By Eric Rosane
On October 7, Central Washington University welcomed comedian and actor Nick Offerman to campus for Homecoming Week. Below is a detailed account of the anticipation, the laughter and the appreciation for Offerman’s comedic spirit and delicious ribaldry. Thank you for sharing Homecoming Week with us, Nick!
What’s all the Hype about?
Outside, just two hours before the event would be underway, the excitement and chattering had already begun. People arrived in groups of four and five, some even in groups of six. From the elderly to the collegiate, fans lined up the second-floor mezzanine of the SURC near the ASCWU offices.
An hour and a half before the event, people continued to arrive and fill the growing line. The chattering and ecstatic energy of the line continued to build. Some stood and some sat, but there was not one person was talking of anything else but the night’s performance.
“What material do you think he’s going to do?” one person in line asked her friends.
“Sure, I’ll take a Pic-Nick,” another person said, as the Hype Street Team ran the length of the line. We carried a small cut-out of the Nick Offerman poster, taking pictures of the people in line.
Putting it all together
Towards the beginning of the line, former Director of Campus Activities and ‘King of Being Recently Retired’ Scott Drummond sat in a chair near the entrance to the SURC Ballroom, conversing with people as they passed by. Since the 70’s, he has worked hard putting together and planning these events, but this year was his first on the sidelines.
“If the students are behind it, and say ‘do it,’ well… you do it!” Drummond said, referring to the process of planning homecoming headliners.
Drummond appeared to be enjoying the crowds as he waited for a seat up front. The Campus Activities torch was passed this year to CWU alum Robbi Goninan, who now directs the homecoming headlining event with a team of talented student programmers.
The show begins…
The clock struck 7:00 – it was time. The staff opened the doors of the SURC Ballroom. The stage was well lit. On center stage sat a guitar, ukulele, mic stand and a single water bottle perched on a short stool.
Throughout the ballroom, 800 seats flooded with an audience that was very eager for the “man himself,” Nick Offerman. Two large projected monitors framed the large stage of the SURC Ballroom, each with a rendition of Offerman’s iconic “Full Bush” poster.
As the excitement of the audience grew, and coincidentally the noise simmered, Ted Wolfe, a student programmer at Campus Activities, came out on stage to introduce the audience to Nick Offerman.
Offerman came out onto the stage with a five-o-clock shadow, unbuttoned plaid shirt and with a thousand-piece puzzle in hand. This was a sight foreign to many who knew Offerman as the beloved Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, and the crowd’s energy was palpable.
The great thing about Nick was that he seemed genuine, and his material was beyond relatable.
He began by speaking about how beautiful Washington state is. Between rambling on about how he’d love to “get-down” with his wife at the Snoqualmie falls and explaining the mere idiocy behind state mottos, Offerman found a way to close the gap between the audience and the entertainer. Not just by giving away the thousand-piece puzzle, but by breaking down the wall that encapsulates Nick as “more than your average Joe.” The great thing about Nick was that he seemed genuine, and his material was beyond relatable.
“Thank you. And welcome to my ‘Full Bush,’” Offerman said after his first song, he himself even resisting the urge to let out a boisterous chuckle.
Lessons from not Ron Swanson
It is an understatement to say that Nick was very quotable. Between the sexual innuendos, “TMI” stories of his and his wife’s sexual life and relatable stances on oversharing on social media, there was a lot to learn.
Throughout the performance, Offerman was able to relate all of his material to a certain life lesson. From giving back to your loved ones and being proud of the shitty ukulele that you’ve made to doing what you love to attract the person you love and giving your all to the people you love and the things you do, Nick was able to share what he loved in life especially with regards to his passion for woodworking and loving his wife and family.
“Making things for people is a great way to tell people ‘I love you’ without having to utter those horrendous words,” Offerman said in regards to putting your all into everything you do and everyone you love.
Thank you, Ron… er… Nick Offerman!
From everyone here at the Publicity Center, thank you Nick Offerman for your tales of “verbose ribaldry” and generously detailed stories of communion with life. Thank you for being unapologetically yourself.
Check out the additional event coverage by students and community members!