In his one-man music and comedy show, “American Ham,” Nick Offerman offers “10 Tips for Prosperity,” one of which is to “Paddle Your Own Canoe.” It’s literally and
figuratively what Offerman’s done with his life and career as an actor.
When not stealing scenes as Ron Swanson on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Offerman can be found in his wood shop building canoes, tables, ukuleles, mustache combs and wooden kazoos, among other things.
Offerman, who will be performing Thursday at the Moore Theatre, spoke over the phone recently about his love of wood, meat and top-shelf single malt.
“I grew up on a farm, and the men in my family taught me to use tools, which was invaluable when I got to the city and was not yet very good at acting,” Offerman said.
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On “Parks and Recreation,” Offerman’s character was initially written as a Libertarian foil to Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope. It was only after the writers on the show discovered Offerman’s hidden talent that it was written into his character’s storyline.
“They came and saw my wood shop and said, ‘You’re a total nerd. We’re going to exploit this for lots of money,’ ” Offerman said.
Swanson has been a breakout character on the show, inspiring a legion of tributes and memes on the Internet.
“The idolatry that has shown up has been a pretty hilarious surprise,” Offerman said. “I’m thankful for it, because any attention Ron gets is good attention for our show, and in the current climate of network television we need all the help we can get.”
Much like his on-screen character, Offerman is devoted to rugged manliness and self-reliance, traits he admits are not usually seen on prime-time television. If anything, he’s the antidote to metrosexuality.
More proof of that is found in Offerman’s guilty pleasures: His favorite cut of meat is bratwurst, his drink of choice is Lagavulin single malt (neat) and his music of choice to seduce a lady is Tom Waits.
“I am a blue-collar, hardworking guy,” Offerman said. “I’ve not had my shoulders waxed, and I think it’s interesting and kind of sad that simply having a guy on TV with a mustache has people doing back flips and saying, ‘How did you get so manly?’ ”
What can fans expect from his live show? A bit of singing, some solid life advice and partial nudity.
“It’s sort of a foul-mouthed, less-educated Garrison Keillor,” Offerman said.
If Offerman’s crusade to reclaim manliness and rugged individualism has any lasting effect on society, he’ll happily take credit.
“I am glad that we’re experiencing a throwback to men with hairy chests who can wield a hammer or a chain saw. Hopefully that trend will continue,” Offerman said.
Jeff Albertson: 206-464-2304