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14 Best Nathan For You Details You Should Add To Your Next Business Plan

Comedy Central is famous (or maybe we should we say "infamous?") for airing some of the most eclectic TV shows out there, but few have caught public interest like "Nathan for You." The show stars comedian Nathan Fielder as he travels across the country offering his expertise to various small businesses. However, his out-of-the-box solutions to their biggest problems often lead to awkward interactions with employees, customers, and other oddball characters who reappear through the show's four seasons. 

"Nathan for You" has been responsible for several hoaxes and publicity stunts throughout its run, though some of the show's best moments blur the line between fiction and reality. It's an approach that Fielder replicates on his latest show, "The Rehearsal," which first aired on HBO in 2022. An article in Collider analyzing Fielder's latest project draws comparisons between his work and the work of writer-director Charlie Kaufman, particularly the 2008 film "Synecdoche, New York." 

While viewers may debate the authenticity of Nathan Fielder's work, he's no doubt an experienced entertainer when it comes to cringe comedy. As a bonus, some of his business proposals may actually embody fascinating aspects of sociology and human connections, albeit unintentionally. However, those who want even more insight into the mind of Nathan Fielder may be surprised by these 14 facts about "Nathan for You." These tidbits highlight the show's greatest success stories, Nathan's deepest on-camera moments, and trivia that examines Nathan's career outside of the show and how it has influenced his comedy.

Nathan's comedy connections date back to his school days

Fans of "Nathan for You" are well aware of Nathan Fielder's Canadian origins. Fielder grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia during the '80s and '90s, where he ended up brushing (if not quite rubbing) shoulders with future comedic royalty. While attending Point Grey Secondary School, Fielder joined his school's improv troupe during his first steps towards his comedy future. Another member of the group was Canadian supericon Seth Rogen, who would go on to star in the cult sitcom "Freaks & Geeks" before transitioning to an incredibly successful movie career with films like 2007's "Knocked Up" and "Superbad." 

Speaking to The New York Times in a profile on Fielder, Rogen recalled the quiet kid he once shared the stage with, noting, "He wouldn't say anything, and then he'd come in at the end with a line that killed," which serves as a premonition to the comedic style Fielder honed later. Fielder's teenage years also saw him dabbling in amateur magic — a background he utilizes on "Nathan for You" in an episode where he performs a Houdini-style escape from being labeled a registered sex offender (not really, though).

Rogen and Fielder, now both successes in the entertainment industry, have joined forces in more recent years. Fielder appeared in two of Rogen's films: the raunchy Christmas flick "The Night Before" and the Tommy Wiseau biopic "The Disaster Artist." As it appears, the two comedians have not lost track of their Canadian comedy roots.

The truth of Nathan's business school background

Every episode of "Nathan for You" begins with the same opening sequence, in which Nathan Fielder introduces himself and his qualifications for helping small businesses. According to the comedian, he "graduated from one of Canada's top business schools with really good grades." What flashes on screen while he says this is a college transcript depicting said "really good grades," adding up to a GPA of 3.3, which does loosely qualify as "really good." No deception from Fielder here.

Nevertheless, it never hurts to do a little digging, especially with someone like Nathan Fielder, who is notorious for hoaxes and heightening reality. The Globe and Mail, a Canadian news website, did their research and found that Fielder did, in fact, graduate from the University of Victoria, which has been ranked highly among Canada's best schools in preparing students for their careers. 

Although it can be confirmed that Fielder did receive a bachelor's degree from the University of Victoria, that was far from the end of his education. After graduating, Fielder enrolled in the comedy program at Toronto's Humber College, which still exists to this day (via Toronto Life). Fielder later transitioned to writing for "Canadian Idol," the CTV equivalent of "American Idol," which led to his next big break. 

Fielder finds success on Canadian TV

During his time on "Canadian Idol," Nathan produced video shorts for YouTube, which ended up getting discovered by Canadian TV producer Michael Donovan. Through Donovan, Nathan got a job as a field correspondent for the Canadian television show "This Hour Has 22 Minutes." Similar to America's "The Daily Show," "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" was an ongoing political satire show. Fielder's role was akin to the past correspondents of "The Daily Show" like John Oliver or Samantha Bee. 

Nathan's segment on the program, "Nathan on Your Side," is a precursor to the work he eventually did on "Nathan for You." While more outright comical, "Nathan on Your Side" finds Nathan Fielder navigating the city of Halifax and doing a purposefully awful job reporting on field pieces. According to Donovan, Fielder's presence on the show was divisive, yet drew results: "[The audience] either thought he saved the show or that we'd made a terrible, terrible mistake," (via Grantland).

Nathan's success would eventually translate to American TV when he moved to Los Angeles in 2009. Upon arriving there, he told his agents to not send him to pitch meetings due to feeling like he wouldn't be able to charm his way into a job (via Vulture). Nevertheless, against all odds, Nathan ended up in the good graces of one particular comedy network who were willing to take a chance on the awkward correspondent from "22 Minutes." 

Nathan Fielder moves to Comedy Central with Nathan for You

In 2013, "Nathan for You" debuted on Comedy Central. The show centers on Nathan Fielder visiting struggling small businesses and offering outside-the-box guidance. Inside the context of the show, these are unconventional ideas that take advantage of things the business may be weak at, or ways to appeal to a consumerist society. Outside, however, it's clear to audience members that Nathan's ideas are meant to test the patience and desperation of these business owners. 

The real strength of "Nathan for You," however, comes from Nathan's off-putting personality, which he uses to get his subjects to lower their guard. As Vice put it, Nathan "[presents] a version of himself that is overtly an [expletive]-hole while also dipping into a softer, more self-aware side tainted by his own weakness." Fielder's on-screen persona drew controversy years later, but it's a bonus in getting these businesses to partake in his absurd practices. 

Take, for example, the show's first client – a frozen yogurt shop lacking frequent customers. Nathan's business proposal involves introducing a new frozen yogurt flavor that could draw attention to the store. His proposed flavor — the taste of poop — does, in fact, attract customers, although it's clear that the owner is uncomfortable with selling customers frozen yogurt that tastes like poop. In case you were wondering, the store closed down in 2019. Maybe they should've taken Nathan's advice.

The show's second episode exposes a viral moment

The power of Nathan Fielder is revealed in the second episode of "Nathan for You," where the Canadian comedian pays a visit to a petting zoo in need of promotion. Nathan's idea is appropriately ambitious — to create a viral video that turns one of their animals from ordinary to extraordinary. What's most shocking about this episode is Nathan's plan worked, and the video actually went viral on a level he had not anticipated, only to be revealed as a hoax when the episode premiered on Comedy Central in 2013. 

The video in question, uploaded to YouTube on September 19, 2012, as "Pig rescues baby goat," initially gained traction on Twitter before being promoted by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres' own account. It was covered on "Good Morning America," "Fox & Friends," and the "Today Show," while some fringe parts of the Internet speculated that it was falsified. What was most surprising to Nathan Fielder, as he told The New York Times, was that nobody connected to "Nathan for You" tried to make it go viral — it happened all on its own.

 Making the viral video itself was another task of great difficulty for Nathan. It involved scuba divers carrying the animals underwater so they wouldn't be harmed, while Nathan filmed nearby on a camera. He even recruited the voice acting work of a former "Nathan for You" client to make it seem authentic. 

Nathan meets many future recurring faces

Part of the charm of "Nathan for You" involves the various colorful characters of the Los Angeles area that Nathan runs into during his business ventures. There's Jack Garbarino, who Nathan recruits to be the face of his falsified fitness craze in order to provide free labor for a moving company, which garnered attention from local news stations. There's also a gas station owner who, for some reason, openly tells Nathan that he drinks his grandson's urine, prompting Fielder to break character while questioning him on it. 

However, the most memorable people on "Nathan for You" are those who recur throughout the series. There's Simon Kellogg, a security guard Nathan hires for a clothing store who turns out to be biased towards female customers with certain physical attributes. There's also Brian Wolfe, a private investigator Nathan hires to track him. Wolfe takes every opportunity he can to mock Nathan's personality and physical appearance, at one point calling the comedian "the wizard of loneliness." 

One of the show's best and most frequent guest is James Bailey, a Santa Claus impersonator who struggles to find work in the summer season. It doesn't help that the man also has a criminal record and a collection of guns. Nevertheless, Nathan grows fond of the faux Santa and recruits him for many future episodes, such as when he's promoting an unpopular toy called the Doink-It to children. 

Using parody law to help a local coffee shop reach mainstream media

Many people probably thought it would be hard for Nathan Fielder to top his Hero Pig viral moment, but in the show's second season, he proved that it wasn't hard for him at all. In Season 2, Nathan offers to help a struggling coffee shop known as the Helio Cafe in Hollywood, with the unconventional idea to take advantage of the exception for parody in copyright law. By renaming the store "Dumb Starbucks," copying the popular chain's art and menu with altered names, they would attract media attention and avoid litigation from the mega-corporation. 

However, the owner of the Helio Cafe is uninterested, forcing Nathan to pursue the idea on his own. Dumb Starbucks officially opened in February of 2014, and despite Nathan's low expectations, it attracts national media attention. Shortly after, long lines form, and Nathan reveals himself as its owner, which only makes the stunt more popular around Internet circles (via The Guardian). 

While Starbucks planned to retaliate, it never had its chance. Although Nathan announced plans to open a second "Dumb Starbucks" location in Brooklyn, New York, the original Dumb Starbucks was swiftly shut down by the city health inspectors. While the store was in their right to parody Starbucks, they were also operating without the proper public health permits. Thankfully, Fielder got a good "Nathan for You" episode out of the publicity stunt.

Nathan founds a jacket company to battle anti-Semitism

During production of "Nathan for You" Season 3, Nathan Fielder's attention was brought to the apparel company Taiga, who manufactured many of the outfits Nathan wears throughout the Comedy Central show. One of the company's catalogue writers had dedicated a post-mortem tribute to a known Holocaust denier (via The Times of Israel). As a Jewish man himself, Fielder felt that he couldn't trust the assurances of any other apparel company on the market, causing him to start his own clothing line.

The company, Summit Ice, is heavily featured in a third season episode of "Nathan for You," and is promoted as the first apparel company to be completely transparent about the truth behind the infamous genocide of six million Jews during World War II. The company's website not only sells outerwear garments that are comfortable and fit easily, but also contains services to educate its shoppers on the Holocaust. Fortunately for Fielder, the company has become a huge success, grossing over $2 million in sales (via Entertainment Weekly).

Furthermore, Summit Ice has become a preferred brand of many celebrities, including Jack Black, John Mayer, and Alexandra Daddario. All of the sales for Summit Ice have subsequently been donated to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. Additionally, the company also sells logoless apparel so that its customers can proudly support Holocaust education whilst refraining from "triggering those who don't share your beliefs."

Nathan turns a nobody into a hero

While most mainstream audiences would consider "The Rehearsal" as a true examination into the darkest parts of Nathan Fielder's mind, the warning signs are all there in the "Nathan for You" Season 3 finale, titled "The Hero." The episode follows Nathan on his most ambitious quest yet – to turn a local nobody into a hero. His subject is Corey Calderwood, an adult man living with his grandparents who seems open to Nathan's idea, which involves him going into hiding for two weeks while Nathan assumes his identity.

Prior to his meeting with Corey, Nathan trains for seven months to master tightrope walking (via Inverse). With full body prosthetics to disguise himself as Corey, Nathan plans to wire-walk between two Los Angeles buildings to raise money for breast cancer awareness, a stunt that attracts a crowd of onlookers as the fake Corey succeeds. After the successful tightrope stroll, a swap is made to replace Nathan with the real Corey, gaining him all the accolades. It's a scheme that seemingly works, as Corey walks off with his new girlfriend, who Nathan had begun dating as him.

However, it's the episode's ending that reveals how immersive of an experience this is for Nathan. As Corey, Nathan has a newfound sense of confidence, going out and talking to people in ways he never had before assuming Corey's identity. Once the makeup artists peel off the prosthetic face, Nathan is simply left all by himself, with no mask to cover up his true identity. 

Nathan revisits some of his former clients

Between the third and fourth seasons of "Nathan for You," Nathan Fielder paid a visit to some of his former clients to check up on their business successes following their appearances on his show. The special episode, "A Celebration," aired in 2017 one week before the official start of Season 4 of "Nathan for You." The episode is co-hosted by Anthony Napoli, who appeared in the show's first season as the host of a Nathan-created dating show called "The Hunk."

Nathan's revisited guests include Sue Sebastian, a realtor who Nathan rebrands as "The Ghost Realtor," pairing her with a psychic named Ron to inspect her listed homes for paranormal entities. In the original episode, their discovery of a haunted house results in a disturbing moment where Nathan hires an exorcist, but things have thankfully gone much more swimmingly for Sue's newfound career. Although Ron the psychic has passed away, Sue is working with a new medium, Joshua, whom Nathan has an awkward interaction with.

This episode also reunites Nathan with Corey Calderwood following his heroic moment at the end of Season 3. Unfortunately, Corey's relationship with Jasmine, the girl Nathan set him up with, didn't pan out, but his life has made significant improvements, whether it was the show's doing or not. He has a new girlfriend and no longer lives with his grandparents.

The validity of Nathan for You is brought into question

Nathan Fielder's career following "Nathan for You" would be defined by public discourse surrounding whether or not the events and people depicted in his shows were authentic. With "The Rehearsal," this is all part of the gambit, but it was just as prevalent during the era of "Nathan for You." Given Fielder's past with "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," it seems likely that things are more planned than not, though according to co-creator Michael Koman, many moments are unplanned, such as Fielder's odd interaction with that gas station employee who drinks his grandson's urine. 

The question of whether or not the show is an accurate portrayal of events particularly came up when Jasmine, the girl Nathan set Corey up with in "The Hero," reported her experience on the show to Reddit. Jasmine, an actress, was hired alongside two other girls to attend dates with Corey, who she was aware was a man in a suit the entire time (however, she did not know of Fielder's involvement). She was also paid for her appearance, though she and Corey did not continue their romance off-camera. 

It does seem likely that, for the most part, "Nathan for You" is orchestrating some of its moments while seizing the opportunity to catch something real whenever they can. The show is more of a straight comedy than "The Rehearsal" certainly is.

Nathan For You ends with a feature-length finale

"Nathan For You" ended after four seasons, with its finale being its longest and deepest episode yet. Titled "Finding Frances," the hour-and-a-half-long episode reunites Nathan with another former actor from the show — Bill Heath, the Bill Gates impersonator. After several more interactions with Bill where the old man mentions his long-lost love from high school, Frances, Nathan offers him the opportunity to reconnect with her using the show's resources, which Bill accepted.

The two embark on a cross-country road trip, visiting Bill's Arkansas hometown, looking for clues as to Frances' whereabouts. Along the way, Nathan learns more about their relationship than Bill previously let on, specifically regarding their tragic breakup when Bill cheated on her with another girl. They eventually track Frances down, though when Bill gets cold feet before walking up to her door. He opts to call his former flame instead, resulting in a polite conversation where Bill understands she's happy with her life the way it is (via SPIN).

The episode received rave reviews, with The New Yorker calling it "ridiculous," "disturbing," and "remarkable." "Finding Frances" even received acclaim from filmmaker Errol Morris, and some fans believed this would be the pinnacle of what the show could achieve (via The Ringer). It combines all the aspects that make Nathan Fielder's comedy so unique: the line between real and fake is as blurred as ever, it's terribly hard to watch, and it unexpectedly moves you.

Nathan's projects with other comedians

Since the end of "Nathan for You," Nathan Fielder has done behind-the-scenes work for other, similar comics. One such comic is Sacha Baron Cohen, who rose to prominence in the 2000s with his documentary-style films "Borat" and "Bruno." In 2018, Fielder served as a writer and director on "Who Is America?" The series starred Baron Cohen as several fictional characters on different sides of the political spectrum, conducting social experiments and interviews with real-life people and, particularly, politicians. 

Following "Who Is America?" Nathan Fielder served as executive producer of the HBO series "How to with John Wilson." Wilson, a fellow comedian, created the show after working for a private investigator, which led to him discovering the oddities one may witness when they pay close attention to the world around them. The series follows Wilson as he films tutorials throughout New York City, capturing some truly odd moments that many people may not notice during their daily lives.

Though Fielder's involvement in the show was kept in the background, the comedian appears in a behind the scenes video explaining his working relationship with Wilson. However, like all things Fielder, it goes off the rails as he becomes much more interested in discussing his latest business venture — creating suggestive TikTok videos with a group of charismatic almost-legal teenage boys, which allows the comedian to show off his awkward and disturbing personality yet again. 

The Rehearsal is familiar territory for Nathan, but with a twist

Fielder's latest project, an HBO series titled "The Rehearsal," brings the comedian back to familiar territory for "Nathan for You" fans. This time, Nathan offers a new service to strangers — the opportunity to rehearse impending life moments over and over again until they achieve their desired result. In the series' first episode, which premiered in 2022, Nathan helps a man named Kor Skeete confess to a member of his trivia team that he does not have a master's degree, despite previously lying about it. Thankfully, the rehearsal works well for Skeete, who successfully navigates the interaction.

Nathan's biggest task in "The Rehearsal," however, is helping a woman named Angela try out motherhood. Using HBO's resources, Nathan builds Angela her dream home using interchangeable child actors to smoothly simulate Angela's child-raising experience. As it goes on, Nathan's involvement increases, resulting in him cohabitating with Angela and helping her raise her son after her attempts to find a husband fail. When Angela ultimately quits, Nathan finds himself continuing the simulation for reasons even he isn't so sure about.

"The Rehearsal" was quickly renewed for a second season by HBO, but its first prompted more than enough think pieces. One New Yorker article gained viral attention for its admonishing of Fielder's treatment towards his subjects, while other publications like Vogue lauded the show for, surprisingly, moving its audience. Who knows what Fielder has up his sleeve next, but by all accounts, it'll be the unexpected.