Nick Offerman on 'Parks' Ron Swanson, the superpower of manners and romance

Our favorite 'Parks and Recreation' star gave an interview to GQ, and revealed some insider details about the series. 

Nick Offerman on NBC firing Community creator Dan Harmon:

Nick Offerman: It was crazy, but not surprising. Dan has been notoriously difficult with NBC. And then he had that really public Chevy Chase feud. I think Dan is brilliant, but we all kind of hung our heads and thought, That's no way for a boss to behave.

On being a guy who has a powerful code for behaving properly. Are there some rules you could share?

Nick Offerman: I would say, first of all, be prepared. I can't say enough about that. Right now I'm traveling in New York City, but I still have my Swiss army knife on me. I grew up among farmers in Illinois and so you always have to have the tools you might need in the eventuality of a flat tire or a broken window.

In the traditional role of man, it falls to you to keep the weather out and fish in the boat.

Two: Be polite. Good manners have gotten me as far as anything else in this business. The first film I did, Chain Reaction, was with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman. I had some really nice scenes as Keanu's building super, which were then completely cut from the film [giggles].

Anyway, at the end of my day on set, I hung up my costume in the trailer, and the wardrobe assistant came to pick it up. I said something involving please and thank you. She stopped, put her hands on her heart, and said, "Can I just say thank you so much for treating me like that, and for hanging up your clothes?" I said, "Are you kidding me?" And it quickly became clear, as I continued working, that having manners was equivalent to a superpower in the business.

On his relationship with Megan for twelve years, and you're still a little starry-eyed when you talk about her...

Nick Offerman: Again, I have to give Megan a lot of credit. I was still a young actor when we started dating. She had to point out that if I wanted to commit to this, I'd have to step up to the plate and we right away made some rules. We put our relationship above everything else, including acting jobs, and that's what—I think what can erode a relationship is allowing other things to take precedence over it.

We have a rule that we will never do a job that will keep us apart for more than two weeks. But I also grew up in this incredibly farm family in Illinois, with an incredible salt-of-the-earth set of parents, so I had an amazing example for me, of a loving marriage.

I feel incredibly lucky that Megan and I are still like newlyweds. But I think a lot of it has to do with our sense of fidelity. I have managed to land an absolute goddess of beauty and talent, but still she is a human being and I am a human being.

It's not that different from any relationship where you live with someone: At some point they're going to get on your tits and you need to rise above it. I think I can boil down my rule for a happy relationship to one phrase: Swallow yourself.

That is something I'm thankful to have learned: Whenever I have a stubborn position on something, I take a deep breath and swallow myself. When let go of my stubbornness, the argument goes away really quickly. Hang on to your ego. I just coined that phrase. You're welcome to it.

For the full GQ interview, visit: here


Further Reading on M&C

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