NEW YORK – If you like Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, then you’ll like Nick Offerman, the actor who plays him.
Swanson is the director of the parks department in the Indiana town of Pawnee where Parks and Recreation is set.
Offerman has the same deadpan delivery as his character, and he’s a guy’s guy, who loves carpentry.
Besides NBC’s Parks and Recreation, the 42-year-old actor has a live musical-comedy review, American Ham, and a new independent film, Smashed, starring Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Offerman’s wife, Megan Mullally (Will and Grace), has a supporting role in the movie.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Offerman talked about working with his wife, his role on Parks and Recreation and co-star Amy Poehler, and why he likes independent films.
Q. Some couples don’t like to work together. How is it OK for you and your wife, Megan Mullally?
A. I think the accepted rule of thumb is that you don’t bring your marriage to the workplace, but we feel very lucky that for some reason I think it’s important that we both are successful. If one of us wasn’t succeeding, I think that would make a difference in the paradigm, but we both are getting to exercise our own weird muscles, and we’re able to leave our egos out of it. We love working as a team and I love to see her succeed and I’m very aware of how that helps me in our household.
Q . What makes Megan so great comically is she just goes for it.
A. We met during a play in Los Angeles, and I think that was our initial attraction to one another. That’s where the best comedy lies, is making a total fool of yourself.
Q. Which of your cast mates on Parks and Recreation are so funny it’s hard to do scenes with them?
A. It’s so hard not to laugh at Amy. She’s just so wickedly funny, and I’ve had to develop this psychological trick where I pretend she’s my sister. I have a couple sisters and there are reasons when you hate your sisters’ guts where like in high school everyone loves one of them for some reason so you hate them because of their popularity. I try to get into this mindset where she’s being so funny and I think to myself, Oh, you’re so funny. Everyone loves you so much. And I pretend she’s my sister. It allows her humor to not affect me for a moment. But even that she batters through (laughs).
Q. What makes you enjoy independent film?
A. I grew up in a wonderful, large farm family in Illinois where we all pitch in to get the work done and pitch in to have a party or a meal and my whole life I’ve enjoyed collaborating with a group. I come from Chicago theater where we were literally never paid a cent through all those years but we were paid so richly in experience and fellowship and craft. Independent film reminds me of where the crew and budget is small enough that you can feel all of you making this piece of art together.