Q&A with Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally

The married actors, famous as Parks and Recreation’s Ron and Tammy, perform at the Merriam Theater on Saturday, August 20.

Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

With great comic pairs, we often assume that one provides the broad stuff and the other plays straight man (or woman). Think of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, though my savvy performer friends always point out that his contribution is as necessary — and funny — as hers.

But how to characterize the team of Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman — both immensely funny comics, and both serious actors? Their pairing as Tammy and Ron on Parks and Recreation was instant comic legend. And of course, Mullally has countless fans who remember her as Karen Walker on Will and Grace. But what you might not know is that they appeared together to significant acclaim also in Sharr White’s play, Annapurna, a touching story of two lost souls.

Expect mostly comedy in their appearance here on Saturday evening — seeing as how the show is called Summer of 69: No Apostrophe, and the description promises “songs, funny talking, heavy ribaldry, light petting and an astonishing final act of completion.”

It’s a title and concept that raise eyebrows, and questions. Luckily, I got the chance to ask them both about it by phone, where their answers were, as you might expect, both funny and serious.

How did this collaboration begin?
Megan: We met years ago in a play, and we love working together, but our schedules are erratic. We’re often in different places and working at different times. I’m also in a band called Nancy & Beth, and Nick tours with American Ham, and sometimes one of us opens for the other. So we thought it would be great to do something for just the two of us — and our dog.

And the idea of a show about your sex lives?
That really started organically.
Megan: There have been articles about us, especially online, that mythologize our relationship – that make it seem like it’s the greatest love story ever told, which cracks us up. So we decided to tell the real story: about us, our marriage, our genitals…

It looks like you’re at the half-point in a tour that takes you all over the country. Does sex play differently in different states and cities?
Well, of course, the tone is different in different places. We’ve done some shows in the Bible Belt — Oklahoma, Texas — and I was a little trepidatious, since some of it is very adult. But it turns out human beings everywhere are desperate for dirty bedroom humor — maybe especially in the Bible Belt.

So you haven’t been run out of town anywhere yet?
In Bethlehem PA, we came close.

Nick, you’re also known for your carpentry work. Is there a relationship between your woodworking and your performing?
They’re both crafts that I pursue and love. Figuratively they have a lot in common. I’ve had a lot of good fortune as a performer, which means less time in my shop. That’s why I wrote a book, coming out in October, called Good Clean Fun — it’s about woodworking, and it was a way to get back to it, to spend more time on it.

Megan, do you have a sideline when Nick does his carpentry?
Well, I sing. I have the band, and I’ve done Broadway musicals. And before I turn 100, I really wanted to have a real part in a real movie — I have that now in Why Him, with Bryan Cranston and James Franco, which opens on Christmas Day. I play Bryan Cranston’s wife.

What is one thing audiences should know about Summer of 69 before they come?
It’s for adults, and you should leave your expectations at the door. In some ways, we’re an old fashioned showbiz couple, but we’ve got some surprises. I promise you this — you’ll have a fantastic time.  And don’t call the police.

Last words of advice?
Nick: Don’t bring your 7 year old.
Megan: It’s happened.

Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman will appear on Saturday, August 20 at the Merriam Theater presented by the Kimmel Center in association with Live Nation. For more information, visit the website.