Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!
As I mentioned in the newsletter earlier this week, today’s episode marks not only 100 episodes but also three years of this podcast. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joined by the one and only Nick Offerman for the occasion!
I first met Nick back in 2015 when he was performing in a play in Boston and made an appearance on Ask This Old House, which I was producing and directing at the time. He and I worked together a few more times over the years, and we mostly bonded over our shared love of woodworking and Jimmy DiResta.
I knew from reading Nick’s books that he also had a love of the outdoors and an affinity for farming, but we didn’t really connect on these issues until he appeared on this podcast back in 2020. What started out as a conversation about how the Parks and Recreation special was shot remotely at the height of the pandemic quickly turned to a conversation about the rapacious nature of our modern farming systems.
Nick’s books are full of references to the work of Wendell Berry and I always felt like Berry was an author I should be reading. Of course, his work is voluminous and for a beginner like myself was a bit intimidating to find an entry point. At one point last year, I asked Nick for a good starting place, and he posted a video about it that recommended about ten possible ideas.
I wanted to reconnect with Nick to speak at greater length about how Wendell Berry inspires him. I also have long felt a contradiction in wanting to follow Berry’s agrarian teachings advocating for a simpler way of living while at the same time, I contribute to the cacophony of the modern entertainment industry. I wanted to ask Nick about how he reconciles that issue for himself.
We began the conversation by talking about Nick’s stage show, which I was lucky enough to see a few weeks ago (and wrote about the experience in the newsletter). I was curious to hear more about Nick’s approach to creating his act and speaking his truth.
Nick is still touring, with some U.S. dates in May, Ireland and U.K. dates in June and July, and a stop in Calgary in August. Click here for dates and tickets.
And if you don’t know Nick as an author yet, I highly recommend his books too. His latest is Where the Deer and the Antelope Play, which looks at our relationship to nature, National Parks, camping, and farming.
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