Behind-the-Scenes at Ask TOH with Nick Offerman
Actor and woodworker Nick Offerman visits the Ask TOH workshop to play "What Is It?" and offer advice for novice woodworkers
Before he gained fame as Ron Swanson, the head of the parks department with a penchant for woodworking, on the hit NBC show Parks and Recreation, Nick Offerman clocked a lot of his time in workshops—first as a set builder in Chicago and Los Angeles, and later as a custom furniture maker. Nick brought a special tool from his woodshop to try to stump the guys in a round of "What Is It?" for a recent episode of Ask This Old House.
Shown: Ask TOH host Kevin O'Connor, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, Nick Offerman, general contractor Tom Silva, and landscape contractor Roger Cook
Like any "What Is It?" segment, it began with the four guys around the table giving their best goofy guesses. In this case, Kevin thought Nick's tool could be used as a mustache groomer—and he even brought a fake mustache to improve the facial hair ratio (in the company of mustached Tommy, Roger, and Nick).
Shown: The guys laugh as Kevin workshops mustache jokes before Nick arrives.
While Tommy, a veteran carpenter and woodworker, could easily identify a spoke shave, he played along and imagined wearing a wood bow tie as the ultimate accessory. He even came up with a fake awards show, the Woodys, where he said he wore the bow tie each year.
Shown: Tom tries on a bow tie as Roger looks on in amusement.
Sometimes, coming up with silly jokes for the "What Is It?" segment is the trickiest part of the show. Here, Kevin and Richard workshop ideas as producers Seth Szilagyi and Heath Racela look on.
Shown: The cast and crew all offer suggestions to make the segment as funny as possible.
While Kevin and show producer Heath Racela go over ideas for an interview with Nick, the technical crew is busy making the workshop look camera-ready by setting the lights in just the right spot.
Shown: Gaffer Ryan O'Donnell (left) and cameraman Nick Kolinsky (right) prepare the lighting setup while producer Heath Racela and host Kevin O'Connor (both center) discuss the segment.
Nick arrives on-site, and the fun begins! During take one, the cast has a hard time keeping it together as Nick speaks in his famous deadpan manner.
Shown: Richard and Tommy look on as Nick presents the tool from his shop and asks, "What Is It?"
Between takes, Tom tests out the spoke shave Nick supplied, which was custom-made by his team at Offerman Woodshop.
Shown: Tom and Nick take turns shaping a western red cedar canoe paddle.
By the fourth take of the scene, Nick and the guys shared a rapport and were cracking each other up. Producer Heath Racela looks on and tries to keep the shoot on track.
"I was more excited and starstruck to come to Ask TOH than I would be to work with Robert De Niro," said Nick.
Shown: Nick shares a laugh with the cast as producer Heath Racela looks on.