Business in a bit of a pickle? Nathan might be your guy.
Nathan For You is a bizarre docu-comedy where Canadian Nathan Fielder dishes out the craziest, often unhelpful business advice to struggling business owners.
And with every crazy episode, you’ll wonder: is this for real?
Who is Nathan Fielder?
He sounds like a guy who graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really really good grades.
Jokes aside, Nathan Fielder is the mastermind comedian behind that endearingly awkward character on Nathan For You. Whether it’s an elaborate act or a peek into his true self, the world may never know.
But one thing’s clear – his unique blend of cringeworthy humor sets him apart.
So, how did he get his comedy chops?
Peeling back the layers, Nathan’s journey started in a quintessential middle-class neighborhood in Vancouver, British Columbia. And yes, he did get a business degree, earning his BComm from the University of Victoria in 2005.
However, it was during his time at a high school improv club that Nathan’s true passion began to take shape. The laughter and creativity of those moments on stage ignited a desire within him to pursue a career in comedy.
Following a brief stint in a brokerage firm, he hung up his suit, traded it for a mic, and embraced the world of comedy as his undeniable calling.
Also, here’s a fun fact. Nathan and Seth Rogen? They’re high school improv buddies.
What’s the real story behind of Nathan For You?
In 2008, Nathan’s career took a significant turn when he was given the opportunity to write and perform his own weekly segment on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. This became a platform for showcasing his unique ideas, often revolving around themes of business and social awkwardness.
Nathan’s segments, including fake consumer reports and other business-centric concepts, caught the attention of the audience. This recognition led to Nathan’s involvement in other projects, such as contributing to the sketch work on the second season of Important Things with Demetri Martin.
As his reputation grew, Nathan was invited to join the writing staff of the new show Jon Benjamin Has a Van. During the subsequent years, Nathan dedicated himself to developing his own show that would combine his interests in small business and discomfort-driven comedy.
Nathan for You was born from these efforts and debuted on Comedy Central in 2013. Drawing inspiration from his prior work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, particularly a segment titled Nathan On Your Side, which essentially served as a trial run for “Nathan For You,” the show achieved remarkable success.
It garnered the esteemed Best Comedy/Variety Sketch Series award at the 2019 Writers Guild of America Awards.
Afterwards, Nathan for You expanded upon his original character and concept, further exploring the intersection of small business and comedic situations infused with discomfort.
Through his journey from political satire sketches to business-themed comedy, Nathan Fielder transformed a simple idea into an innovative and successful show that captured the essence of the show.
Is Nathan for You scripted or improvised?
Here’s the million dollar question: is Nathan For You real?
Basically, the only scripted character in the show is Nathan Fielder himself acting like a bigger, exaggerated version of himself. But he often makes things up on the spot because the show can be really unpredictable.
Is the show scripted? Not exactly. However, there’s a script floating around, sketching out possible scenarios. But what’s really funny is how the participants in the show react naturally. It’s all off-the-cuff.
The trick to making the show seem genuine to the viewers is that the business owners and others in the show don’t know they’re in it for a joke. Nathan For You’s crew carefully picks these business owners through auditions. They make sure that the participants don’t realize the show is meant to be funny.
This helps keep their reactions natural because if they knew it was all just for laughs, their reactions wouldn’t feel as real, and that’s something the show really wants to avoid.
However, this concept put the show in a gray area.
In one episode of Nathan For You called “The Hero”, where Nathan aims to transform an everyday guy into a national hero, all within two weeks. He’s got this idea that deep down, each one of us has a hero waiting to burst out.
So, Nathan goes ahead and picks Corey Calderwood, a part-time arcade attendant who lives with his grandparents. Corey signs up for an experiment to give his life a major upgrade, and that’s exactly what Nathan is aiming for – to prove his big point.
Nathan studies how Corey acts and then takes a 3D scan of Corey’s face. Next thing you know, Nathan takes Corey on a helicopter ride to a desert and leaves him in a camper for two weeks. All this so Nathan can dive into Corey’s life and make it awesome.
While Nathan is pretending to be Corey, wearing a mask, he goes all out and arranges a date with Jasmine. However, Jasmine believed her casting agent had lined up an MTV dating show for her, only to find out she was actually part of Nathan For You.
That’s when Jasmine opened up about how participants can feel quite uncomfortable upon discovering they’ve been misled in front of a huge crowd. She shared her experience on Reddit, mentioning that she felt a bit foolish and genuinely embarrassed when the truth dawned on her as the episode aired.
She also confessed to feeling disappointed and let down upon realizing that the guy she believed she was dating wasn’t who he appeared to be. And here’s the amusing part – Jasmine said on Reddit that she might have genuinely liked Nathan. I mean, who wouldn’t?
On the other hand, Michael Koman, one of the creators, talked to Splitsider and mentioned they’re being careful to not make the comedy seem mean to the people on the show. That’s why everyone working on the show is fast to speak up if something seems like it’s hurting someone.
Familiar with this meme?
When Jonathan joined the show in the “Hot Dog Stand” episode, some viewers started to raise suspicion whether Nathan For You is actually scripted. Many viewers had thought of this because Jonathan had been an extra of other shows like Arrested Development and Shameless.
But since this episode is filmed in the Los Angeles area, there’s a huge chance that his involvement might have been spontaneous. Either way, this part of the episode was absolutely hilarious and had me laughing so much.
What makes Nathan for You so compelling to watch?
Personally, the gas station episode of Nathan For You is seriously something else. But not about the gas station owner talking about weird stuff like drinking kids’ pee. Yikes.
In this episode, Nathan comes up with this plan where the gas station sells gas for $1.75 per gallon with a rebate. But – to get the rebate, you’ve have to answer riddles and then hike up a faraway mountain to drop it in a box.
Sounds crazy, right? What’s even crazier is that people actually go on an overnight camping trip for this rebate! Like, “Whoa, they’re doing all that to save $13?”
Yes, they actually did. But what really caught me off guard in this episode is how the whole crazy situation brings everyone together. These rebate campers, who start as strangers, end up becoming buddies. Literally, they found friendship in the most unexpected place – all because of a silly gas rebate.
This is why Nathan For You is so great—it’s like a trick that surprises and engages you.
I mean, Nathan could easily make fun of capitalism and strange business tactics, but he went for something bigger. He turns the show into a “social experiment,” mixing real-life situations that challenge normal rules, all while being really polite.
It’s kind of the opposite of reality TV, where people react genuinely and stay considerate. With Nathan, he sets up uncomfortable moments in each business plan, pushing people into awkward situations that break the rules. But he does it nicely.
The cool thing is that in Nathan For You, the people aren’t the joke. Even Nathan himself doesn’t always know what’s funny until it just happens.
When Nathan Meets Maci
In what seemed to be a regular episode, Nathan sets off on a quest to help Bill find his long-lost love, Frances.
But before Bill could meet Frances, Nathan comes up with a unique plan to help Bill in becoming more comfortable around women. So, Nathan, being a quirky entrepreneur, goes online shopping…for escorts. (Yup, you read that right!)
Out of what we can assume was a vast selection of ladies, one particular name seemed to catch his eye: Maci.
However, Bill rejected the idea of meeting an escort so Nathan decided to just meet Maci since he already paid her. Turns out, their meet-up becomes a heartwarming display.
Far from the stereotypes one might expect, Maci’s charm and authenticity shine. And Nathan? Let’s just say he becomes every bit the smitten kitten, even resorting to the classic move of “Hey, wanna watch my show with me?” to impress her.
Which made the viewers realize that behind all the comedic skits and awkward moments, lies a guy who, like many of us, is searching for a genuine human connection. Perhaps that’s what made this show so endearing to watch.
It is raw, unfiltered, and strikes a chord deep within our hearts. On top of that, it’s funny.
Speaking of which, do you have a particular episode of Nathan For You that you love?
Share it in the comments!