'Parks and Recreation': Final two episodes to be supersized on NBC.com
Need extra Knope these next two weeks? Parks and Recreation‘s last two episodes of the season will be supersized on NBC.com, EW has learned. After unveiling a cut of last week’s episode, “The Debate” – written and directed by Amy Poehler (a.k.a. City Council hopeful Leslie Knope) – featuring five additional minutes, NBC.com will give similar treatment to this week’s episode, “Bus Tour” (May 3), and the season 4 finale, “Win, Lose or Draw” (May 10). In other good news, Paul Rudd returns to guest-star in both episodes as Knope’s dopey, popular election opponent Bobby Newport.
Start at 17:00
"Dangerously Delicious" comedian Aziz Ansari tells Anderson that the 50 Cent story in his stand-up special is true.
In the story, Ansari remembers sitting near rapper 50 Cent inside a New York City restaurant and listening to 50's conversation with the waiter. He said 50 ordered a grapefruit soda and asked why it wasn't purple. Ansari realized that the musician did not know what a grapefruit was.
Aziz tells Anderson that his stand-up stories are constantly questioned, saying, "People always ask that, about stand-up, like, 'Oh, you talk about your cousin, is that a real person?' Yeah! It's a real person!"
After Anderson and Aziz disagree on how to pronounce 50's name, Anderson notes that 50 Cent would probably want to punch Aziz if they ever met. Aziz replies, "I'll just show him a grapefruit and he'll be confused and then I'll get away."
"Parks and Recreation" star Aziz Ansari joins Anderson on today's show, and surprises the host with an Anderson look-alike.
Before welcoming Anderson's double, Rene, to the stage, Ansari explained, "I know you're a busy guy, you're holding down like three jobs, so I thought you could use a little help."
Rene, who is from Las Vegas, said people approach him every day to tell him he looks like Anderson. "I take pictures with groups of tourists every single day."
He added, "My nickname on the street is 'Mini Cooper.'"
Anderson welcomed comedian Aziz Ansari to the show on Wednesday, but the funnyman decided to send his look-alike, Sumit, to the show instead.
As soon as Sumit sat down, Anderson put his glasses on and asked him, "Who the hell are you?" before the real Ansari stepped out from backstage. Ansari explained, "Anderson, sorry, I was running a little bit late, so I had my look-alike do the beginning of the interview, I hope he didn't say anything racist."
Ansari explained he used his look-alike to help promote his latest stand-up special, "Dangerously Delicious," on his website. "So I get to come up with weird stunts to try to get the word out, so one thing we did a few weeks ago was have Sumit go out on the street with a sign, and sell the special to people while looking exactly like me… and people were very confused."
Aziz Ansari appeared on "Anderson," and had a big surprise for the host, saying, "I know you're a busy guy, you're holding down like three jobs, so I thought you could use a little help…" Watch the video to see what it is!
The funnyman also revealed he sometimes gives gifts to his fans who purchase his five-dollar standup special, and explained, "We sent somebody some cupcakes, flowers, and they told me that someone here in the studio bought the special, and I have something for her." Watch the video to find out what he gifted!
Amy Poehler Talks 'Parks And Recreation,' Pawnee, Directing, 'Wet Hot' Reunion, 'You Are Here' And More
Nothing could capsize the unsinkable Leslie Knope -- except, maybe, losing an election.
The race between Leslie and goofy rich guy Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) ends in the May 10 "Parks and Recreation" season finale (9:30 p.m. ET on NBC). But in this week's episode, in order to make sure they leave no voter unconvinced, Leslie and her campaign team,
Before you get to that clip, Amy Poehler, who wrote and directed last week's hilarious debate episode, talks about Leslie's election chances, the show's approach to politics (which Poehler and executive producer Michael Schur also discussed in here), and whether ascending the Pawnee ladder could change the town's most ambitious parks bureaucrat.
We started out by talking about the stirring speech that Leslie gave at the end of "The Debate," which serves as something of a mission statement for both the candidate and the show.
That final speech that Leslie gave, was that one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to write, or was it made easier by the fact that you know her so well?
When Schur and I were talking about the script, and he said kind off-handedly, "OK, I think we probably have Leslie give a speech here during the debate and shows everybody how she really feels." And we were both kind of laughing about it, because we were like, “Oh yeah, sure, just one of those.”
But it was a really satisfying writing challenge, because the thing I love so much about our show -- second to the people that are on it and that I get to work with -- is the fact that the show allows us to go big with our feelings and emotions. You get to play things real and have real feelings, and talk about themes like small towns, family, loyalty, commitment -- all that stuff.
So it was kind of a dream to write it, because it felt like I’ve never written anything particularly dramatic, and it felt like I was getting to write on a drama and that was really satisfying. I wrote it separately from the episode because I just wanted to kind of try to figure out how she would approach it. I wrote it and then cut most of it, and then went back and tried to kind of underwrite it. It was a fun challenge to go back and [go], "Okay, now take out all of this stuff that seems too writerly."
When I was visiting the set, I mean, the whole cast is talented, but Chris Pratt's improvisations were just so funny. It just seemed as though he had an endless variety of things to offer on the spot.
He’s the most natural. Pratt is such a natural actor. There’s really never a false moment from him. Everything that happens to him, to his character Andy, it just happens in the moment. He never does anything the same twice. He’s so fluid. I’m always frankly in awe of how natural he is.
How did you even choose from the footage of him reenacting different movies?
All credit goes to the editor, Dean Holland. I was writing a couple [of the movies that Andy was to re-enact], and then I just asked Pratt on set one day, "What would be a movie Andy would like?" And he started reenacting scenes from “Roadhouse” with Patrick Swayze, so that’s what ended up in the script, and two other films too.
Andy’s enthusiasm for life is what’s so funny, and when he cares about something, there’s no judgment. Andy doesn’t understand the idea of a guilty pleasure. “Roadhouse” is awesome, and he’s seen it many, many times. That day [we shot those scenes] was really fun because I was directing and I wasn’t acting, which is a dream, because you get to wear your own clothes. We just rolled on Pratt describing different movie scenes forever. Dean Holland and the other editors did amazing work cutting it down, because I think at one point, it probably went on for 15 minutes.
I’m interested in this idea that "Parks" has been able to pretty thoroughly explore politics, which is often a toxic and cynical subject in our culture. When I spoke to Mike, he talked a lot about how, by bringing it down to the local level, you make it less partisan and more human and relatable. Do you feel there are lines that you won’t cross with Leslie? What are the warning signs for you of what not to do or what do you think the show does best in the political arena?
We talk about it all the time, Mike and I, because we always kind of struggle with how corrupted Leslie will become, or would become. Or how cynical she will or would become.
This year there was an episode, a bowling episode, where Leslie finds out that [a voter doesn't like her]. She watches a focus group. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten a chance to do that...
I haven’t, actually.
I’m sure you could go online and read about people commenting about your writing.
As an actor, you can certainly, at any moment and at any time, discover 400 people who think you’re stupid, fat and ugly. But focus groups -- they can be poisonous as well as informative, I guess. In that episode, Leslie finds out that one guy just doesn’t like her, and it just drives her crazy. And it’s just a lesson that there [are some] people that don’t like you.
[Her opponent, ditzy heir Bobby Newport, played by Paul Rudd] just has charisma, personality to give away. What’s been so fun to play is -- and Paul’s been so great at this -- Bobby Newport is like a rich kid who has kind of had all these things handed to him, but he is not really sure what he wants to do. And that can be a deadly combination in local politics. Why Kathryn Hahn is so fun as a character is, she's just kind of a Washington insider who comes in and says, “Oh. You do A to B and then B to C, and this is how you win.” Pawnee is, in Leslie’s mind, one of the best cities in America. And then when someone comes in from the outside world, you get to kind of see how removed the Parks Department is from the big ol' political [world].
Does getting more power change the core of who she is? Is her ultimate goal a bigger political stage?
Leslie’s very ambitious. She wants to be the first female president of the United States. But the reality is she works in the Parks Department. It’s a scrappy struggle. The show doesn’t jump. It’s not like next season, we’re going to see Leslie in the White House or something.
When we first meet Leslie she’s in kind of a [bad] relationship. And she’s trying to get this park built. Now she’s in a real relationship and the park’s not built. When we met with people that work in the Parks Department, it takes 15 years to build a park and to get someone’s name on it, and to actually get people in there.
So the show is a fun combination of the slow and the fast. Fast choices, and fast comedy, combined with the slog of getting the smallest things changed. And how people work really hard to make small changes, and how those small changes affect people in a big way. So it’s a fast and slow combination that, I think, is what helps make the tone of the show.
Because you know, it’s not a show where there’s a ticking clock. We’re not all working together on something that has to get done today. But that’s what Leslie is constantly doing -- she’s forcing deadlines and creating these time constraints because she just wants to get things done. And she says that in her speech in the debate -- she says, "If I push too hard, it’s because I feel strongly. If I come on too strong, it's because I feel strongly. So sue me if I care too much kind of thing." That's her.
Mike was explaining that there are plausible ways the show can move forward whether Leslie wins or loses, but she wants it so much, it'll be hard to see her lose. Is it really plausible? How do you do that? Because if she loses, I’m going to be sad.
Well, it’s so exciting to hear you say that, because it means that you care about what’s going to happen. And I am with you. It’s hard to answer it without spoiling anything, but the show -- it keeps moving forward. Good comedy moments come out of her winning and her losing, that's the best way to say it.
This season had the really strong through-line of the election -- is that something that you hope to do again, or was that a one-off?
It’s hard to talk too much about what’s coming without it being spoilery, but I will say that this season, we were out on the road a lot because we were campaigning. What was really fun about those episodes is that a lot of us were all together. But I think -- and again, we haven’t written next season yet -- but Mike and I were talking about trying to kind of settle back in to, or just to enjoy, the Parks Department more [next] season, because we were out on the road.
There's just been so much change that’s happened to every character since the beginning of the show, and it's really satisfying to see that. Some things are teased at the end of the finale, what's going to happen to some people [regarding] change. As per usual, the show kind of leaves these big changes to the end and Mike has to kind of figure out how to fix them over the summer.
There are some really good, juicy, cliffhanger-y moments. And I have to say, that finale episode is so good. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. They did an awesome job, and Mike did an amazing job. I'm just really, really proud of it, so I think you're going to love it.
What was directing an episode like? Did you find that the things you feared or were nervous about ended up being problems? What did you learn from it?
Oh my gosh, so much. I mean, I'm still learning even just thinking about it, even talking about it. It's something I want to do more of, and I’ve always had a desire to do more. And I hope to do more.
I just love the idea of keeping the whole piece in your head -- having the whole idea in your head as well as your part in it. There's a sometimes really great feeling when you're an actor and you get to come in, deliver your part, and you hand over the control of the whole to someone else. I love the feeling of maintaining that whole piece as well -- I like the control of it. So to get to do both was really fun. And I got to work with such great actors and my friends. Just the delight of getting to just sit behind monitors and watch people perform -- which I do anyway when I'm acting -- but my favorite days were certainly the ones where I wasn't acting.
I wanted to just ask you quickly about “You Are Here” and if there's any news on a possible “Wet Hot American Summer” sequel?
I know we're starting “You Are Here” in a couple weeks in North Carolina. I'm really excited to work with Zach [Galifianakis], and Owen [Wilson], and ["Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner, who wrote and will direct the film], of course, who I’m thrilled to be working with.
I think the “Wet Hot” reunion -- whenever they can do it, I'm sure we will all be there. That was an amazing experience to be a part of. I think everybody would do anything they could to make sure they could be involved in the second one. [Poehler doesn't have any specific information about when it might happens, but if it happens,] I'm there.
Nick Offerman Shares His 10 Secrets To Life At Tulane
If you accidentally stumbled onto Tulane University’s campus on the night of April 20th, you may have asked yourself things like, “How the hell did I get here?” and “Why is that guy giving out free bacon?”
Nick Offerman, beloved by the internet as Ron F’ing Swanson, wrapped up his nationwide college tour on April 20th in New Orleans. Offerman was sans both his iconic ‘stache and hair, but made up for it with the classiest American flag button-up that I’ve ever seen. The show, aptly dubbed “American Ham,” was a mixture of comedic personal stories, acoustic ballads about everything from religion to pot, and 10 life lessons that only Ron Swanson himself could give.
#1 – Engage in romantic love.
Offerman, a self-proclaimed “sappy, romantic lover,” spoke of the importance of snagging yourself a mate and letting yourself fall in love. Offerman spoke incredibly highly of his wife, “the crazy Jug Festival that is Megan Mullally,” who he’s been married to for 12 years.
“As a Hollywood couple, you’d expect us to be heading down to the Whiskey-A-Go-Go with the Sheen family or shooting up with the Kardashian clan,” Offerman said.
Instead, the couple enjoys staying home, watching HGTV, completing jigsaw puzzles, and “doing a shitload of cocaine while we puzzle for days.” Offerman says that you’ve got to make love a priority in your life. If you put your acting job above your relationship, even if you win an Oscar, he can tell you from experience “an Oscar is not a comfortable sexual partner, no matter which way you stick it.”
#2 – Say please and thank you.
“I don’t care if you’re a network executive or a fan of Two and a Half Men, the lowest, we are all equal brothers and sisters” said Offerman, who also placed Hitler and Jerry Gergich at the bottom rung of life.
#3 – Carry a handkerchief.
“My dad always told me to wear a clean, white t-shirt everyday and always carry a handkerchief,” to which young Nick would reply, “Dad, I’m not gonna wear a white t-shirt everyday ‘cause it looks more bitchin’ to have a little chest bush exposed…sir.”
Offerman then pulled out his handkerchief (rose petals in a field of taupe), and played, well, the only handkerchief song I’ve ever heard. According to him, you can use them for anything from wiping down prints during a B&E to wiping ejaculate from your chin.
#4 – Eat red meat.
#5 – Get a hobby.
“Hobby is an unfortunate word, like underpants, Mitt, and Romney, for something that can have such a profound impact on one’s life.”
If you’re a fan of Parks and Rec, you’re already aware of Ron’s woodworking skills. In his real life, Offerman has an actual woodshop where he builds furniture and canoes. He sees woodworking not as a nerdy hobby, but a sexy one (as he proceeded to strike a few seductive poses for the audience): “If you’re looking for a mate, would you rather find someone who’s amazing at playing Angry Birds or would you like someone who knitted the garment they’re wearing?”
Offerman, who’s no fan of social networks and smart phones, reached out to everyone to put down their iPhones, stop Googling Steve Guttenberg, and pick up a real hobby: “We’re dealing with fake people in a fake world and we’re losing the ability to look people in the eyes and communicate.” He then added, “P.S. There’s someone imitating me on Twitter right now. If any of you are Twitter champions, if that exists, find them and f’ing chop their head off.”
#6 – Go outside. Remain.
#7 – Avoid the mirror.
“We look at ourselves and we see the Gulf between what might as well be an animated erotic cartoon and your beautiful, natural form.”
Offerman’s sensitive side came out yet again when he went on to say that you don’t need to look like a magazine cut-out in order to be beautiful.
“If you have a nose, you’re f’ing beautiful,” he proclaimed. “If you have a big nose, you’re super extra beautiful.”
Praising the Tulane student who created yarndress.com, Offerman also asked the audience to help him turn the tide against the unfair and painful custom of women wearing high-heeled shoes.
#8 – Maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ…if it’s getting you sex.
#9 – Use intoxicants
Offerman is a big believer in rewarding yourself after hard work. When he’s done making a boat and he’s achy and covered in sawdust, “that first ice cold beer is like the jizz of the Lord, which, if you follow my metaphor, I’m assuming that the semen of God would be an incredibly delicious beverage.”
Clearly a fan of various, beautiful intoxicants, Nick also urged everyone to just be smart about partaking in such activities and create a sphere of safety: “These things can bring beauty and joy into our lives, but just like religion, the opiate of the masses, you can use them like an asshole and ruin them for the rest of us who just wanted to get high, go outside, and look at a maple leaf.”
He closed out the 9th life tip with his own version of Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel.” However, the Nick Offerman rendition, unlike the original, is less about the power of God and more about getting high in your car with Jesus himself.
#10 – Paddle your own canoe.
Live life for yourself. Better yourself. Succeed. Don’t be like Jerry. Jesus Christ, whatever you do, don’t be like Jerry.
Offerman concluded his 2-hour set with one of the most beautiful things that my eyes and ears have ever experienced: Ron Swanson performing “5,000 Candles In The Wind” backed by a packed auditorium. So many tears were shed that night.
Bye, bye Lil’ Sebastian.
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