5 Truly Fascinating Things You Need To Know About Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman in Parks and Recreation

You may be one of the many Parks and Recreation die-hards who have every philosophical anecdote of the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness memorized, and even could have incorporated much of it into your life. However, what facts do you know about the man behind the carnivorous, libertarian, walking hardware store, Nick Offerman?

The Joliet, Illinois, native became a household name after he was cast in the scene-stealing starring role on the beloved NBC sitcom. Since, he has gained prominence as a best-selling author, comedian, serious actor (such as his recent role on Alex Garland’s sci-fi mini-series Devs), and husband to the equally funny actress Megan Mullally.

More casual fans probably think they know all there is to know about the humorist just from watching him play Ron Swanson, but, believe it or not, they are not actually the same person, excluding a few particular details. The following are a few lesser-known facts about the real Nick Offerman.

Nick Offerman in his Netflix comedy special American Ham

Nick Offerman Co-Founded An Award-Winning Theatre Company

Nick Offerman’s pursuit of the art of acting began at the University of Illinois, where he began studying theatre in the late ‘80s. That would lead he and his friend, who shared the same major, to start their own “off-loop” Chicago-based theatre troupe. They called the company Defiant Theatre, which quickly proved to live up to its name.

Since it was founded in 1993, Defiant Theatre was defined by, and acclaimed for, its irreverent variety of productions. Shows they put on ranged from traditional staples like MacBeth to more obscure titles like the satirical Action Movie: The Play or modern day fairy tale The Skriker, for which Nick Offerman and his colleagues won a Joseph Jefferson Award Citation in the Puppetry and Masks category. The last production the company would put on before its official disbandment in 2004 was a stage adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.

Nick Offerman as a dancing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation

Nick Offerman Can Dance Ballet

Nick Offerman has never been shy to show off his skills in dancing, just as how he most recently demonstrated his breakdancing moves during a 2018 appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden. However, there is one style of dancing that he is not as vocal about, save for a 2013 interview with Chicago Magazine in which he admits to taking two semesters of ballet at the University of Illinois, adding:

If you had told me when I was 12 and my uncle Don taught me to use a socket set that I would be celebrated for that skill one day, I would have laughed long and hard. It’s not a manly thing. It’s a human competence thing.

Coming from a family who took on careers in farming, firefighting, and other responsibilities of the like makes the admission a moment of slight embarrassment for Nick Offerman. Yet, no matter how little of a “manly thing” ballet may seem to the actor, his most famous character certainly makes up for that.

Nick Offerman as a frowning Ron Swanson

Nick Offerman’s Casting As Ron Swanson Was Based On A Slight Fib

It is impossible to imagine anyone else playing Ron Swanson by Nick Offerman for how he so flawlessly embodies the Pawnee, Indiana’s, most anti-government government official. Yet, according to Parks and Recreation casting director Allison Jones, that could have been the case because the executives at NBC were initially unimpressed with the actor’s portrayal.

Fortunately, as Jones revealed to the New Yorker in 2015, all she had to do convince them otherwise was to coyly remind them about their positive “instincts about Nick Offerman.” Suddenly believing that they had been interested in the actor the entire time, they would soon meet with him again, and the rest is history. Believe it or not, this situation was no rarity for Allison Jones, who added:

They forget that shit, they see so many people. I do that all the time.

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally as Ron Swanson and Tammy on Parks and Recreation

Megan Mullally Mistook Future Husband Nick Offerman For An Older Man

Of the many details of his personal life that Ron Swanson prefers not to discuss, easily the most frustrating is his bittersweet romantic life - the story of which includes two ex-wives both named Tammy, the second of which is played by Nick Offerman’s real-life spouse, Megan Mullally. The Will & Grace star referred to her initial meeting of her future husband as “a comedy of errors” in an interview with the Sundance Channel, citing one mistaken assumption on her end as the most embarrassing (and maddening) aspect.

When Megan Mullally met Nick Offerman while starring alongside each other in a stage production of The Berlin Circle in 2000, the then 41-year-old actress was pleased to meet a man she assumed to be in his late 30s (having been fed up with younger men hitting on her), until she was pissed to learn he was only 29. Luckily, love prevailed and the pari wed in 2003, eventually penning a tell-all memoir of their romance in 2018, aptly titled The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.

Rob Lowe and Nick Offerman on Parks and Recreation

Nick Offerman Turned Parks And Rec Set Pieces Into Woodworking Projects

While Nick Offerman has his fair share of characteristics that distinguish him from Ron Swanson, one real-life skill of his that was integrated into his Parks and Recreation character is his skills in carpentry. In fact, the actor runs his own Los Angeles woodshop on the side, at which he takes on woodworking commissions himself from time to time, including some projects of his own design.

For instance, after shooting wrapped up for the final season of Parks and Rec, Nick Offerman salvaged some scraps of wood from the set and used them to build commemorative canoe paddles for the cast and crew. I cannot think of a more fitting way the actor could have said his farewells to the series responsible for eventually making his biggest accomplishments possible.

Well, do you feel more acquainted with Nick Offerman now? If not, be sure to check back for more information and news updates on the versatile performer/carpenter here on CinemaBlend.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.