man-love” with Elliott, who is reprising his role as grizzled hippie Ron Dunn. “Some BIG s–t goes down in this ep, and Adam [Scott] plays one of the most hilarious and original drunks I’ve ever seen.”
And though he enjoyed his time behind the camera, Offerman says he’s an actor at heart. “I will always prefer the actual clowning in front of the camera, as ‘falling down’ seems to be the arena in which I display the most acumen,” he wrote.
The man knows his whisky.
A fan asked if Offerman had ever tried Balvenie Doublewood 17 year old scotch. Of course he had!
“TWO LARGE THUMBS UP. DELICIOUS,” was his critique of the drink.
The best advice he ever received was…
Offerman gave a two-part answer. “Find work that you love to do, and then find a way to get paid to do that work,” he said. And then: “Always maintain the attitude of a student. If you think you’ve done learning, bitterness sets in, but if you have more to achieve every day, in any arena, that makes each morning’s awakening full of potential and cheery portent.” (Portent is such a Ron Swanson word, isn’t it?)
He’ll put together a mean charcuterie plate.
Yes, he divulged his favorite cheese and sausage. At the dairy case, he goes for “gruyere, no reason necessary. Hard cheddars also set my motor to running. Estero Gold.”
And bratwurst is the way to his sausage-loving heart.
If you can’t grow facial hair, create some.
“Sharpie makes some excellent moustache-enhancing implements,” Offerman told a guy aspiring to Swanson-level whiskers.
The funniest person on the Parks and Rec set is…
“That’s a tough one,” Offerman admitted. “Amy Poehler is our champion and leader, and I would have to say she is #1. Chris Pratt is a true comic genius so he’s #1.1. Aziz [Ansari] makes anything he says ridiculously funny and Aubrey [Plaza] has a delightfully wicked flavor of evil mischief so they’re maybe tied at #1.15. Adam Scott is not behind the folks previously mentioned, plus he wields a mighty sword as a straight man. He’s in the #1.05 region. Retta shares Aziz’s propensity for simply laying out deliciously crisp one-liners, so I’d rank her in the top 6 as well….I think that’s everybody.” Fair enough.
During moments of indecision, ask: What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do?
When a young man asked for advice when conflicted about relationships and work matters, Offerman said, “DON’T TREAD WATER FOR TOO LONG, LEST YOU CRAMP UP AND SINK. Follow your gut, make a choice, and throw yourself into it. If you make a mistake, then you have merely afforded yourself a valuable lesson.”
The actor/life coach then quoted Teddy Roosevelt: “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
He’ll happily hand out advice on woodworking — and dancing.
For the budding craftsman, he suggested: “Read Fine Woodworking magazine, start small with a block plane and a chisel and a spokeshave. Matriculate.”
Meanwhile, to perfect your moves, “ingest an adequate quantity of dance fuel (Snake Juice, where available, otherwise any potent hootch), close your eyes, and shake what Mother Nature gave you,” he wrote.
The chance to write a book is a privilege.
After the success of his first book, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Offerman is now working on another one. “As an avid life-long reader and lover of books, I am hugely humbled and grateful to have the chance to share my thoughts and views and stories in book form,” he explained. “Writing my first book was incredibly gratifying, and now I have begun book 2, which will be a list of Great Americans, with an eye towards exploring how we continue to evolve as a civilization through civil disobedience, muckraking, and rebellious thinking.”
Appreciate the little things in life.
Every once in a while, shut off your computer and get outside, Offerman suggested. “With all of the visual distraction constantly inundating us in the form of our devices and screens, I really derive a great deal of pleasure from watching the sun rise and set, admiring clouds as they change shape across the sky, watching tree leaves and blossoms undulate in the breeze….these treats foment an ocular-cleansing refreshment to my way of thinking,” he wrote.
Parks and Recreation airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.