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Nick Offerman on what American men can learn from Brits

The moustache behind Ron Swanson tells us man-to-man

Nick Offerman on what American men can learn from Brits
02 September 2016

Nick Offerman knows all about being a man. After all, he’s the actor and moustache behind Parks & Recreation’s Ron Swanson – perhaps the great man’s man in the history of television. With Nick and Megan Mullally having just brought their husband-wife variety show Summer of 69: No Apostrophe to London, we caught up with Nick for a manly chat about Americans – and how us Brits can teach them a thing or two.

Driving something smaller doesn’t make you less of a man

“The American aesthetic, best encapsulated perhaps in the State of Texas, is just the result of human nature. If you give us enough room, why build something as big as we need when we can build it as big as the county? That’s reflected in the history of American automobiles. I grew up in the country and we used pick-up trucks because we needed them to do work. Much in the same way that those of us who grow beards and wear flannel or work dungarees are rather disgusted by the fact it’s become a fashion trend among fellas with very soft hands, I’m easily perturbed when I see people driving these enormous work vehicles just because it makes them feel taller or somehow more impressive.”

Real man-food is about quality not quantity, fellas

“Just like our vehicles, our chicken fried steaks are bigger than the plate. A lot of my heritage comes from the British Isles, so I’ve always had a taste for bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie. I love a Scotch egg more than anything. Americans have much larger portions but personally I feel the food is either bland or powerfully over-spiced with some monotonous flavour – like a massive pile of wings that tastes only of jalapeno. These aren’t things that Americans are better at, but instead the signs of the decline of civilization through over-consumption.”

Show some gentlemanly pride in your appearance

“My wife has great taste and I have very little taste myself. She always comments on how well dressed people are in London. But even a dullard like me will notice there’s a lot more attention paid to one’s appearance, and depending on your social situation I can give or take that notion. When working in my workshop or going to the lumber yard I’m not worried about the kind of knot in my tie, but generally being out and about in public we always appreciate that British men pay more attention to a level of dapperness.”

Don’t laugh at any old rubbish

“People with a more refined sense of humour or deeper appreciation of deadpan are more likely to enjoy British comedy. I feel that American comedy – the more popular stuff – hits the audience over the head, much in the same way that a plate of nachos is an incredible culinary overkill. The last comedy that I watched was probably the work of Ricky Gervais, both The Office and Extras. And that’s a great example – they were much appreciated by connoisseurs in the States, but they weren’t mainstream hits. Those of us that like the good stuff will drive very many miles to see that kind of work, but by and large people just like to sit on their couches.”

Love sports? Be more like soccer fans

“I really enjoy sports. I’m from Chicago so I’m a fan of the Cubs baseball team and Bears football team, but that can be disappointing. I find the devotion to what you call football or “footie” incredibly charismatic. We were in Europe recently during the big Euro soccer contest. There was the big beer garden and there must have been 3,000 people sitting watching big screens. You could have heard their cheers for miles. To be part of a community with a voice that loud would be incredible. It’s sweeping the nation in the States too. It may one day overtake badminton or snooker. We also saw some polo recently and I found that astonishing. The ability of the players to even make contact with the ball while astride a pony with an incredibly long handled mallet was impressive.”

But if Brits can learn one things from us Americans, it’s to take some pride in your facial fuzz 

“A set of whiskers should be carried with confidence. Some people wear them unkempt as befits their standing, while some meticulously groom them. I have one main technique, and that is don’t shave. If you can practice that every day, it just seems to fill in. But I think that there’s an old-fashioned view of Americans through the eyes of the Brits as having a touch the cowboy or ruggedness as the exploring, adventuring colonists. I would suggest to British gentlemen they should hold their heads up high with their whiskers, because the Americans are growing the same facial hair they’ve probably just read less books.”

For tickets to Summer of 69: No Apostrophe tomorrow night at the Hammersmith Apollo visit