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Mindhole Blowers: 25 Things You Don't Know About the Cast of "Parks and Recreation"

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | September 30, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | September 30, 2016 |

Through five seasons of “Parks and Recreation,” most of the cool nuggets you can glean from the Internet on the cast of “Parks and Rec” have already been shared. Everyone knows by now, for instance, that you can see Ron Swanson’s d*ck on Deadwood and that he’s married to Megan Mullally. Most of us know that Chris Pratt spent some time on “The O.C.” and that he’s married to Anna Farris. Likewise, what is there about Amy Poehler that hasn’t been revealed already? She’s got two kids. She’s divorced from Will Arnett and apparently dating Nick Kroll, and she’s adorable.

So I had to dig deeper to find some interesting tidbits on the cast of “Parks and Recreation” for today’s Mindhole Blowers, which mostly amounted to spending 8-10 hours over the weekend listening to cast members of “Parks and Rec” on various podcasts. I don’t mind saying, it’s one of the better ways to spend your weekend. I especially encourage you all to listen to Amy Poehler’s full podcast with Jeff Garlin. It is terrific, and I’ll also add that — in all the other podcasts I’ve listened to with the cast — they have nothing but amazing and delightful things to say about Poehler, who I get the impression may be made of magic.

From all of those podcasts, I have pulled some of the more interesting, lesser known fact nuggets about the cast, and because it’s such a time intensive process, I’m breaking up the “Parks and Rec” Mindhole Blowers into two parts (I’ll run the second part before the season six premiere). The first part deals with only Nick Offerman, Amy Poehler, and Chris Pratt (I also listened to an hour long interview with Aziz Ansari, but pulled nothing of real interest from it, other than he’s a very funny guy).

1. When Amy Poehler met Nick Offerman for the first time, in 1993, he had his head shaved into red horns because he had a part in a play of Clockwork Orange. He scared and intimidated the sh*t out of Amy.

2. Jeff Garlin’s (Curb Your Enthusaism) wife was Nick Offerman’s agent. Nick auditioned for Curb Your Enthusiasm more than anyone else because of Garlin and his wife, but he never got a role in the series (Garlin felt terrible about it).

3. Nick Offerman was the first choice of everyone — Poehler and the network — for Ron Swanson. They knew of him because he’d auditioned for Steve Carell’s role in The Office. However, he originally auditioned — along with Adam Scott — for the role of Mark Brendanawicz. He killed in the audition, but the network wanted someone more “handsome,” so they cast Paul Schneider (also worth nothing: Jim O’Heir, who plays Jerry, originally auditioned for the role of Ron Swanson).


4. Amy is not a cat person. “I don’t like any pet that you can’t find … I know the second when I walk into someone’s house if they have a cat, because it smells like cat shit.”

5. Depending on the person, Amy Poehler might find it charming if a guy said, “I love p*ssy,” She likes the old-school nature of the bluntness.

6. Sometimes, when Amy is feeling down or depressed, she’ll try and think of what the 90 year old version of herself would say to her, and it’s always, “You’re beautiful. It’s fine. You’re fine. Look at you! You’re walking. It’s fine!”

7. Amy has a great idea for a movie called “Gay on the Weekends,” which would be about a group of friends that decide that they’d be, well, gay on the weekends. Jeff Garlin’s contribution to the movie would be a character who is upset with the arrangement because he gets laid constantly, except when he’s gay on the weekends.

8. Amy, who has written several episodes of “Parks and Recreation,” compares the process of writing to “shitting out the hardest turd.”

(Amy actually wrote “The Fight,” the episode in which Tom sells snake juice, and Ron gets blitzed.)


9. Amy Poehler is only the third “Saturday Night Live” cast member to get a promotion to full cast member in her first season (Harry Shearer and Eddie Murphy were the others). Poehler made her “SNL” debut on the first episode after 9/11.

10. In 2009, before “Parks and Recreation” debuted, Deadline’s Nikke Finke published portions of the focus group on the show, most of which was very negative. Amy Poehler thought that was a very sh*tty thing to do, but in reading the comments, she saw one from Jeff Garlin.

These reports are a bunch of crap. Larry David was given as a gift a framed copy of the report of the Seinfeld pilot that was much more negative than this one by an NBC exec. The exec thought it was funny. Larry replied “Why is it funny? You still use these.” Nikki I’m surprised you’d publish this. Any good show is bound to get a negative one.

Amy Poehler sent Jeff Garlin a bottle of wine the very next day.

11. Growing up on a farm, the entry level position for Nick Offerman was shoveling pig sh*t, which was actually an honor to get. Offerman shoveled his first sh*t when he was 6.

12. When Nick Offerman began theater school, he was terrible, but because he was the only guy in his school (of “sissyfied men”) that knew how to use a goddamn hammer, they’d let him do the occasional scene in exchange for building the set.

13. During theater school, Nick Offerman completely gave up watching sports to catch up on reading, theater, and film.

14. Nick Offerman is actually a skilled saxaphone player, but the writers did not know that when they wrote him a sax-playing alter ego in “Parks and Rec.”

15. After Offerman began getting semi-regular work, he made a vow that he would never appear in a procedural, especially one of the “CSI.” However, he had been friends with Gary Sinise, and Sinise had asked him to audition for a role, and he reluctantly ended up doing it as a favor instead of taking a guest role in “The Office,” which turned out to be the best thing to happen in his career, because with “Parks and Rec,” they wanted an unknown, and the role in “The Office” might have disqualified him.

16. One year, a writer from “Will & Grace” wrote Offerman a part that was very specific to Nick Offerman: The character was a naval intelligence officer with a moustache. However, during the casting process, CBS President Les Moonves nixed Offerman because he decided he didn’t like moustaches that year, and they ended up going with JAMES VAN DER BEEK. Think about that for a second: A role specifically written for Nick Offerman went to James Van Der Beek.

17. In the 2007 movie, The Go Getter, Nick Offerman auditioned for two roles, and he was so perfect, that he was cast in both parts, plus a third.


18. In Chris Pratt’s initial audition for Moneyball, the casting director said, “We love him. He’s just too fat.” He lost 30 pounds in two and a half months in order to get the part (they wouldn’t sign him until he lost the weight). He began losing the weight in the first six episodes of season three, which were actually filmed at the end of season two (because of Poehler’s pregnancy), so in the 7th episode, he was suddenly much thinner. However, he had to gain 50 POUNDS for his next role, Ten Years (with Charming Potato), which he added on during the course of the third season. At his peak, he was 275 pounds. Then, of course, he got totally cut for Guardians of the Galaxy.



19. Chris Pratt actually was only supposed to be a guest star in “Parks and Recreation.” As you recall, he was written as Ann’s clueless, dickish boyfriend. That was all he was supposed to ever be. He was only supposed to be on the show for six episodes.


20. Pratt was discovered by Rae Dawn Chong (Commando), who was a customer at a Bubba Gump restaurant where Pratt worked. She cast him in the only movie she’s ever directed, Cursed Part 3. He got $700 for ten days work, which eventually led to Pratt’s four years on the WB’s Everwood, which also started out as a guest star role.


21. They film 60 plus hours for each episode of “Parks and Recreation,” which is whittled down to 22 minutes.

22. Chris Pratt tested for the lead in “Chuck,” but couldn’t pull off the nerdy aspect of the character.

23. Chris Pratt and his now wife, Anna Faris, grew up 20 minutes away from each other. In fact, Pratt played high-school football on her field (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). They did not, however, meet until Take Me Home Tonight, the failed Topher Grace flick.


24. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler first became friends through an improv group, Inside Vladimir, which was named after a gay porn star. Fey wrote a play about Catherine the Great having sex with a horse, which Poehler acted in.

25. You may have already seen this, but I couldn’t resist: Here’s Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Lindsay Lohan rehearsing the freestyle rap for Mean Girls.

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