Nick Offerman's College Petty Crime Nearly Derailed His Career

Nick Offerman's College Petty Crime Nearly Derailed His Career
Image credit: Legion-Media

The Parks and Rec star could have spent a pivotal moment in his career in jail.


  • Nick Offerman got in trouble with the police a few times growing up.
  • The future actor and his friends practiced shoplifting for fun.
  • Offerman went to jail on the day of a very important performance he was involved in.

Many people don't think much about the future when they're young. Certainly, few think about how their actions in the present might affect their lives in the years to come. Perhaps it's the frailty of perception that makes you think you'll somehow become a different person, grow a different body, as you get older. But you won't, and your actions will stay with you forever.

In that sense, Nick Offerman has a lot of cautionary tales to tell, because he wasn't exactly a good boy in his teenage and college years. For instance, he committed a petty crime that, no matter how small, could have had a detrimental effect on his acting career and future life.

Pushing the Limits

By his own account, Nick Offerman got in trouble with the police several times during his teenage years. Like many teenagers, he and his friends had fun by shoplifting, and in their case it was just for the fun of it.

'We had a game where we'd go into a store and steal the dumbest thing we could to make each other laugh,' Nick Offerman revealed in a recent interview. 'I got caught in a Kmart, which is the place where they're watching for shoplifters the closest, shoving eight Ronnie Milsap cassettes down the front of my jeans and then walking out. [I] just couldn't wait to see the look on [my friend's] face when I was like, "Check this out!"'

But things quickly turned bad for him.

'It was the perfect crime until it wasn't'

According to the actor, the fun quickly faded and fear took its place. He was thrown in jail for his petty theft, and although he jokingly tried to convince the police that they were overreacting, he was terrified. He was taught a lesson that day, as his crime nearly nipped his acting career in the bud.

'It was the opening night of the first time I got cast in a play at the University of Illinois, and I was in this production of Picnic. So, if I hadn't made it to the play, I probably would've been kicked out of school. But a friend of mine came and bailed me out,' Nick Offerman said. 'Twelve minutes before curtain, I got to the theater, put on my stuff, went out, and gave the most tearful performance.'

Fortunately, the actor delivered and went on to work on many popular productions, including NBC's hit mockumentary Parks and Recreation. Currently, Nick Offerman stars in Alex Garland's hit dystopian film Civil War.

Source: YouTube.

Be honest, have you ever shoplifted?