Best Show You’re Not Watching: Nathan For You

Nathan Fielder Is Making Feel-Good Reality TV Funny

<b>HELPING HANDS: </b>Nathan Fielder is getting failing businesses up and running on Comedy Central's <em>Nathan for You</em>.

It’s hard to corner Comedy Central’s Nathan For You into one genre. It is a reality show that fell through Alice’s Looking Glass, a sketch comedy show that takes place in the real world, a Punk’d with a heart of gold, and at the center of the madness stands one of the years biggest breakout comedy stars: Nathan Fielder.

The Canadian Fielder, as he explains via voiceover in the opening credits of each episode, “graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades.” (We then quickly see a shot of his transcripts, riddled with B’s, with the occasional A and C thrown in for variety.) He then explains the premise of the show. “Now I’m using my knowledge to help struggling business owners make it in this competitive world.”

And so he does. Or at least so he attempts. Each episode finds Fielder consulting with Los Angeles business owners whose establishments are bottoming out, and coming up with a seemingly insane solution to save the business in question. Fielder maintains his deliciously deadpan demeanor as he suggests a realtor exorcise the properties she’s trying to sell so that she can have the edge on her competition by being the only real estate agent in L.A. who can honestly say that her properties are ghost and demon free. He also tells a pet store owner that the best marketing strategy the store can implement is to buy a towering tombstone in a pet cemetery and use the space as a billboard for the pet store. Every once in a while, the stunts are so wild they attract a monsoon of press, like when Fielder tried to help a struggling coffee shop by pitching that it rebrand itself as a parody of Starbucks and call itself “Dumb Starbucks.” In another instance, Fielder went social media viral by way of a down-on-its-luck petting zoo, which he helped by staging a video of a pig rescuing a baby goat from drowning. Fielder’s plans always sound like absolute madness on paper, and often require a degree of chaos to implement, but to his credit, more often than not, they work. He does set his clients apart from the crowd. He does drum up more business for the businesses he’s helping out. So the show does exactly what it promises to do in its opening credits. It just delivers on its promise in the most absolutely hilarious way possibly imaginable.

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