Let’s get the political stuff out of the way first, if only because Nick Offerman wants libertarians and Republicans to stop bugging him about Ron Swanson.
During the Q&A portion of his SXSW conversation, Offerman was asked about his “Parks and Recreation” character becoming a “libertarian icon.”
“How can I briefly do this…” Offerman joked. “It didn’t really occur to me, until we got into this dire political situation, that people didn’t understand this was a joke. I think they thought ‘Parks and Recreation’ was a comedy and that Ron Swanson’s parts were a documentary.”
“I really appreciate the tenants of libertarianism,” Offerman continued. “But it’s so far been proven it can’t work without ending in chaos and anarchy.
“And if you’re going to put up a goofball like Gary Johnson, even Ron Swanson would be like, ‘Jesus Christ.'”
Before the conversation shifted away from politics, Offerman mentioned how he was upset during the election when people started claiming Ron Swanson would really vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump, not the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. So he got ahold of “Parks and Rec” creator Michael Schur and then tweeted an explanation why Swanson would never do that.
“More than anything, more than politics, Ron is a good person,” Offerman said. “[And] regardless of your politics, you can’t deny the fact that Trump is a cheese-dick criminal.”
During his hour-long conversation with Nick Kroll, Offerman spoke about a wide array of topics, from what type of powder he uses on his butt — a recurring joke throughout — to how he first met Amy Poehler.
Both Poehler and Offerman began their performing careers in Chicago. Poehler started at Second City and Improv Olympic and later co-founded the now-famous Upright Citizens Brigade. Offerman was performing plays after graduating from the University of Illinois, and he co-founded a theater troupe himself, called The Defiant Theatre.
“It was funny,” Offerman said. “She was in the comedy scene and I was in the theatre scene, [but] we never saw each other’s stuff. […] In college, you think of it like, ‘You make up shit in a bar. Have fun with that. I’m going to be performing literature.’
“So we only met smoking bongs in an attic.”
From there, the conversation switched to cigarettes — Offerman has kicked his bad habit of smoking two packs a day — but it’s safe to say the meeting proved fortuitous for the both of them.
IndieWire will be reporting live from Austin throughout the 2017 SXSW Festival. Keep checking in for updates, and take a look at all our reviews, interviews, and panel coverage here.