Nick Offerman, the actor who plays Ron Swanson on the NBC series "Parks and Recreation," has been around for years, but few of us noticed because he wasn't yet "Ron Swanson." He was simply Nick Offerman, a struggling actor with a boat-building side job that bounced around in bit parts in a series of movie and television shows. In fact, for much of his career, Offerman went up against Rainn Wilson for the same parts, and the two developed a friendship during those auditions. That's how Offerman landed the job of Ron Swanson: Rainn Wilson put him in touch with Greg Daniels, the showrunner of "The Office," while Daniels was developing "Parks and Recreation."
Pre-"Parks and Recreation," very few of us might have known that he was married to Megan Mullally (they met while doing a stage production together in 2000), but for the most part -- despite 45 roles or so before landing "Parks and Recreation" -- no one had a clue who he was, even though he was an occasional presence in our television lives.
Here are the highlights of his pre-Swanson career, with a NSFW warning on the last slide, which depicts his full-frontal presence on "Deadwood" back in 2004.
In 2004, while his wife Megan Mullally was hosting "Saturday Night Live," Offerman made a cameo appearance in a Golden Globes sketch.
In 2001, Nick Offerman played the boyfriend of Megan Mullally's character on a special one-hour Thanksgiving episode of "Will and Grace."
In the first season of "The West Wing," Offerman played Jerry in an episode titled "The Crackpots and These Women." You can watch that clip here.
In 2005, Offerman played Schlubb in Sin City, the Fat Man who (along with Little Man) were a pair of low-rent hit men with "delusions of eloquence" who use pretentious, pseudo-poetic words in daily conversation to mask the fact that they're both incredibly stupid and incompetent at their chosen occupation."
In 2003, Offerman appeared in three episodes of the second season of "24" as Marcus, a Los Angeles resident who, with Rouse and Cole, reacted with racist hostility after the detonation of a terrorist nuclear weapon.
In 2005, Offerman appeared with Abraham Benrubi ("Parker Lewis Can't Lose," "ER") as two-dimwitted brothers, Karl and Lou Steele, in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Dangerous.
Before "Parks and Recreation," Offerman's most substantial role was as a recurring character in "George Lopez," as the off-and-on love interest of the show's antagonist, Benny.
Offerman appeared in two episodes of "Gilmore Girls," as the brother of Jackson, who was the guy who married Melissa McCarthy's character.
In 2003, Offerman was featured on an episode of "King of Queens" called "Thanks Man." Offerman played "The Man," a guy with an eye patch.
In 2005, Offerman played a cop in the so-bad-it's-kind-of-good Christina Ricci horror flick, Cursed.
In 2007, Offerman starred in "American Body Shop," a improvised sitcom on Comedy Central that ran for 10 episodes before it was cancelled. It actually looks OK.
Finally, in 2004, Offerman appeared completely naked in an episode of "Deadwood," as Tom Mason, an attempted assassin of Wild Bill Hickock who was subsequently killed by Wild Bill Hickock.