One of the 10 rules that Nick Offerman revealed to a sold out audience at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Friday, Feb. 8, was simply that. Eat more red meat. No explanation necessary.

Nick Offerman after he achieved brief nudity for the Royal Oak audience on Feb. 8, 2013. Photo credit: Alyssa Firth

NBC’s Parks and Recreation star and founder of Offerman Woodshop recently decided that he had a lot to say to audiences after being invited to several college campuses to speak. Each night of his American Ham tour begins with the comedian and actor walking on stage, shirtless, carrying a guitar and a star spangled shirt.

“Brief nudity was promised… Achieved.”

Thus begins a night of life lessons that, really, anyone can appreciate, but more so with the omnivore crowd. Offerman, who is a real-life, more talkative version of his character Ron Swanson, pleased the Michigan crowd quickly when he said there wasn’t any better type of Coney Island than the simple chili, onions, mustard and cheese combo. Someone in the audience opposed the cheese and Offerman replied: “I will have cheese on my God damn Coney if I please, sir.”

Taking no crap from the audience from the beginning set the tone for the night with not only respect for the experienced theatre actor, but a night of never-ending laughter. The 10 rules to live a successful life were intertwined with Offerman’s personal anecdotes that were not only hilarious, but let you in on what shapes the Ron Swanson-type man.

The first rule, engage in romantic love, extended into a delightful expression of love for his wife of 10 years, actress Megan Mullaly, who also stars on the NBC as Swanson’s frightening ex-wife. Simply put, feel free to love and don’t be ashamed of it.

Next, remember to say “please” and “thank you,” always carry a handkerchief (because it makes you a better person, obviously), and again, eat red meat. Offerman has no qualms with Ron Swanson’s passion for all things meat and told the crowd that, “We’re making a mockery of eating animal flesh and it will not stand in my house.”

The fifth rule is to find a hobby or discipline. It makes for a happier individual according to Offerman and teaches you more than just the skill at hand.

The next rule is another obvious of Swanson: Go outside. Get fresh air, get off Twitter and be happier. Offerman said he tried Twitter for a brief time and left the social media site soon after because of how easily he became addicted to the site. Going outside also leads you to being with friends and loved ones more often than hanging out by yourself, trapped in a Tumblr-Twitter-Facebook-Reddit stupor.

“Eight people and one beer is more fun than one person and eight beers,” he said.

Rule seven: Avoid the mirror. If you don’t look at yourself, you don’t have to feel self-conscious. Easier said than done, but he makes a valid point.

No anecdote was funnier than the story to go along with his eighth rule, “Maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ… if it gets you sex.” Without going into too much detail, it involved a 4-year relationship Offerman had in high school with an extremely good-looking Christian girl and the intense temptation the two felt (and often couldn’t resist).

Rule 9: Use intoxicants. To each his own according to Offerman. He couldn’t deny the pleasures of any intoxicant to any individual, although he remained sober throughout his performance.

The final rule, the most important, is to “Paddle your own canoe.” Make your own choices and create your own path. If you want something, go out and get it because there’s no reason not to work hard for something you believe you can do.

Ron Swanson: A man’s man. Nick Offerman: A pretty wise and intelligent guy with a lighthearted, awesome take on life.

The American Ham tour may or may not come back to Michigan, but here’s the ten rules to live by for your convenience:

1. Engage in romantic love
2. Remember to say “please” and “thank you”
3. Always carry a handkerchief
4. Eat red meat
5. Find a hobby or discipline
6. Go outside
7. Avoid the mirror
8. Maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ…….. if it gets you sex
9. Use intoxicants
10. Paddle your own canoe

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