Nick Offerman, University alumnus, returns to Champaign

By Elyssa Kaufman, Staff writer

As a young student from Minooka, Illinois, Nick Offerman remembers seeing Champaign as a “big city.” Now, the University alumnus, comedian and widely known television star had the chance to perform at the Virginia Theater in the “big city.”

Offerman visited the campus for his show “Full Bush” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Virginia Theatre.

“The Virginia Theater was completely honored to have him with us,” said Steven Bentz, Director at the Virginia Theater. “He was a delight to work with and one of the easiest people work with. He really put on a wonderful show. He stayed on longer, which meant he was enjoying himself, and the audience was enjoying his performance. It was a sold out house, which was great to see.”

Offerman infectiously laughed as he walked onto the stage. The comedian was carrying not only a guitar, but was also wearing a Cubs t-shirt. Perhaps his most memorable show moments were his frequent Cubs versus Indians baseball game updates followed by victory dances.

The comedian began with an explanation on why he cannot make his shows PG-13, as requested by the University.

Offerman told the audience about his weekend visit this to the Japan House, dinner at the Black Dog Smoke & Ale house and coffee at Espresso Royale. He pointed out that Kinkos was the coffee shop in the place of Espresso Royale when he was an undergraduate.

He also discussed his experience at the University as bringing him to his passion of woodworking. Offerman said while studying theater, he learned to build the scenery for productions at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The comedian said classes can be taken at the C-U Woodshop and urged students to “make more stuff.”

“It’s nice to have such a well known alumni take the time to come back and perform,” said Sonji Akshintala, sophomore in Engineering.

The comedian, or as he referred to himself, “humorist,” described Champaign as a place where “agriculture meets art.”

“I think it’s really cool he is willing to come back — he clearly likes the school,” said Emma Schmidt, Sophomore in FAA.“He is involved and it is nice to see alumni come back.”

Music was a major comedic component of Offerman’s show and included song topics that incorporated both social media and the upcoming presidential election to his show.

Offerman’s performance would not have been complete without a reference to his well-known role as Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation.” Offerman told stories about what it’s like working with costar Chris Pratt, which fans enjoyed hearing.

“Nick Offerman is really funny,” said Lee Biedermann, an Engineering student. “It’s really cool to have such a great comedian perform in Champaign.”

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