It might not as a surprise to Nick Offerman fans that he’s also a successful woodworker. “I feel a hell of a lot better after I walk in the woods,” he told NPR last year. The versatile Illinois-native actor has since taken Hollywood by storm, though he’s been on that track for years. Plus, he’s been married to Will and Grace favorite Megan Mullally for years.
Best known for his role as Ron Swanson in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, Offerman also co-hosts the NBC reality competition series Making It with Amy Poehler. He has provided hilarious voice-work for The Lego Movie franchise and Sing film franchises. We can’t wait to see him in the A League of Their Own TV series. Until then, here’s a closer look at Offerman’s finest on-screen efforts to date.
5 21 Jump Street (2012)
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s 2012 big-screen adaptation of the beloved ‘80s series 21 Jump Street follows police officers Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) as they’re tasked with going undercover as high school students in order to prevent the outbreak of a new synthetic drug and catch its supplier. The buddy cop flick adopted a highly comedic tone, switching gears from the more dramatic and earnest TV show. Offeman is a hoot to watch as the deputy chief in the film update, and the scenes he shares with Hill and Channing are laugh-out-loud funny. His more “meta” turn in the hit film’s sequel was also a scene-stealing performance.
4 Pam & Tommy (2022)
The release of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s private tape was one of the biggest stories of the 1990s and is further explored in Hulu’s Pam & Tommy. Featuring Lily James as Anderson alongside Stan Sebastian as Lee, the series focuses specifically on the theft and subsequent distribution of the video, along with the effect it had on the couple’s lives. One bumbling component of the theft is “Uncle Milty,” played with dry comedic perfection by Offerman.
“I have to give it up to my wardrobe and makeup collaborators,” Offerman recently told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about the process of finding his inner sleaze for the persona. “The artist who did my wig, his name is Barry Lee Moe. And that’s the character right there. That’s 82 percent of the answer to your question. He and I understood that a guy who would have his hair look like that — if you meet that guy, you know. You’re like ‘Holy cow, check your wallet, check your kids and maybe wear a condom just to shake hands with him.’ Between that and the great writing, I feel like I can’t take much credit because I didn’t think, “How can I sleaze this guy up?” It comes from within. I opened my answer with superficiality, but I think all of those aspects are fueled and flavored by one’s inner sleaze.”
3 Fargo (2015)
Fargo season 2 takes viewers back to 1979 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Luverne, Minnesota, where Patrick Wilson plays a young State Police Officer Lou Solverson, recently back from Vietnam, investigating a case involving a local crime gang and a major Mob syndicate. Helping him piece things together is his father-in-law, Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson). The investigation leads them to a colorful cast of characters that includes Karl Weathers, the town lawyer of Luverne, Minnesota played by Offerman. A Korean War vet, Karl is a flowery drunk blessed with the gift of gab and the eloquence of a true con artist.
The folks behind this acclaimed Fargo installment effectively took Offerman’s infamous Parks and Rec mustache and flipped the notion on its head. An outrageously unique look, Offerman sports a whole mess of facial hair for this scene-stealing character — minus the actual mustache part. It’s a hoot to watch.
2 Devs (2020)
With Devs comes a more serious turn for Offerman, and he simply nails it. This acclaimed sci-fi thriller miniseries from Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) follows Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), a software engineer for a quantum computing company run by Forest (Offerman). Lily soon becomes embroiled in the mysterious death of her boyfriend, who died on the first day of his new job at Devs. The series explores themes related to free will and determinism, as well as Silicon Valley. Garland’s latest film Men might have been a bit of a misfire, but Devs was certainly binge-worthy entertainment that folks enjoyed during quarantine as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
1 Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Parks and Recreation ran from 2009 to 2015, but fans are still streaming the iconic show today. The sitcom is a political satire mockumentary sitcom with a similar format to The Office. At first, viewers were skeptic that Parks and Rec was perhaps a rip-off of the Steve Carell-starring series, but it became so much more. The show follows the activities of mid-level bureaucrat Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) who works in the Parks Department in Pawnee, Indiana. Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the series known for its ensemble cast and approachable, comedic take on politics. Thanks to phenomenal performances and writing, the show was nominated for 14 Primetime Emmy Awards. Poehler, Adam Scott, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza and Rob Lowe certainly carried the show, but without Offerman and his ‘stache, Parks and Rec might not have become such a timeless classic.