Nick Offerman has acted in countless roles, but none have made a lasting impression quite like his Parks & Recreation character, Ron Swanson. Whether he was serenading you with the seductive sounds of his saxophone or making you burst out into laughter with his deadpan comedy, Nick always kept us entertained.
And before Nick introduces us to his latest role in his new film Hearts Beat Loud, hitting theaters this Friday, we thought it would be a great idea to reminisce with him about his time on the Parks & Rec set.
He stopped by to answer your questions and here's what we learned:
Was the Ron Swanson character written for you? If so, what's the biggest difference between you and the character?
Did you improvise a lot of your lines on Parks & Recreation? If so, what's one of your favorite improvised moments?
Which episodes made you break character the most?
Which of your past characters do you identify with the most?
NO: I mean, the character I got to play the most of by far was Ron Swanson, and there were parts of him that I identify with very much because they were built on attributes from my own personality. The woodworking, the incredibly smooth and sexy jazz saxophone playing, the deep reverence for Little Sebastian...that magnificent goddamn little horse — umm, let's take a moment of silence [Nick takes a literal moment of silence for Little Sebastian]. And also the sense of when Ron seemed like the dad of the group, I identify with that very much because I come from a great family with a great mom and dad, and so in a group situation I'm often prone to be like, "Okay, does everybody have a sandwich? Who needs a beer? I'm driving. Please use your seatbelts."
What was it like working with your wife, Megan Mullally, on Parks & Rec?
Speaking of Will & Grace, was it hard for you to keep your composure during the Thanksgiving episode when you played a plumber and Karen slapped you? Was the slap real?
Who do you still keep in touch with from Parks & Rec?
What did you like best about each of your Parks & Rec co-stars?
NO: Much like my new film Hearts Beat Loud, opening across the country this June, Parks & Rec also had a great cast of characters. I mean how much time do we have:
* Amy Poehler is an incredible ship's captain. She's a wonderful leader. Besides being a comedy machine, she just explodes rainbows and hilarity out of her face at every given moment. She was such a wonderful team captain and I learned a lot from her about being a leader.
* Aubrey Plaza is a horrible devil spawn. As soon as she enters a room, there's a smell of brimstone and cloven hooves. And everyone starts reaching for their wallets and worrying about their virginity, to be quite frank. You really want to use hand sanitizer if Aubrey's been in the same county as you.
* Rashida Jones is a walking talent machine. She's way too good at acting for someone as good-looking and charismatic as she is. I originally auditioned to play a love interest of hers and they saw the two of us together and said, "Nah, nobody's gonna buy that. Let's make him the guy who likes bacon."
* Adam Scott is, I think, the greatest leading man I've worked with. I consider him our Jimmy Stewart. He's such a funny, subtle actor, and a really sweet guy to boot.
* Chris Pratt I didn't really notice much. He just kind of disappeared into the woodwork and didn't get much attention. He has one of those faces and his build that you're just like, "Oh yeah, I think he was there. I didn't really notice. Was he in that scene?" I'm not sure what became of him. We were always worried that that was his peak and he would probably have trouble getting work after this. Wherever he is, I hope he's doing great. Probably driving a bus somewhere outside of Spokane.
* Rob Lowe. I was always a little jealous of Rob Lowe because he had a really intense kissing scene with my wife in the movie About Last Night, from a long time ago. So I was always thinking of Rob Lowe as this actor that I enjoyed in my life, who had kissed my wife. Then in one episode of Parks & Rec, Rob and I were required to kiss one another, and now it's Megan's turn to be jealous. He's such a great old pro. He's been a leading actor for decades and so it was great to have his acumen on set. He's seen it all and you can always learn a lot from someone like that.
* Jim O'Heir...I'm tempted to say something mean about him because that was the running joke with his character, but I'm not going to. He's the sweetest, most wonderful guy. We're both a couple of actors from Chicago who worked really hard for many years before we got that big break, so it was wonderful to go through it with Jim. I couldn't say enough about him. He's been an incredible good sport to take such a hard time from us all of these years.
* Retta is an unstoppable force. She's such a kickass lady and she's so funny as a comedian. She was such a real part of our office, you know? She got so many huge belly laughs with her subtle, realistic, I've-seen-it-all-and-I've-had-enough-of-this-office-job reactions. I'm thrilled that she's doing so well.
* Aziz Ansari. I almost left off the shiniest cast member. From the moment I met Aziz, like many of us, I just marveled at how he can say anything and it's hilarious. He just has a little dial that he turns up one point and he'll say like, "Hold on you guys, I gotta tie my shoes," and it's somehow the funniest thing in the episode. So, it's no surprise that he's had a pretty skyrocketing career in comedy. It was always really fun to do scenes with him because hearing him say things was so enjoyable and I could pick him up and carry him around like a small pet, which is an enjoyable thing in any cast member.