‘Parks and Recreation’ star speaks at bookstore


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At his book talk at the Union Square Barnes & Noble on Sept. 12, Nick Offerman, of NBC’s hit sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” had much to say about an array of matters including ballet, meat, theater and woodworking.

The event was held to promote the release of his memoir, “Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living,” which was released last October*. The book consists of anecdotes and advice straight from the life and mind of the comedy star.

The event was packed with Offerman’s fans, who looked forward to a new side of the talented actor. The majority of the crowd was there to see the man behind Ron Swanson, the director of the fictional Indiana city of Pawnee’s parks department in “Parks and Recreation.”

The talk started with Sarah Vowell — an American author and journalist who played the voice of Violet Parr in the popular movie “The Incredibles” — asking him about his childhood and inspirations, leading Offerman to talk about his upbringing in rural Illinois. Unable to experience diversity at home, he set out to find something different and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study acting. After graduating, he started his career in theater and eventually moved into television. All of the details of which are chronicled in his book.

Amongst Offerman’s anecdotes of manliness and his love of meat were references to how his favorite literature influenced him and a recitation of a haiku from his memoir. In an explanation of his book’s title, Offerman talked about his business as a wood craftsman and boat builder.

Offerman also named a few ballet positions and claimed to be able to execute them as well, setting him apart from his character in “Parks and Recreation,” who would consider such frivolities a waste of time. “I know all that shit,” Offerman said, concluding his discussion of ballet in his usual blunt tone.

The second part of the event was an audience question-and-answer session. Offerman responded to a question about his relationship with his wife, “Will & Grace” star Meghan Mullally, and its resemblance to their characters’ relationship in “Parks and Recreation” (where Mullally has a recurring role as his second ex-wife, Tammy 2). Offerman, said they are quite boring in real life.

With “Parks and Recreation” returning for its seventh and final season next year, Offerman’s book talk left fans wanting more of his deadpan humor. Until then, they will have to read “Paddle Your Own Canoe.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 17 print edition. Email Anubhuti Kumar at [email protected].

*Correction: A previous version of this article said “Paddle Your Own Canoe” would be released on Oct. 1. However, the book was released last year. WSN regrets this error.