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Nick Offerman Credit: Emily Shur

Nick Offerman loves weed, history, and political nuance. He’s bringing his one-man show Full Bush to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Nov. 3, and you should most definitely “treat yo’ self.”

Only five days before Election Day, Offerman hopes his humor and music will have a calming effect in the midst of overheated political discourse. If the content doesn’t quiet your mind, Offerman’s famous deadpan vocals and girlish giggle should do the trick. If that doesn’t soothe you, there’s always his handmade ukulele.

In an interview with The Rivard Report, Offerman mulled over the timing and tenor of his show. 

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Credit: Courtesy / Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

“Everything is so complicated. It seems so silly to me to be so angrily blue or red,” Offerman said, “I just want to urge everyone to calm down and give their opinion more of a spectrum instead of being such a sheep and listening to one channel of messaging that says it’s so polarized.”

Offerman’s approach fits his role as a humorist, rather than a comedian. Full Bush is not a series of jokes and zingers, but a more robust consideration of Offerman’s lifestyle and personal philosophies. Politics obviously play some role in that, but the scope is wider.

“I’m not a great joke writer, as it were. So I’ll get some mileage out of the election, but we’ll talk about some other things as well,” Offerman said.

At least one of those other topics will be a brief homage to San Antonio, or at least the food. For years, Austin’s gravitational pull has kept Offerman and others from paying a proper visit to the Alamo City. He is eager to experience some of the restaurant recommendations he’s received over the years.

“I’m dying to devour San Antonio both for its culture and its food. And I’m a history nut,” Offerman said. “There’s a lot to consume there.”

The show will also cover Offerman’s evolving political and social media life.

For those hoping for the kind of scathing character attacks we’ve seen throughout the rest of the election, I wouldn’t count on it. When it comes to politics, Offerman is a pragmatist…of sorts.

“There’s no need to paint anyone as a good person or a bad person. It’s more: ‘Who’s gonna f- up the least?’ ‘Who’s going to kill the least people in the Middle East?”

The woodworking, wife-loving, Midwesterner also once eschewed all social media. However he has recently taken to Twitter to engage in some fact-checking of his own.

Ron Swanson, Offerman’s Parks and Recreation character has become something of a mascot for conservatives. The actor acknowledged this “small percentage of myopic Parks and Rec fans” who claimed his character for their movements, be they Libertarian, NRA fanatics, or just ultra-conservatives.

“This is really angering me that people are misusing Ron,” Offerman said.

He asked Michael Schur, creator of the Ron Swanson character to write an explanation of how Ron Swanson would vote. Offerman posted the Schur’s response on Twitter

He estimates that 92% of the response was delighted amusement, while a hold out minority insisted that Schur, the creator, and Offerman, the embodiment, of Ron Swanson had “gotten it all wrong.”

“Some responses accused me of being a Hollywood liberal and misusing Ron Swanson for my own nefarious ends,” Offerman said.

He’s also not going to make a case, as Ron Swanson might, for a scotch-only society. Offerman’s affinity for marijuana is well known. When I told him my friend had his face on her bong, which she named “Bong Swanson,” he giggled with delight.

“That is the highest compliment I’ve ever been paid,” Offerman said. “No pun intended.”

Obviously, those who desperately want the humorist to be the same hard-boiled, gold-burying, gun-toting Libertarian as his television character may be disappointed, come Nov. 3. But hopefully that disappointment will give way to a delightful alternative: Nick Offerman himself. Those who have read any of his three books, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Gumption, or Good Clean Fun are already familiar with Offerman’s own views on life and manliness. They actually provide a contrast to the swarthy machismo of the far right. For instance, he thinks open carry is ridiculous.

“The movement of gun lovers that walk around brandishing their guns just to kind of prove that they can? I find it really confusing, because they simply don’t need them,” Offerman said. “It would be like if I walked around dressed as a Viking carrying a massive battle axe.” 

Having toured the country and met people from all walks of life, Offerman says he has yet to meet any law abiding citizen who needs a gun on hand in their day-to-day life.

“The façade of American masculinity is really dumb. It’s absolutely just a posture. We live in an age where we’re just an incredibly soft society,” Offerman said, “we don’t have to forage for our food or protect our homes from marauders, and we haven’t had to do so for such a very long time. That’s what this sort of trend of masculinity is speaking to. It’s the sort of the modern, homogenized person saying, “Hey, I also identify with The Rock in that movie.’”

He feels jacked up trucks to be an equally superfluous gesture of men trying to call attention to their own masculinity in a world where such tools are completely unnecessary.

“It looks so sad to me,” Offerman said. 

As for his own reputation for manliness, Offerman laughs it off.

“I’m an actor and a writer and a woodworker,” Offerman said, “I’ve lived a very happy and fulfilling life, some of it in the woods, some of it in the city. Nothing is ever required of me that’s like, ‘Oh we better get Offerman because we need a real man for this situation.’”

Maybe not, Mr. Offerman, but you’re the right man for some election season relief, and we’re thrilled you’ve finally made it past Austin.

Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.