Nick Offerman does not “believe” in refunds, a fact I learned shortly after handing him an $8,000 check for what was advertised as a “practical acting class” that turned out to be a course on canoe building. Known primarily for his role as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, what most people don’t realize is that Nick is also an accomplished woodworker and once showed his penis in an episode of Dead Wood. “This is my shop,” he said proudly as he walked me around the space and described its tools and the mechanics of its complex dust collection system that he designed himself. “We’re going to be thinking a lot about dust as we build this canoe together.” I was confused.

“I’m sorry, did you say we are going to be building a canoe? I thought this was an acting class.”

“Son, there isn’t much you can’t learn about life by building a canoe,” he told me before getting back to a surprisingly long conversation about dust and letting me know about his strict no refund philosophy. “A transaction shouldn’t linger. It’s effete,” he said before getting back to dust management which he believes is essential.

“How will building a canoe help me develop practical acting skills?” I asked, to which the Dead Wood penis actor told me that finding success in Hollywood was unlikely given my height and face and that learning a craft such as canoe building would allow me to earn an honest living while my more grandiose dreams fail. “What could be more practical advice for an actor with your build and hairline than that?”

I wasn’t convinced and had no use for a canoe, but I had already paid and didn’t have much else going on in my life, so for the next 8-weeks I spent every evening in Nick’s workshop honing the skills I would need to become a great thespian and intermediate wood craftsmen.

“The first question one must ask when building a canoe is what type of wood to use,” Nick told me during our first lesson. In thinking about the question, I felt I understood how acting and woodworking complimented each other and figured Nick was laying the framework for an eventual Karate Kid style revelation where the incremental skills I develop through woodworking come together into a full repertoire of the talents necessary to make it in Hollywood.

“So, picking out the right wood is sort of like deciding on the right part to take as an actor?” I asked, but was told not to read too much into what he was saying.

“No. The best wood to use for a canoe is red cedar. And the best part for you to take at this point in your acting career is anything you are offered, even if they ask you to show your penis. It’s only after you have developed your craft that you can experiment with mahogany and other hardwoods or can turn down roles that require an uncomfortable amount of nudity. Remember, you’re desperate, and red cedar is a desperate wood for desperate people.”

During our first week together I learned the basics of canoe building and that I shouldn’t ask Nick Offerman about his personal or professional life while in his shop. “A woodshop is not a place for casual conversation,” he told me before pivoting into an explanation on the differences between a jointer and a planer. “A jointer is used to flatten the face of a piece of wood and square up one edge and a planer is used to make the second face flat and parallel to the first,” he’d tell me over and over but I still didn’t understand the difference.

“What’s not to understand?” Nick would yell, letting me know that he was disappointed in my progress and that normally such incompetence in a woodshop would be punished by requiring me to sweep the dust from the floor, but that since his dust collection system was so efficient and there was nothing to sweep I should just stand in the corner as he demonstrates the proper way to shape the canoe’s inner stem. “Just go hand me my spokeshave,” he told me but I didn’t know what that was. “And you expect to make it as an actor?” he scoffed. 

Over the next several weeks I tried to make myself useful and for the most part, stayed out of Nick’s way as he silently measured out and cut the planks for the canoe. The only bright spot during this period was when Nick’s wife, Megan Mullally would come into the shop on occasion. I had read that Megan had discovered Bill Hader and, being impressed by his impressions, recommended him to Lorne Michaels for Saturday Night Live. Since I didn’t feel like Nick’s lessons would lead me to succeed as an actor, I decided to greet Megan in a variety of accents (cockney, racist Indian, John Malkovich) to demonstrate that I was also ready for Saturday Night Live and an introduction to Lorne. But she would just politely smiled at me before leaving. “I know what you’re doing and it won’t work,” Nick finally told me after I told Megan to “Kiss My Grits” in my best southern accent. I fucking hate woodworking.

Nick was on edge during our last week together and feeling stressed by what would be an intensive two-days of laminating the wood for the boat’s hull. I was in charge of managing and attaching the staples and clamps. As I worked through the evening securing the glued wood into its frame Nick finally paid me a compliment. 

“That’s a nice amount of pressure you got there,” he said of my clamp work. “When you’re in a woodshop you’re going to sometimes want to tighten the clamp as much as possible, but you shouldn’t because it could damage the face of the wood. Just let the glue do the work and be patient,” he said.

“Thanks.” It was the first nice thing he said to me in weeks.

“The same is true when going out on an audition. You’re going to want to give the reading your all, but sometimes the best reading requires a little less. It’s more important to give an even performance and let the words do the work,” he said as he scraped away the glue squeeze.

“Holy shit, it’s happening. He’s relating acting to canoe building. He’s Miyagi and I’m LaRusso,” I thought to myself, fully prepared to discover all of the fine acting skills I had subconsciously learned over the last six weeks, but it never came. Our last week together mostly involved the two of us silently planing and sanding the canoe and applying several coats of varnish to the piece. On our last day together we installed the canoe’s seat and yoke and built a pair of paddles.

“Well, I think this is a fine canoe. You should be proud,” Nick told me as we admired the boat we built.

“Thanks, Dad,” I said, horrified that I called him Dad, but to be honest a bit surprised I hadn’t done so sooner. “I’m sorry–” I said, but he told me not to worry about it. “It happens in a woodshop.”

As I packed up my things and prepared to leave Nick’s shop for the last time I felt a level of self-satisfaction that I had never experienced before. I know I wouldn’t be able to build a canoe of this quality on my own, but was happy I could now appreciate the energy and skill that goes into building something from the ground up. I thanked Nick for the experience and shook his hand.

“I hope you feel like you learned something,” he said. I told him that I did and that while the exact relationship between canoe building and comedic acting felt somewhat attenuated and that I believed his advertisement could have been less misleading, that I felt I had gotten my money’s worth.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Nick said. “You know, acting is just like any skill. You need to take it seriously if you want to do it professionally. Are you sure you’re ready to dedicate yourself to it?” he asked. I told him I was.

“Good. Well, I think I know of a part for you, if you want it.” It was happening, I couldn’t believe it. “Yeah, of course, I’ll take anything,” I told him, eager to hear about the role. “I’m red cedar.”

“I’m glad to hear that, son,” said Nick. “Because the part does require you to show an awful lot of your penis.”  

Nick Offerman’s Woodshop is located in Los Angeles. Acting classes are available to aspiring woodworkers who are comfortable with gratuitous on-camera nudity.

Disney is reportedly considering a separate “adult-themed” streaming service called “Disney After Dark,” which will feature more mature content, including the 20th Century Fox catalog of R-rated content, as well as a variety of hardcore pornographic options. 

We knew early on that we wanted Disney Plus to be strictly for families and didn’t want it to include R-rated films,” said CEO Bob Iger. “But when we purchased 20th Century Fox last year, we also acquired cinematic classics that were not well suited for our main platform and its core audience of childless 30-somethings watching Darkwing Duck and thinking about a time before Trump. We think it’s time there was an outlet available for only another $6.99 a month to watch our more mature intellectual property.” 

The Disney after Dark brand will include 20th Century Fox owned classics like All About Eve, mature action comedies like Deadpool, and a wide variety of hardcore and kink fetish porn made available through Disney’s recent acquisition of internet pornography website Pornhub. 

When asked why Disney decided to acquire Pornhub, Mr. Iger said it was part of Disney’s long-term goal of “owning all the companies.”

“At Disney, we believe in being innovative, and we think entering the smut business is key to our future success,” said Iger, who noted that a 30-something could only watch Darkwing Duck for so long before getting bored and needing to masturbate. “The show was made for 10-year-olds, it can’t realistically sustain an adult’s attention for more than, honestly, about half an episode. We want to make sure that when our Disney Plus customers leave our platform to seek out more mature content, they don’t go to a competitor.”

The Avocado spoke to Harlan Palmer, a 34-year-old graphic designer and self-prescribed Disney fanatic who spent the day binging Disney classics from his youth in between visits to Pornhub. “I guess you can say I’m Disney obsessed,” said Mr. Palmer before watching the first 10 minutes of Alice in Wonderland, getting bored, and pulling out his laptop.

The Avocado spoke to a chain smoking Netflix executive about Disney’s strategy: “I think it’s brilliant. People love nostalgia and porn,” he said as an assistant handed him a printout of the number of users who canceled their accounts in the last two weeks. As he sat there contemplating what Disney’s entry into the streaming world means for Netflix, he muttered something about “remember how good Orange Is the New Black used to be” before asking us to leave the room so he can “check out the competition.” 

Saturday Night Live has been the gold standard for American comedy for over 40 years and, as a funny and inexperienced comedy writer, is the type of national platform that you should write for. Unless they don’t want you. In that case, SNL hasn’t been good for between 15 and 35 years, depending on your age, and you wouldn’t be caught dead writing there. 

As either a future SNL writer or someone who would never work for that show even if they paid me millions of dollars, here is a 10 point plan for getting hired to write for Saturday Night Live or, alternatively, crafting the perfect tweet about how you would never want to.

Step 1: Be Obsessed With Saturday Night Live Your Entire Life

SNL isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but whether you want to be hired as a writer or tweet @Michael Che about how terrible it’s become, you must watch the show every week. Having a deep knowledge of SNL’s history will help you understand the sensibilities of the show should you be lucky enough to get hired. It will also give you plenty of materials to cite as examples of how the show used to be so much better in the more likely event that you are not hired.  

Step 2: Have An Inflated Sense Of Your Own Talent 

It takes an inflated ego to watch a show that has been a bedrock of popular culture since Gerald Ford was in office and think to yourself that you could do that. But who knows? A. Whitney Brown was too but a man with a dream at one point. But before you commit yourself to submitting a packet of original materials to the show to be judged and potentially mocked, consider the possibility, however remote, that you aren’t funny. 

Take a breath.

Think about it.

Are you really funny or do you just like comedy? When you are around a group of people do they laugh at your jokes or just smile and say “that’s funny” when you make a sarcastic comment or reference The Office? Being funny is hard, but liking comedy is easy. So if, upon deep and devastating personal reflection, you decide that maybe being a professional comedy writer isn’t for you, treat yourself to the consolation prize of Tweeting @ColinJost and telling him that he’s no A. Whitney Brown and never will be. 

Step 3: Prepare A Packet Of Original Material 

Fuck Step 2 and all the haters, you know you are funny and it has been your dream to write for Saturday Night Live since you were a kid. Great, now all you have to do is send them a packet of 3 to 5 sketches. How hard could that be? Just sit at your laptop and let the hilarious ideas start flowing… 

Step 4: Struggle To Come Up With One Original Idea You Unfunny Fuck

It’s been 6 hours since you started work on your sketches but all you have written so far are the words “Pearl Ham” and a rough outline of a sketch involving President Trump learning his son Baron is dating Greta Thunberg. You delete what little you have, knowing that Baron is off-limits, and as you stare deep into the reflective glow of your laptop screen you question your self-worth. As has happened at least a dozen times since you started working on this packet you mindlessly pull out your phone to swipe through Instagram where you see the smiling faces of all of those SNL phonies that you follow living the life you deserve to be living if only you could focus enough to put together something as hilarious as you assumed you could write before you tried. 

After realizing you’ve now scrolled through two years of Beck Bennet’s Instagram photos, you throw your phone across the room and focus back on your laptop. The ideas are in your head and all you need to do is clear your mind and let them flow. You are a funny person and SNL should be glad to have you. It isn’t even that good anymore, so you could definitely get on if only it weren’t such a goddamn bureaucracy old boys club probably. You place your hands back on your keyboard but then almost preternaturally navigate to Pornhub in your browser and spend the next 35 minutes opening adult movies in new tabs, the vast majority of which you never get to before you finish

After cleaning yourself up and taking a quick nap you realize you spent nearly 10 hours on the SNL packet and still have nothing to show for it besides “Pearl Ham” which the more you think about seems unlikely to lead anywhere. At this point, the Klonopin has started to take effect and the near non-stop buzzing of your boss texting you to find out why you didn’t show up for your shift at the hospital has become white noise. “Will anyone ever really love you?” you ask yourself as you tearfully delete “Pearl Ham” and then immediately type it out again. Maybe it could be something?

Step 5: Mail In Your Packet To Saturday Night Live and Wait!

SNL gets hundreds of thousands of submissions by white bearded guys like you every year, so if you don’t hear back from them right away assume that they hated what you submitted and start tweeting about how much you loathe the show. Mention how you thought it was horrible that SNL allowed Donald Trump to host when he was running for President and say something outlandish to prove your point like that it would be like if Hitler went on Mad TV and was in a sketch where he ordered Stewart to invade Poland and Stewart did his “I Don’t Wanna” line. 

Step 6: Holy Shit They Want To Meet You?

It’s been three months since you sent SNL your packet and in that time you have grown steadily obsessed with the cast and writing staff and have sent out thousands of tweets and direct messages letting them know that they are all no A. Whitney Browns and that the show sucks! As you sit at your laptop and discover that Kyle Mooney has blocked yet another of your fucking usernames you get an email alert from a Page at NBC asking to schedule an interview for a writing position at SNL. 

As you read, and then re-read the email, you feel like you’ve entered a fugue state. This could really be it. You start to remember how much the show meant to you when you were growing up and think about what an amazing honor it would be to be part of the same show that launched the careers of Brooks Wheelan and Gilda Radner. You cry and spend the rest of the night deleting all your Twitter accounts and thinking about how much your life is about to change. 

Step 7: Impress The The Head Writers

The bad news is you’re going to have to quit your job and leave your family to move to New York, but as soon as you step into 30 Rock you know it will be worth it. This is where you belong, and assuming they don’t find out you stole most of your packet from sketch examples you found on Twitter or that you have spent the last three months cyberbullying SNL’s cast and writing staff, as well as a few costume designers you found on Instagram, this will be your new home. 

As you sit nervously in a large conference room waiting for Michael Che and Colin Jost to show up, you try your best to compose yourself but the opportunity is frankly too overwhelming. You steal a pen from the desk. It doesn’t even have “SNL” on it. It’s just a BIC, but you take it anyway. As you shove a few loose legal-size notepads into your messenger bag the door opens. 

It’s Colin Jost. And Michael Che. And a Jewish looking fellow who you don’t recognize. And for the next hour, you tell them about yourself and how much Saturday Night Live means to you and how this has always been a dream and what an honor it is just to be in the building. Collin and the Jewish guy say they feel the same way. Michael was texting with someone as you went on for maybe a little too long but is sort of nodding his head so maybe he feels the same way too? He’s sort of hard to read.  

After an hour or so of discussing comedy, they thank you for coming and you leave the building. As the brisk air hits your face you call your mom and tell her how well it went and that you’re never going back home. “Are you sure this is what you want to do? Why don’t you wait until they actually offer you the job?” she asks, but you are sure this is the right move. You text your boss at the hospital and tell her that UCLA Medical Center can find a new head of osteopathic surgery, thank you very much. Your wife and children are upset to learn you’re moving across the country, but you have a dream and who are those cunts to tell you that all you’ll ever be is a husband and father just because you’re their husband and father. 

Step 8: Realize You Made A Huge Mistake

It’s been three weeks since your interview and you think it’s kind of rude that no one from SNL has gotten back to you about when you’ll be starting. “They could have really used me,” you think to yourself as you watch tonight’s episode from the new apartment you rented only a block away from the studio. As the episode draws to an end you sit alone and think about how much you miss your children and wife and wonder if this was all worth it. You know it wasn’t. You call Sheila up to tell her that you want her back, but she tells you it’s too late. You hear a man’s voice in the background. You ask to talk to the kids but she says no. “You made your decision, Judah,” she tells you as she hangs up. 

Step 9: Confront Those Hypocrites At Saturday Night Live Who Wouldn’t Know Talent If A. Whitney Brown Were Standing Right In Front Of Them

What have you done, you stupid fuck? You had it all and gave it all up to write for Saturday Night Live who doesn’t even want you. But why would they? Why would anybody want you?

You don’t know why, but you run out of your apartment to 30 Rock and get in a line of about two dozen teenagers (Harry Styles was tonight’s musical guest) waiting by the building’s exit for an autograph or picture. You don’t have a plan and the young girls waiting in line with you are not interested in small talk and are making you feel like a creep. Bitches.

At around 2:00 AM you spot the Jewish guy from your interview leaving the building. “Hey! Menasha!” you yell out. He turns around and walks over. “Hey…what are you doing here? Did you want to meet Harry Styles?” 

It’s such a simple question but you struggle to answer it. “No, I don’t care about Harry Styles. Did I get the job?” you ask bluntly. He is very polite about it, but lets you know that you didn’t. 

“But why?” you ask, mouth quivering as the reality that you upended so much of your life for this blown chance sets in.

“Because you plagiarized all of your sketches from the Internet,” he says. 

“That’s not true! The Pearl Ham was mine! Give me another chance,” you beg. 

“And we know you were harassing Kyle Mooney and some of the girls from wardrobe on social media.”  You try to explain, but it’s no use. “Good luck, Dr. Goran. I have to go.” 

Step 10: Tweet About How Much SNL Sucks

It will take several months to convince your wife to take you back, but eventually, she will. Things won’t be the same, but you both think it’s best for the kids to have a two-parent household. 

As you reflect on your ill-fated comedy career and imagine all of the things that might have been, you realize this was all for the best. 

That first Saturday back home you stay up late to watch SNL. You had never heard of the host or musical guest and most of the jokes and references did nothing but make you feel old and like the world had some how moved on without you. You felt the Pearl Spam sketch was inspired though.  As the show’s iconic theme plays at its end, your wife comes downstairs. Your relationship with her is still fragile, but she gets warmer toward you with each passing day. She asks you if you are coming to bed soon. 

“Just give me a minute,” you tell her and she gives you a kiss that is so sweet and loving that you realize how lucky you are to still have her in your life. 

As you watch her ascend the steps to the second floor, you log on to Twitter and tweet: