About 40 people walked out of “Parks and Recreation” star Nick Offerman’s sold-out performance Feb. 6 at Reynolds Performance Hall.
Offerman’s style of humor was described as “vulgar” and involved controversial subject matter, resulting in some audience members leaving the show as early as thirty minutes into the performance.
Audience members who walked out of the show said the bits of Offerman’s routine that mocked Christianity and promoted various behaviors regarding sexual acts and intoxication offended them.
“He was just very offensive with his language and misquoting the Bible,” senior Rachel Dodson said. “He said the F-word in a verse as a quote. It’s fine if you don’t agree with [the Bible]. He would have got a lot of his point across if he had just been respectful about it.”
Offerman teased Christianity in various parts of his show, such as in his cover of Carrie Underwood’s popular song “Jesus Take the Wheel,” called “Jesus Take the Weed.”
Another bit of his show mocked churches, which he called “really expensive book clubs.”
The dry crudeness of his performance differed from the characters he is best known for, such as Ron Swanson on the NBC TV show “Parks and Recreation.”
Other attendees enjoyed Offerman’s performance.
“I thought he was really funny, but he was way more vulgar than I thought he would be,” freshman Nolan Foster said. “He was definitely not as family friendly as I expected.”
Freshman Ben Eslick said he really enjoyed the show because Offerman had a lot of profound things to say while simultaneously being funny.
Offerman also spoke about working at his woodshop, where he builds various strutures and smaller items, and also about his performance in plays when he is off-screen.
When colleges first asked Offerman to speak, he said he initially declined.
“It’s not something that I do,” Offerman said. “I don’t perform as myself. I’m a theatre-trained actor.”
He said he later reconsidered and decided he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to communicate the messages his mentors taught him growing up to a younger generation of students.
“I’ve been very lucky but I’ve also worked really hard, and I’ll try to make [the crowd]laugh while communicating some of the ways I think I might have been successful,” Offerman said.
His performance included ten tips, such as “go outside and stay there,” and “use intoxicants,” to comically convey the message he felt the college aged youth needed to hear.
SAB president Brian Thompson said he’s sorry about what happened with the performance.
“I feel that we probably did not realize the level of his ideas that went into his show,” Thompson said. “I hope people understand that it was just a comedy show.”
Thompson said that because of the reaction given by part of the audience, SAB will do more research when scheduling guest speakers in the future.
“The problem for this show was that [the show]was a new thing for Offerman,” he said. “He hasn’t been doing these types of shows very long so we really didn’t have much to go off of, aside from his portrayal of Ron Swanson on ‘Parks and Recreation,’ the role he’s most widely known for. I feel bad for what happened, but at the same time a majority of people at the show seemed to really enjoy Offerman’s performance.”