Home Creative writing Nick Offerman goes to Albany in “Who Do You Think You Are?” from NBC.

Nick Offerman goes to Albany in “Who Do You Think You Are?” from NBC.


Nick Offerman — (Chris Haston/Getty Images)

NBC/NBCU/NBCUniversal Photo Bank via

When the genealogy documentary series “Who Do You Think You Are?”, an American adaptation of the British BBC series of the same name, returned to NBC last Sunday 10 years after the network canceled it after its third season, Billy Porter, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor and singer (“Pose”, “Kinky Boots”) was the famous subject investigating his family tree.

But for residents of the Capital Region, it was the clips from the next episode, airing this Sunday at 7 p.m. EST, that perhaps sparked the most interest. In these, actor, writer and comedian Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) is shown strolling past gushing fountains through an eerily empty Empire State Plaza in Albany, captured in both shots tracking at ground level as well as in elevated bird’s eye views from a crane or drone.

Other images show Offerman — whose wife and fellow actor Megan Mullally was the subject of a 2018 season nine episode after the show was picked up for seven seasons on cable network TLC — walking through the streets of the city and meeting historians or genealogists in libraries, all of which could have been filmed in the capital. He discovers that his family once worked in the “tavern business” and that an ancestor was a Revolutionary War soldier.

“Who do you think you are?” is produced in partnership with Ancestry.com, the for-profit genealogy company that is featured prominently during each hour-long episode, as well as during commercial breaks. Among the show’s producers are actors Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky.

Offerman, originally from Illinois, was in Albany in October 2019 to present a talking and comedy show at the Palace Theatera venue he and Mullally had previously played together.

Two years later, in October 2021, Offerman visited John Boyd Thacher State Park in Voorheesville as the backdrop for an interview with CBS News about the release of his fourth and most recent book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of an Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outdoors.” It was during this time that he also reportedly shot the local scenes for “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Incidentally, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play” chronicles a trip the 52-year-old artist took to Glacier National Park with two of his closest friends, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy – creator of the Annual Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, where Offerman appeared — and award-winning fiction writer George Saunders — professor of creative writing at Syracuse University and former Albany resident.