We are entering the post-sitcom landscape, where former half-hour comedy stars are moving over to the dark side and joining dramatic hour-long projects with sometimes heartbreaking conclusions. It’s not a new phenomenon, but lately, the stars of Parks and Rec have been vying for your attention trying to show off on those big-budget streaming shows. We saw Adam Scott in Severance and Aubrey Plaza play her same self in White Lotus. But the most unlikely cast member to tug at your heartstrings is having his big moment, and that is Nick Offerman.
Offerman, known for his deadpan delivery, is not known for playing vulnerable characters, but recently starred in an episode of The Last Of Us as Bill, the isolated survivalist who falls in love with a straggler named Frank in the zombie-infested future. The two play out their years together in quarantine before they ultimately pass. The episode has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike, despite the haters, but Offerman revealed that he originally passed on the series because he “didn’t have time” to read the script. Listen, the man has benches to make.
While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Offerman said that he had been a fan of series co-creator Craig Mazin’s work, but he didn’t think he would be able to board The Last Of Us. “I didn’t have time to go do it, so it was this immediate dilemma. I didn’t even want to read it.” Fortunately, Offerman’s wife Megan Mullally did all the work for him while he was off sanding down a rocking chair, probably.
Offerman said his “incredible goddess wife” read the script and convinced him to take the part. He explained, “She said, ‘You’re going to Calgary, buddy. Have fun! You have to do this.” It’s a good thing he did, as the actor received a fair share of praise for his heartbreaking dramatic performance, a side that audiences aren’t used to from the comedian/woodworking pro.
When asked about the reaction, Offerman said it’s been overwhelming. “It’s a tsunami of wonderful, generous plaudits,” he began. “The episode began airing on Sunday. We had 6.4 million viewers, and HBO… they are so not f***ing around that they send me on the Jimmy Kimmel show on Wednesday to cull the stragglers. They’re like, ‘The 17 of you who haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a treat.'” By “treat” he means “devastating blow to the heart.”
You can watch Offerman’s interview above, and for the 13 of you who haven’t seen it yet, The Last Of Us is now streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes airing Sundays.