The Huffington Post: I have to start off by asking: Is this interview with Nick Offerman or Ron Swanson? If this is Ron, I can't imagine he'd have much interest in speaking with me.
Nick Offerman: No, Ron would be out in the woods and unavailable for this. He'd be unable to be reached for comment.
On a more serious note, how strange is it to play a character so iconic that resonates to such a degree that the question of where Ron starts and Nick begins would even come up?
That's definitely one of the strange aspects of having a character hit a level of popularity like this, but I quickly reassure anyone who asks that they're talking to a fully rounded human being and not a hilarious, fictional television character.
Like Ron, I understand that you are an avid woodworker. You recently penned a column for HuffPost Culture's "Obsessed" series about the craft. How did you originally get into it?
My family is made up of farmers and, generally, like great Americans, we all grew up with a great set of skills and used tools. I also grew up building theatrical scenery. I spent many years building scenery as a large part of my income and that allowed me to really develop my shop skills. When I got to Los Angeles, I started building cabins in peoples' yards, building post-and-beam structures and cutting the joinery for those. The woodworking spell really got a hold of me and has not let go.
I'm curious if, like Ron, you've ever taken away anyone's coffee privileges in real life?
Sometimes in the wood shop, the elves need admonishing, but I don't think I'd ever do anything so harsh as to take away their coffee privileges. I usually just make them sweep.
It's funny, growing up there was never anybody around me with any kind of artistic bent. And looking back, I can see clearly that I always wanted to perform for people and entertain people, but at the time I was just a class clown. Nobody seemed to think it was a great idea for me to get into the performing arts.
When I was in high school, I would perform every year in those plays and there was something I really loved about it. But I was completely unaware that you could sort of get into an acting career. From where I was, it wasn't on my radar. Fortunately, when I was at the University of Illinois with my girlfriend, she was auditioning for their dance department. I met some theater students in the hallway randomly one day and I asked them "What do you mean you're theater students?" They said that they study theater and when they graduate they hoped to go to Chicago and get paid to work in plays. I said, "You can do that for a job?" And I went home and told my mom and dad I'd like to go theater school, please.