17 Things We Learned from Nick Offerman's Latest AMA

Nick Offerman's Twitter Account
Nick Offerman's Twitter Account / Nick Offerman's Twitter Account

The man otherwise known as Ron Swanson took to Reddit today to answer anything, often in his delightfully dirty way, in advance of the episode of Parks & Rec he's directing April 10. Here's what we learned about Offerman, his facial hair, and woodworking, among other things. (Beware: Some profanity below!)

1. The one thing he really doesn't like.

And that's feta cheese. Offerman does like other cheeses, though: "Gruyere, no reason necessary. Hard cheddars also set my motor to running. Estero Gold."

2. How his wife, Megan Mullally, feels about canoes.

"Her stance on canoes is, of course, seated," Offerman said. "One should not stand on canoes. She loves to paddle just like her dear old husband, and boy, howdy, does she look good doing it."

3. What 19th Century Figure he'd model his facial hair on.

It's the man for whom sideburns are named, "Union Army General Ambrose Burnside." Offerman also put in a link so you can check out the style for yourself.

4. The best advice he's ever been given.

It's a two-parter: "1) Find work that you love to do, and then find a way to get paid to do that work," Offerman said. "2) Always maintain the attitude of a student. If you think you've done learning, bitterness sets in, but if you have more to achieve every day, in any arena, that makes each morning's awakening full of potential and cheery portent."

5. There is no secret to his facial hair.

"I was lucky enough to have been born with some bracken-like whiskers," he said. "If you do not share that fortune, I suggest you cultivate an interesting hair coif or perhaps some pleasing accessories, like a driving cap." If that fails, "Sharpie makes some excellent moustache enhancing implements."

6. He has good advice for dealing with indecision.

"DON'T TREAD WATER FOR TOO LONG, LEST YOU CRAMP UP AND SINK," Offerman said. "Follow your gut, make a choice, and throw yourself into it. If you make a mistake, then you have merely afforded yourself a valuable lesson."

7. And pretty good advice for raising kids, too.

"I have not raised a child, but I believe the fact that you're asking questions and paying attention are very good signs," Offerman told one redditor who has a 4 week old baby. "Love your bairn, try to gently steer him/her towards handtools and away from CNC driven woodworking, which is basically robot craftsmanship. Make sure he/she knows to raise the grain before finish, especially in walnut. When the time is right, introduce charcoal/wood as the clear alternative to gas. Simply put: Give a shit."

8. His favorite adverb is...


9. Here's an Offerman-approved method for learning how to dance...

To learn how to dance, Offerman suggested the follwoing: "Ingest an adequate quantity of dance fuel (Snake Juice, where available, otherwise any potent hootch), close your eyes, and shake what Mother Nature gave you."

10. And how to get started in woodworking.

Do the following: "Read Fine Woodworking magazine, start small with a block plane and a chisel and a spokeshave. Matriculate." He also suggests "begin[ning] with some hand tools, chisel, saw, block plane. Learn to sharpen your steel and then see how it shapes the wood with such ease. Check out a set of Flexcut carving tools and just start building your fundamentals." And if you're just getting into woodworking and have never built a canoe—one of Offerman's specialties—"maybe try a breadbox first."

11. Offerman must really like Teddy Roosevelt.

He didn't explicity say so, but Offerman did quote the great man twice, offering "I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life" at a Redditor's request for a quote to put in an oak frame he planned to make, and "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed" to the Redditor asking for advice about conquering indecision.

12. What he thinks we should all appreciate.

It's the simple stuff: "With all of the visual distraction constantly inundating us in the form of our devices and screens, I really derive a great deal of pleasure from watching the sun rise and set, admiring clouds as they change shape across the sky, watching tree leaves and blossoms undulate in the breeze....these treats foment an ocular-cleansing refreshment to my way of thinking."

13. The funniest Parks & Rec Castmember is...

"Pratt, easy," Offerman said, when asked which makes the rest of them crack up the most. "Lots of mad talent in the ensemble, and Amy is in a league of her own, like the league of Tina and Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, but Pratt has the wildcard flavor to make us all shit little green apples." But when asked who was hands-down the funniest, Offerman said, "that's a tough one," before elaborating,

Amy Poehler is our champion and leader, and I would have to say she is #1 Chris Pratt is a true comic genius so he's #1.1 Aziz makes anything he says ridiculously funny and Aubrey has a delightfully wicked flavor of evil mischief so they're maybe tied at #1.15 Adam Scott is not behind the folks previously mentioned, plus he wields a mighty sword as a straight man. He's in the #1.05 region. Retta shares Aziz's propensity for simply laying out deliciously crisp one-liners, so I'd rank her in the top 6 as well.... I think that's everybody.

14. He has a lot of favorite books.

"I love a series of books that perpetually fleshes out a world," Offerman said, "like Wendell Berry's Fiction (start with The Memory of Old Jack or Nathan Coulter), The Lord of The Rings, Madeline L'engle's Wrinkle In Time series, The Horatio Hornblower series, Patrick O'Brien's 21-volume Aubrey/Maturin series, The Flashman Papers, The Sharpe series, Little House On The Prairie, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Martin Amis' Dead Babies and Time's Arrow, As I Lay Dying, Michael Pollan's entire catalogue, for a start."

15. He really loves beer.

So much that he won't pick a favorite. "Solemn Oath (Naperville, IL)," Offerman said, before continuing, "I love beer too much to choose...Guinness, Lagunitas, Sierra Torpedo, Negra Modelo, Old Rasputin, Anchor Steam, guinness, Sam Smith, Newcastle, Old Speckled Hen, Pliny Old and Young, Founders Breakfast Stout, Delirium Tremens, I could go on..."

16. And he's working on a new book we're dying to read.

"Writing my first book was incredibly gratifying," Offerman said, "and now I have begun book 2, which will be a list of Great Americans, with an eye towards exploring how we continue to evolve as a civilization through civil disobedience, muckraking, and rebellious thinking."

17. He's into knitting.

Sure, woodworking is his first love, but he's also into knitting, as he revealed when he was advising a Redditor on how to get into woodworking without a shop. "With a block plane and chisels and a spokeshave, you can make smaller items in any room of the house," Offerman said. "A small lathe is also a great choice for a variety of output/not a lot of space required. Knitting is also surprisingly fun and clean!"