20 Jan 2016

'Parks and Rec' star Nick Offerman heading to NZ

From Nine To Noon, 11:40 am on 20 January 2016

US comic and actor Nick Offerman - best known for delivering some of the finest one liners in television as the tax-hating, meat-loving American patriot Ron Swanson - is heading to New Zealand.

Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson Photo: You Tube - Parks and Recreation NBC

"Capitalism - God's way of determining who is smart and who is poor," is one of the quotes fans typically like to include in their compilation of Ron Swanson's best moments on You Tube.

Offerman played Ron Swanson for seven years on the hit US comedy show Parks and Recreation and says it was a dream role.

He has a New Zealand connection - Lucy Lawless played his wife on the show.

"She told me a lot about what a beautiful place it is to kayak and hike."

While Offerman has been working to differentiate from Ron Swanson, he told Nine to Noon there were similarities between their personalities - one being their love of the outdoors.

"I just love the peace and quiet that it affords my soul to get out in the woods."

He said writers of the show - which was farewelled this time last year - did a brilliant job of taking aspects of the actors' personalities and writing them into the comedy.

"Early on they came and visited my woodshop and said 'you are an absolute nerd for woodworking so we're going to ring some great laughs out of this' and my love of the outdoors as well. In fact he had a couple of different canoes on the show and those were both canoes that I made myself."

He said his character, while offering up great laughs, was also relatable.

"We really seemed to strike a cord with Ron, putting across an old fashioned common sense that's been lost in this information age, you know? Where he's just a guy who only lives by three rules and if there's not meat in it, then it's not a meal."

In recognising the limitations that being such a well love character can have on a career, Offerman plans on avoiding having his mustache for a while, which was so quintessentially Ron Swanson.

"It's no longer mine, it's become Ron's mustache, and so if I want to play any roles and not be immediately thought of as Ron Swanson then I have to avoid the mustache"

By the time he arrives here he assures he should have a decent beard coming in.

[h] Back to his roots

In less than a month Offerman will bring his high-spirited, one man stage show Full Bush to New Zealand.

From sing-alongs to cautionary tales and tips on manliness - he's promising to bring a hearty serving of chuckles and beefy musk.

Talking to Nine to Noon, he explained what the show's title refers to.

"I do some in-depth scientific discussing of growing one's body hair and the pros and cons of that.

"And full bush also refers to the lifestyle of living at the readiness, in case all of these man-made systems ever fail us. We have to be ready to go into the bush and survive and so that's something that I pay attention to, in case the poop hits the fan. I want to be ready to build a boat and glean my own meat from the wilderness."

He will play his hand-made ukulele, talk about making things with your hands, and he has some material comparing an American experience to a New Zealand experience.

Offerman landed the role of Swanson after years plying his trade in theatre - which was still his first love.

He also likes the world of comedy, which he believed was a far more supportive community than the world of drama.

"There's more insecurities and ego involved and so people are a lot more competitive and they want to see their peers fail."

Community is important to Offerman, who grew up on a farm.

"I always seem to be in some sort of collective where we're all trying to do something good for humanity with our work rather than do something good for our own household."

Would he go back to a television series?

"I'd like to take a couple years off after Ron Swanson to sort of let that experience settle out of my system but I'd certainly be game to take another swing at a TV series. If you're an actor you just like getting a job. I'm not really picky where it's at."

Nick Offerman comes to Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre on Thursday February 11th and Wellington's Opera House, on Friday February 12th.

Listen to the full Nine To Noon interview with Nick Offerman here: