Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Nick Offerman provides partial nudity, 10 tips for a ‘Prosperous Life’

Courtesy of Zoë Kase

Nick Offerman, best known for playing the role of Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” performs in Edison Theatre Sunday night.

“Minor nudity was advertised, minor nudity achieved,” the mustachioed man announced as he walked out on the stage shirtless. “Drink it in.”

Actor Nick Offerman, best known for his portrayal of libertarian, meat lover and woodworker Ron Swanson on the popular NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” spoke Sunday night at an almost-filled-to-capacity Edison Theater.

“This would be a good moment to thank Vernon’s Barbecue. The pork ribs are astonishing,” Offerman said, and then, pointing to his stomach, “Over here’s some brisket, and some very tasty beans.”

Though he was brought to campus for Social Programming Board’s annual fall comedy show, Offerman prefaced his performance by saying he was not a trained comedian.

“You must be pretty big fans of that television program [“Parks and Recreation”] because you’ve come here to see me do you have no f—–g idea what,” Offerman said. “I’m a trained theater actor…a lot of people began to assume that I was a comedian of some sorts once ‘Parks and Rec’ started…wrong. Incorrect assumption.”

However, Offerman explained, once he was asked to speak at universities across the nation, he seized the opportunity to share some of his wisdom.

“I said, ‘You know, there’s some things I’d like to say to the young people of our nation, so by God yes, sign me up,’” Offerman said.

Offerman’s show, which he calls “American Ham,” featured his “10 Tips for a Prosperous Life.” Some of the tips he went into a lot of detail in explaining. Others, like No. 4, “Eat red meat” or No. 6, “Go outside…remain there” were simply stated. Many of the tips came with songs Offerman composed and accompanied on his guitar, such as a song he wrote for his wife, actress Megan Mullally, when she asked for a rainbow for a 50th birthday present, or an ode to the hanky that listed several of its possible uses.

Offerman’s topics of conversation ranged from serious topics such as love, religion, literature and politics to less serious ones, such as his hatred for Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

Offerman advised the audience to make cards for their loved ones, like the ones he makes for his own wife.

“So many of my friends and coworkers will see me making her a card and say, ‘Oh, thanks a lot, Nick, my wife thinks I’m an a–hole,’ and I say, ‘Let me tell you something, Rob Lowe,’” Offerman said.

In another life tip, Offerman encouraged the audience to find a hobby, particularly one in which they make things with their hands, to replace their obsession with online social media and cell phone games. He believed this would rectify the younger generation’s penchant for doing nothing and viewing work as negative.

He also made comments on politics in America, expressing his frustration at politicians who talk about Christianity and the Bible despite separation of church and state, but adding that he doesn’t care what politicians do behind closed doors as long as they do a good job at work.

Offerman also gave his two cents on the current same-sex marriage debate going on throughout the nation.

“I’m pissed…all this ruckus is being made around same-sex marriage when the entire time, vegetarians are being allowed to marry, being allowed to bear children, right here in Clayton, ladies and gentleman,” Offerman said. “The filthy, herbivorous urchins prancing down your sidewalks with a canvas bag full of kale.”

The actor pulled no punches when it came to vulgarity, swearing and making crude references to sexual acts and drugs, including telling the audience his coworker Adam Scott’s nickname for cocaine: “booger sugar.”

Offerman also gave a shoutout to singer P!nk, who, unbeknownst to most of the audience, was supposed to be in attendance for the show. Her crew and band were in the audience (Offerman has a friend in her crew), but the singer unfortunately couldn’t make it.

Offerman ended the show with his own rendition of the song written for the memorial for the fictional town of Pawnee’s beloved tiny horse, L’il Sebastian, on “Parks and Recreation,” with some audience members singing along.

SPB Comedy Director Brian Benton was pleased with the show.

“I think Edison was mostly filled all the way, and the crowd seemed to respond well to the mixed material. It was a longer show than we expected, but I’m happy with how it went,” Benton said.

Although a big fan of “Parks and Recreation,” senior Moira Moynihan was somewhat disappointed by the show.

“Honestly, I didn’t love it. I thought he was funny, but it was clear he was an actor and not a stand-up comic,” Moynihan said. “I think what I took away from the show is that for me, Nick Offerman is an enormously talented actor but his stand-up was not as strong or as well-suited to my tastes.”

Other audience members enjoyed the departure from the typical comedy shows that SPB offers.

“I was glad it wasn’t a traditional comedy show, and I appreciate how down-to-earth he was. The music was cool, too,” senior Miquel Ferrandiz said.

Some fans of “Parks and Recreation” were happy to see references to it throughout Offerman’s performance.

“It was definitely a very humorous mix of guidance and references to the show,” sophomore Will Hunersen, sporting a “Welcome to Pawnee” T-shirt, said. “The Lil Sebastian song was a great tribute to the show and hit home with a lot of people. He was very in character and had subtle moments of just being Ron Swanson.”

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878