Nathan Fielder Is Doing Some Phenomenal/Terrible Work on the Talk Show Circuit
I watch Nathan Fielder’s Comedy Central show, Nathan for You every week, and it always proves to be the most excruciatingly awkward half hour of my week. I hate watching the show, and I spend the entire time wondering if Nathan Fielder is really this socially awkward, or if it is performance art. But he’s also brilliant, and that’s why I watch, because as painful as it is, it’s smart. Most of the time.
To wit: Ahead of this season of Nathan for You, Fielder knew that he’d have to do the rounds on the talk show circuit, but he also understands that he’s not a very good guest. So, he researched and discovered the formula to a great talk show story and made one up for himself. However, he didn’t want to lie, so he staged the entire story so that it would technically be true. It involved going to a wedding, mixing up his luggage with someone else’s, being forced to resort to wear that stranger’s oversized suit to the wedding, being pulled over by the police on the way to the wedding, and having a baggie of the stranger’s mother’s ashes be confused for cocaine. It was very elaborate — it cost $350,000 to stage the story — but he pulled it off, and so when he went on Kimmel, the story he told was technically true.
The story worked so well on Kimmel that last week, he told the story again on Seth Meyers’ show, but not before revealing that he staged the story and that he’d already told it on Kimmel, so there’s like an extra layer of meta here:
Last night, he was on Conan, and this time, he acknowledged to Conan that he couldn’t tell the same story three times, but he still understands that he’s not a very good talk show guest. So, he brought a back-up guest on: Susan Sarandon. She never actually speaks (her services were not needed):
Anyway, if you’ve never seen Nathan Fielder before, this is a great/terrible introduction to his work. He’s like a modern-day Andy Kaufman. I guess. Brilliant, but incredibly hard to stomach.