‘Talking, singing and sex acts': Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman on their revealing new variety show


Actor Nick Offerman and actress Megan Mullally host onstage at the 29th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards at NYU Skirball Center on May 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images for The Lucille Lortel Awards)

It’s not a stretch to call Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally the naughtiest comedy supercouple. Especially now, after hearing what’s in store with their new joint comedy-variety show, “Summer of 69,” which they will bring to Washington’s DAR Constitution Hall on June 13 as a precursor to what they hope will be a national tour. If they don’t get shut down by censors first, that is.

The show is an ode to their love affair, which has lasted since the two first met in 2000, and has featured plenty of commercial and comedic success. They won’t be donning the attire or inflections of their most memorable characters (the high-pitched and famously crass Karen from “Will and Grace” or the bacon-and-buffet-loving Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation”) but instead will be playing up their sweet relationship as a married couple open to experiments in the bedroom. So, expect expletive-ridden song, dance and comedy skits all with a highly suggestive tone.

Offerman, 43, and Mullally, 55, talked to The Post by phone from New York before their provocative performance about what “Summer of 69” is really about, what they’ve learned about comedy from one another and what they want from the end of “Parks and Recreation.”

With a title like ‘Summer of 69,’ I guess the first question has to be: What is ‘Summer of 69’ really about?

Offerman: There’s an important subtitle in the show, and it’s “no apostrophe.” It’s about the greatest love relationship of all time.

Mullally: Not us, but . . .

Offerman: Well, according to legends that we’ve heard, we might be. Really, we’re just reacting to the claim. We just thought we would compile a 90-minute celebration for why the world would have come up with such a theory.

Credit: Blake Gardner Credit: Blake Gardner

Was launching the show at DAR in any way purposeful given the show’s all-American feel?

Offerman: We were actually given the impression that DAR was a cafeteria, but since I guess it’s not, I guess we can say that we actually received a request from a few shy DAR employees. Since this is Daughters of the American Revolution and by default they have vaginas, we hope that there will be a helpful, instructional element of our show for its members.

Mullally: I think the show will be rather graphic so, you know, don’t bring your 7-year-old, but we hope to be very informative.

Offerman: It’s really about us being patriots. Patriots in intercourse.

Mullally: It’s very all-American, really. It’s going to be a variety show comprised of talking, singing and sex acts.

So, are you saying that since this is really supposed to be about you guys, you’ll be including some of your own intimate experiences as a couple?

Offerman: By and large, it’s all true.

Mullally: Now, I think he’s exaggerating here, but I think you’ll be able to figure out what we’ve really done and not done. That’ll be part of the fun in this, trying to figure out which stories and skits are true and which are false.

How far are you two willing to go for the sake of accuracy of this then?

Mullally: I think it’s the nature of comedy to push the envelope. I mean, think about Louis C.K. and Sarah Silverman. You can’t really be super conservative and continue to keep your audience, but at least the audience that we attract comes with a certain level of naughtiness.

Offerman: There will be a lot of dry, technical attributes about the male and female genitalia. We’re here to be educators.

Mullally: Let’s say it’s like comedic sex-ed.

You two first met while you were working together, so do you think the fact that you’ve built working together into your relationship from the beginning has helped it as a whole?

Offerman: Well, I think we feel lucky that we get along so well and we enjoy each other and it just makes sense, and we enjoy making each other laugh so we enjoy laughing together.

Mullally: Yeah, I mean, it’s fantastic and it’s different and it sets us apart. I don’t know other couples that work together a fraction as much as Nick and I do. We met in a play and we’ve done TV and movies and we just did “Annapurna,” our Off-Broadway show, and we’ve done theater together several times so it’s just a little bit of everything. We don’t like to spend more than two weeks apart at a time, so working together is something we basically have to do.

As far as TV versus theater, do you have a preference? Is there something theater has that television lacks?

Mullally: Theater is great because you’re able to tell a narrative arc without a break. I think it’s more about the material and whether what we get offered is good. I think theater is more about living and breathing versus TV, which can vary.

Offerman: If I had to choose one thing in the world it would be the medicine of live theater. The connection between the audience and actor is much more of a delicious meal than what you can have with television. Although in TV and film, your audience can be millions of people, which is more of an indirect form of medicine.

Since you’re both comedic actors and have been together for a while, what are some things you have learned from one another in terms of comedy?

Offerman: I’ve learned from Megan that, no matter what I’m working on, to work as hard as possible. I’ve never seen anybody with a work ethic quite like her. As an adolescent I thought you could just sit there and smoke a blunt and be hilarious. Seeing her work on “Will and Grace,” I saw her work so hard, and I really benefited from being under her tutelage.

Mullally: I tend to be a perfectionist, and he’s taught me to conversely relax a little bit more.

To end on a sad, totally unsexy note, since it was recently announced that “Parks and Recreation’s” seventh season will be its last, do you think Tammy Two will make a return? And where do you want Ron to be by the end of its last season?

Mullally: I certainly hope she does, and my schedule permits her to. It’s such a fun set with so many brilliant people. And she’s so fun to play.

Offerman: Well, we traditionally try to bring her back every season. She’s been declared the most heinous monster and nefarious villain in a show full of incredible and villainous characters. I don’t really look to the future for Ron because the places the writers take him are far beyond what I can ever imagine. I’ll just hope he’s standing on two legs by the end of it.

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Peter Marks · June 5, 2014