Nick Offerman is truly a man of many talents |
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Nick Offerman is truly a man of many talents

Shirley McMarlin
Actor Nick Offerman will bring his Full Bush Comedy Tour to Pittsburgh's Benedum Center on Nov. 5.
Greg Gayne/NBC
Nick Offerman starred as Ron Swanson in the award-winning 'Parks and Recreation.'
Fox Searchlight Pictures
R.J. Cyler, Nick Offerman and Thomas Mann in a scene from 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl'
Nick Offerman as ‘Ron Swanson’

If there’s a Renaissance man for our time, it just might be Nick Offerman.

From acting on stage and screen, doing voice work, producing, writing books and songs, to building and then paddling his own canoe (and making many other things in his Offerman Woodshop in Los Angeles), Offerman does it all.

Probably best-known for his breakout role as the meat-and-whiskey-loving misanthrope Ron Swanson on the award-winning NBC sitcom, “Parks and Recreation,” Offerman will soon test the reality TV waters with “Making It,” an NBC craft competition series he’ll host with “Parks and Rec” co-star Amy Poehler.

In the meantime, he’s been traveling far and wide, off and on for about three years, with his “Full Bush Comedy Tour,” which will hit Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center on Nov. 5.

Offerman is currently touring Thursdays through Sundays until the tour comes to its final end, with a taping in December.

“It’s a much more healthy way to be on tour,” he says. “This way I still get kissed a couple of days a week (by wife and fellow actor Megan Mullally).”

The promos say “Full Bush” is a collection of (Offerman’s) “sawdusty musings on survival in the wild, living with enthusiasm, and most importantly, the cultivation of fulsome body hair.”

The actor himself says it’s also “a lot of fun and very heartfelt. It’s a treatise against consumerism, inviting people to shake hands with their neighbors, hang up their screens and make things with their hands.”

A view of the ‘Burgh

The Benedum performance won’t be Offerman’s first time through Pittsburgh.

“I filmed ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ there, which is a great independent film and one of the best things I’ve ever done,” he says. “It shows off Pittsburgh at it’s most beautiful. It’s one of the best-looking cities I’ve seen, with the architecture and topography.

“You can smell the work ethic when you walk around.”

One spot left an indelible impression.

“There was a place downtown with a deceptively simple name — Meat & Potatoes — where we would go for a very hedonistic meal,” he says.

Beyond the “Bush”

Offerman says he’s excited for the premiere of “Making It.”

“Rumor has it that it will be in January,” he says. “We’ve already shot the first season of six episodes.”

The show’s original title was “The Handmade Project,” which Offerman says was changed to avoid confusion with the popular Hulu series, “The Handmaids’ Tale.” Judges for the competition will be Simon Doonan, creative ambassador for New York-based Barneys clothing stores, and Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s resident trend expert.

“They’re much more the experts on style and design,” Offerman says. “Amy and I are the wise-cracking cheerleaders relating everything to the audience.”

With all his talents, Offerman says, there are a couple of things he’s not so good at.

“I can’t sing in a manner that could be described as lovely, and I can’t draw,” he says. “I’m reminded of that frequently in the woodshop, when I have to have someone else draw up the plans.

“If I had to give everything up but one, I’d choose to keep making people laugh. There’s nothing I have made with my hands that is as pleasing as a room full of medicinal laughter.”

Swanson still speaks

And because he’s gone, but not forgotten, here are a few Ron Swanson gems on life, liberty and the pursuit of the perfect meal:

• The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so. To me, that’s beautiful.

• My idea of a perfect government is one guy who sits in a small room at a desk, and the only thing he’s allowed to decide is who to nuke.

• I call this turf ‘n’ turf. It’s a 16-ounce T-bone and a 24-ounce porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American.

• There are only three ways to motivate people: money, fear, and hunger.

• Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish … and feed yourself. He’s a grown man. And fishing’s not that hard.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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