Actor, comedian and woodworker Nick Offerman is coming to Madison this weekend for comedy, but he’ll stay for the beer and cheese.
Offerman, the “Parks and Recreation” actor, will do a live show at the Orpheum Theater Saturday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m — and he offered some praise for the city of Madison.
“Any school that would have a badger as its mascot first of all has to be incredibly charismatic and would score very highly in my book. … I’m really fond of the scene in Madison,” Offerman said. “[Madisonians] seem like a group of bubbly, peaceful, artistic, vibrant people with open minds and excellent beer-cheese. And meat. Meat and whiskey.”
The zeal of Offerman’s character Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation” has taken him from countless appearances on shows like “Will and Grace,” “24,” “ER” and “Gilmore Girls” to appearances in major TV shows and movies, such as “The Simpsons,” “21 Jump Street,” “22 Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie” and pretty much every major late night talk show.
When I spoke with Offerman last Friday, the unmistakable deep, yet soft tone of his voice had such a vibrancy to it that put me at ease — almost as if I was talking to a more witty and gentlemanly version of my own father.
When Offerman talks, it’s so easy to forget where Nick Offerman begins and Ron Swanson ends, probably because the real-life person and the quirky, masculine sitcom character hold so much in common.
“There are not a lot of cuts of meat that you could put in front of me that are going to hurt my feelings,” Offerman said. “Any well-prepared steak makes me light up like Christmas morning. I have never met a pork chop I didn’t like. But the bratwurst, for some reason, is nearest and dearest to my heart.”
Offerman’s roots in the theaters of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and Chicago bring a dynamic to humor that is unique and clean-cut. It is always calculated and articulate, but ending with humor that is side-splitting and unexpected.
Based on the long pauses after each question he was asked, you could tell that Offerman thrives on thinking out his humor ahead of time so it can grab you at the last second.
“I’ve never found a better recompense than the reaction of a live audience,” Offerman said. “I grew partial to it. I love it — especially playing at colleges because I have a very vested interest in the young people of our nation. I want to pass along some of the great lessons I’ve been given to the young people so that hopefully they can save the planet from assholes like my generation.”
Offerman’s love of food and all things Wisconsin seems to be in line with his “Parks and Recreation” character and real-life personality, a woodworking, meat-loving guy’s guy.
Parting with these last words, Offerman left with a promise to anyone who might disagree with the traditional fare of Wisconsin.
“I’m greatly looking forward to coming to Madison,” Offerman said. “It’s one of my all-time favorite cities. It’s the only place where you can get a Bratwurst in the form of a burger, and to me — there is no finer comestible than a deep-fried cheese curd. I like to ‘hug-before-punch.’ I’m a peaceful man, but I’ll fistfight anyone who doesn’t agree with that comment.”