Jim O'Heir (Jerry from 'Parks and Recreation') Q&A with Knope Knows

What’s it like to work with so many improvisers? I know you guys mostly stick to script, but when Amy or Aziz or Aubrey (all improvisers names start with A, apparently) go off book, do you join in? | Caity

Hey Caity: Well, I trained as an improvisor with Second City in Chicago so I like to think I can hold my own. That being said…these guys always amaze me. Amy’s improv skills blow me away and everyone else is at the top of their game. So basically I just try to hang on and go for the ride. The thing a lot of people don’t realize is that the writing on the show is so strong that what may seem like improvising is just the actual script.

You play the “office punching bag” so well. Ouch!! A lot of the attacks directed towards you seem to still come unexpected from the rest of the cast. Is it hard to act happy then sad in such a sudden turn? | Tom

I’ve always loved the sad sack characters. Toby from The Office is one of my favorites. To go from happy to sad is great to play especially when the slams come out of nowhere…OUCH!

There have been so many great recurring characters on the show — from Louis CK to Justin Theroux, Mo Collins, April’s gay boyfriend, and so on. Who have you most liked working with? | Parks.Parks.Parks

It’s been so much fun having such great guest stars and I’ve loved working with all of them. Everyone has brought something important to the show. We’ve worked with a lot of the SNL folks which is a dream come true. I can’t say that I have any specific favorites but highlights have been Megan Mullally, Mo Collins, Will Forte, Andy Samberg and Parker Posey.

Now that you are on a really popular (and awesome) TV show, do you ever miss the theater world? Which is your favorite? | BMarie

Being a regular character on such an awesome show (if I do say so myself) is a huge gift that I hope goes on and on for years. Doing theater while shooting is almost impossible but we have months of hiatus that allow for other projects. I love working in the theater and hope to get back to it sooner than later. If I had to choose…I’ve always been obsessed with television and to make my living as a television actor is a dream come true.

Who would you like to see play Jerry’s wife? | Ryan

I would love to see Angelina Jolie play Jerry’s wife. Anybody know her?

I’d like to know how you got the role for the show. Jerry (and Donna) started off as such small roles, but have definitely grown into pretty substantial parts. Did you go in for an audition or had the producers seen your work elsewhere? | Shane

I was cast as Jerry after initially auditioning for the role of Ron Swanson. Of course after watching the brilliance of Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role. Every audition is important and even though I didn’t get the role I went in for I must have done something that piqued their interest. A couple weeks later I was brought back to audition for Jerry and the rest is history.

Hey Jim, thank you for this Q&A! What do you think Jerry’s family’s like? Are they nice to him or do they treat him as poor as his coworkers? | Javier Jimenez

There’s been a lot of talk about Jerry’s life at home. Could he be the respected king of his castle or does he get abused like he does at work? Or, is he a major tyrant to compensate for the abuse he suffers at work? All good questions and plenty of comedy in any of the answers.

Are there any big Jerry storylines coming up this season? Do you think we’ll ever meet his wife and daughters? | Nerg

Jerry’s got a few things happening in the coming season. Again you’ll see he’s a man of many talents…none of which are appreciated. I hope we get to meet Jerry’s family. That would be a lot of fun.

Hey there! I’m Jerry’s biggest fan. My question has to be: Was the burrito worth separating your shoulder for? I bet it was. | Squiushyybear

Yes, the burrito was worth all the pain. It had extra refried beans in it. Unfortunately, refried beans make Jerry gassy.

What has been your favorite “Jerry moment” thus far? | Dean

I think one of my favorite Jerry moments was when he realized he was adopted. It came out of a competition he wanted no part of and it just blindsided him.

Thanks for all the great questions. I hope you all realize how much we appreciate the fans of our show.