At 6:15pm, 45 minutes before Nick Offerman was scheduled to appear as part of his tour in support of Gumption, the second level of BookPeople was already near standing-room-only. By the time 7 o'clock rolled around, there were people standing in the BookKids reading theatre trying to catch a glimpse of the beloved Parks and Rec star during the reading.
At the onset of his talk, Offerman thanked the audience for coming out. "Please keep coming to this bookstore to see authors who weren't on TV, because they write better books." Not unlike his Ron Swanson persona, Offerman was relaxed, confident, and firm in his beliefs. In fact, very little separates the two, the exceptional bristle-brush mustache notwithstanding.
In fact, Offerman was clean-shaven at this appearance and took steps to head off the facial-hair inquisition. "Before you have the chance to upset me with your questions, I had a mustache because I am a character actor who was playing a character who had a mustache. When that job ended, I had to take off the mustache so that I could get other jobs. That is why I have done you the disservice of appearing before you with only my face."
From there he read several segments from Gumption, including a slightly risqué portion of the Benjamin Franklin chapter with a reference to dildos. "Don't worry about that," he said to some youngsters seated nearby. "That's for the ride home."
Explaining that writing this book gave him the opportunity to meet some of his heroes, including Wendell Berry, George Saunders, and Conan O'Brien, Offerman shared a hilarious riff from the Saunders chapter in which he vows to make the interview "as good-written as possible. He is good of writing, and I wanted him to see that I could also, too."
The audience seemed to agree, laughing readily at even the mildest of quips, and peppering Offerman with questions for more than half an hour before queuing up for an autograph. Even Ron Swanson would approve.
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