“I wish I had a huge fart saved up to describe our love: silent but deadly,” says actor Nick Offerman. “Love is patient. Love is kind.” He looks over at his wife (the target of his noxious affection), actress and singer Megan Mullally. She shakes her head in mock disapproval before laughing and letting out an “Oh God!”
They are best when they’re like this—together. Offerman is behind the wheel of their silver Lexus SUV. Mullally sits beside him in the passenger seat, applying her makeup in anticipation of this evening’s performance of their two-character play Annapurna at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. He’s wearing a black Bohnhoff Lumber T-shirt, dark jeans and a knit beanie. She’s carefully adjusting her glasses so as not to get makeup on the frames. Underneath her salmon-colored cardigan she wears a long, white tank top and a knee-length skirt, with brown ankle boots and a vintage bag from Australia to match.
“I have a definition of real love,” Offerman, 43, confides, placing his hand on her thigh and laughing.“It’s when she lets me put my mouth on her ‘Pandora’s box.’ One time she even let me do it after I had shaved the top of my head bald and grown a big beard for a play.”
“Besides loving his male parts, I also think he’s a great man,” Mullally, the older woman at 54, retorts seriously (if just barely).
They are as enamored with each other on television as they are in real life. Offerman, the burly Chicago carpenter cum sitcom star, plays Ron Swanson, the burly Pawnee carpenter cum libertarian government administrator, on the hit NBC series Parks and Recreation. Mullally periodically pops up as “Tammy Two,” his evil yet strangely seductive ex-wife whose demented mind games and insatiable sexual appetite turn the typically super-macho Swanson into a whimpering man-child. Their comic chemistry is akin to that of a hypersexualized Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara (but not nearly as gross as it sounds). Mullally and Offerman have appeared together on the Adult Swim live-action comedy series Childrens Hospital and in two recent indie films: Somebody Up There Likes Me, which Offerman co-produced, and the coming-of-age comedy The Kings of Summer.
“People always say, ‘It must be so fun at your house, just the two of you at home alone, cracking each other up.’ And yeah, it’s kind of like that,” Mullally says while applying mascara to her long eyelashes. As we head into a red light, a Domino’s delivery driver cuts us off and Offerman slams on the brakes. “Ahhh! What the fuck!” screeches Mullally. Offerman rolls down the window and yells at the middle-aged deliveryman, “Cool driving!” Both Offerman and Mullally laugh as he rolls up the car window.
“We have very similar tastes,” Mullally continues, “and it’s quite rare we disagree on something. I learned a lot from Nick on how to be a human being. That comes in handy.”
The two first met in 2000 while performing in an L.A. stage production of The Berlin Circle, a witty comedy about the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the time, Mullally was in her second season of playing booze-addled socialite Karen Walker on Will & Grace; Offerman was living on a couch in a friend’s basement trying to get acting gigs. “Megan came in wearing a really cute outfit,” Offerman remembers. “I thought to myself, Nice clothes, TV lady. But she was so funny during the read-through. I went up to her afterward and said, ‘I’m Nick. You’re really funny.’”
“He was the only one who made a point to come over, shake my hand and try to have sex with me,” Mullally says.
“I was trying to put your hand on my package. I kept telling you, ‘Hey, check this out!’” Offerman clarifies.
At first, Mullally didn’t want to get involved while they were working together. But after about two weeks, she started making out with Offerman for hours at a time. One time in a car, they didn’t stop until Beck’s “Beautiful Way” had played 38 times in a row. During three different make-out sessions, they noticed coyotes watching them, which they took as a sign that their love had become truly animalistic. Offerman even claims that on one special occasion, a coyote winked at him when he was performing oral sex on Mullally. “It was sort of like a ‘Well played, brother,’” Offerman says.
Soon thereafter, the couple took a trip to Paris. Offerman brought three disposable rings fabricated by Will & Grace’s costume designer in order to joke-propose to Mullally three different times. In succession, he dropped fake rings down a Parisian grate, from the top of the Eiffel Tower and off the Pont Neuf, the city’s oldest standing bridge. “I thought it was hilarious,” says Mullally. “But the rings got progressively bigger, and for a moment I thought the last one might be real.”
The actual ring and proposal arrived in 2002. Back in Europe—London this time—Offerman arranged for a romantic stop at the Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park. “Until we got there, I was in a heightened sense of agitation,” he says.
“I couldn’t figure out what was up with him,” Mullally remembers. “He was sucking and chewing on his mustache like crazy. I thought to myself, What is going on? He has never chewed on his mustache before!”
As for the proposal itself, Offerman says, “We were heading down this path over a bridge by a Japanese garden, and all the ducks, insects and frogs were furiously copulating around us. I feel like when our coupling is at hand, nature responds with a very positive reverberation. And I was right; she said yes.”
When we arrive at the Odyssey Theatre, Mullally notices a dent on the left side of the SUV. She thinks she hit something recently and inspects the vehicle multiple times. I ask her if it’s hard to have a kissing or sex scene after being married for so long. Her answer is immediate: “I go out of my mind if Nick even has to hold hands with someone else.”