Last year, some colleges asked Nick Offerman to give a talk. Not knowing exactly what to say, the "Parks and Recreation" star jotted down some ideas, which ultimately became his one-man show, "American Ham."
Offerman said the show includes tips for posterity, a collection of cautionary tales, mediocre songs and minor nudity.
"There's a lot of things young people need to hear," Offerman said. "For my part, I felt I'm being invited to do this show because of the inexplicable success I've experienced, the great good fortune, so I thought I would just try and pass along some notions that helped me get here. There are lessons involving good manners and romantic love, as well as the integrity of hard work and overall enjoyment of life."
Offerman performs two shows Friday at the Warner Theatre.
|Where: Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW|
|Info: 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday|
|Info: $29.50; 202-783-4000; warnertheatredc.com|
Probably best know for his role as Ron Swanson on NBC's "Parks and Recreation," Offerman got interested in acting and show business at an early age growing up in rural Illinois. He credits the writing on "Parks" as the key to its success.
"It's a hilarious character-driven comedy written by the funniest group of TV writers working at the moment," Offerman said. "Also, its getting a lot of special attention, because unlike most popular comedy of the day, which is cynical, our comedy is packed with heart and is quite optimistic. I think that's something people long for in this day and age."
One facet where art imitates life is that Swanson's love of woodworking was inspired by Offerman's love of woodworking. He first started building scenes and props for Chicago's theater scene to supplement his income when he first started acting. After moving to Los Angeles, he built a couple of cabins but now focuses on furniture.
"I got completely bewitched by it," Offerman said. "I remain so to this day. I never have enough time in my shop. I always voraciously am longing to be improving my woodworking skills."
He added that woodworking has a calming affect on him and keeps him rooted to his family back in Illinois.
"One way to have an enjoyable life is to always maintain the attitude of a student, to find something that you love to do that you can always keep improving at," Offerman said. "Life falls into that category and the way you treat people and the way you spend your time. Rather than spend my time in diversions like video games or surfing the Internet or watching Netflix all day long, I greatly enjoy doing something more practical and productive that has an end result. For me, it's a much more rewarding pastime."