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October 29, 2013

Nick Offerman’s American Ham Tour Delights Champaign

by Mariah Schaefer

As patrons filed into the Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the chilly evening of October 26, there was a sense of anticipation in the air. Ushers handed out programs and mustaches for the incoming audience, and when everyone sat down in the comfortable chairs, there was great speculation of what the evening with Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation‘s hilarious Ron Swanson, would consist of. 

When the lights were suddenly turned off, it was clear that the show was going to start. A voice that came out of nowhere announced that the University of Illinois alumnus was going to go onstage, and the audience started to clap. As the lights went on, Nick Offerman entered through the left side of the stage without wearing a shirt and ran around for a few seconds while the audience laughed. He stopped in the middle of the stage and put on a red and white striped shirt with stars resembling the American flag.

Nick Offerman’s first words were, “Minor nudity was advertised… and achieved.” That was the start of a hilarious performance.

The evening was very pleasant and allowed the audience to get to know the actor better. He said he did not write jokes, but the show was still very funny.

Nick Offerman talked about his wife, comedienne Megan Mullally, for quite a while, and one could get a sense that he was a very romantic person. He sang a song he wrote for Mullally for her fiftieth birthday, called the “Rainbow Song,” (since she told him all she wanted for her birthday were a card, for him to do one of his funny dances, and a rainbow) and the song was both hilarious and touching.

Offerman explained that he was often asked to speak to college audiences and that he created the American Ham Tour as a means to do just that. The show was focused on his ten tips for prosperity. He told stories and sang songs throughout the evening to everyone’s amusement.

One of the best parts of the show was whenever he laughed at his jokes or the audience’s reaction to what he had just said. His laugh was so unexpected and impossible to be described; it was the kind of laugh that would make anyone smile.

The Parks and Recreation references were kept to a minimum; he only mentioned the show once or twice.

Offerman briefly talked about being a University of Illinois student in the early nineties. He mentioned and thanked Shozo Sato, one of his professors who taught a Kabuki class at the university. Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater.

The show ended in the best way possible. Nick Offerman sang with four of his college friends “5000 Candles in the Wind,” the song Andy Dwyer sang at the farewell to Li’l Sebastian in Parks and Recreation.

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