Nathan For You: For Everyone
It’s no secret in my household that I’m a big fan of what Comedy Central is doing these days. My DVR is often 80% Comedy Central programming. The way my husband watches sports, I get down with comedy programming.
Something I didn’t get a chance to take in during it’s first run was Nathan For You. Luckily, the whole first season is on demand and I’m so glad I got acquainted with Nathan For You’s subdued absurdity.
Nathan attempts to help turn a wayward kid around, by entrapping him into vandalizing a poster and then telling on him to his parents.
Nathan Fielder, Canadian
Nathan Fielder, according to the show’s opening, “graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades” and now advises small businesses on how to get better. It’s half prank show and half one of those “Rescue” reality shows (Bar, Car Lot, Dance Studio) but performed as a supreme straight man.
It’s a combination of loophole-knowing, rule bending and psychology. And the best part of the show is often somehow his stunts end up weirdly working. You may already be familiar with some of his work because the media often unwittingly picks up on his pranks and thinks they’re real.
Nathan is most famous for his “Dumb Starbucks” stunt:
He was able to basically wholesale copy the real Starbucks and just add “dumb” in front because of parody law. It was arguably Weird Al’s “Eat It” to Starbucks’ “Beat It.”
Now I am admittedly biased toward Canadians as it is my birth country, but Nathan For You is for everyone. It’s actually a bit hard to articulate the calm latent genius of this show, so I’m gonna pull out some of the best clips from the first season to get you in gear for the second. Here are my favorites:
Nathan attempts to help a struggling Haunted House by making it so scary that customers want to sue at the end. The owner is reluctant, but I think it’s pretty brilliant.
Insult Caricature Artist
Nathan helps a caricature artist find his niche by encouraging him to become the “King of Sting.”
Nathan hires actors to create a new style of funerary services that includes the death equivalent of “Happy Birthday.”
Petting Zoo Rescue
A petting zoo is having trouble attracting patrons, so Nathan has the idea to stage a YouTube video of an animal rescue. Using stunt men, scuba divers and copious props he makes a video that garners over 6 million hits within a week. It got a lot of media traction and now I am forever cynical at all those animal rescue videos I watch all day.
Gas Station Rebate
Demonstrating his ability to use technicalities, Nathan creates a scheme where an independent gas station can advertise crazy low prices but there’s a catch. It’s only the low price AFTER rebate. And this rebate involves making an hour and a half hike, camping over night and answering a series of riddles. To his surprise, three people decide to try to go all the way to obtain their $20 rebates.
I’m excited to see what the new season will bring. Fingers crossed for convincing a wedding planner to include a fake kidnapping attempt including stuntmen and squibs that the groom can thwart heroically. Actually, that one’s mine and it might really work.
Nathan For You, Season 2 Premiere is July 1, 10:30 pm EST