15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Nathan for You’
One of the most brilliant TV comedies ever to be hosted by a graduate of one of Canada’s top business schools, Nathan for You featured Nathan Fielder as an awkward reality show host offering to help out small businesses with slam-dunk ideas such as poo-flavored frozen yogurt and shoplifting privileges for attractive customers.
Whether you enjoyed the show as a satirical critique of the intrinsic absurdity of modern capitalism, or you’re just a fan of random televised accounts of urine drinking, here are 15 pieces of trivia about Nathan Fielder’s less brain-melting series, starting with how…
The Concept for the Show Began as Part of a Long-Running Canadian News Parody
The inspiration for Nathan for You came from “Nathan on Your Side,” a recurring segment on the long-running CBC comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes. A young Fielder essentially acted as a consumer advocate investigating topics such as penis enlargement products (which naturally required interviewing Santa Claus).
Before ‘Nathan for You,’ Fielder Worked on Comedy Central’s ‘Jon Benjamin Has a Van’
While Fielder had already pitched Nathan for You to Comedy Central at the time, he worked on another of their shows before it went into production: Jon Benjamin Has a Van. He later called Benjamin’s “You Can’t Shoot Here” sketch “one of my all-time favorite comedy bits.”
Fielder Had a Hard Time Keeping a Straight Face
During a Reddit AMA, Fielder admitted that it was often difficult to keep a straight face while filming the show, telling fans, “I began to realize that I’ll sometimes do this thing where I act like I’m picking a piece of food out of my back teeth to cover the fact that I’m smiling.” He also had to turn his head away from the camera several times during the episode where a realtor gets an exorcism.
It Was Particularly Hard to Not Laugh During the Famous Gas Station Scene
The “Gas Station” episode memorably ends with the store manager randomly “promoting” the medicinal qualities of drinking his grandson’s piss. Fielder recalled that it was hard to choke back the laughter (he still breaks at one point in the scene), and co-creator Michael Koman said that he “lost all control” behind the camera, later telling an interviewer: “I was behind racks of candy in this gas station. I was shuddering.”
The Banzai Predicament’s ‘Orphaned Skies’ Is on Spotify
Fielder’s plan to save money on tariffs by having smoke detectors classified as musical instruments involved putting together a band, eventually dubbed The Banzai Predicament. Their song, full of occasional irritating beeps made by the “Blues Smoke Detector,” is apparently still available on Spotify.
And You Can Still Buy ‘The Movement’ by Jack Garbino
If you’re looking to lose weight and inadvertently help someone move without getting paid, this sham book is still for sale on Amazon.
The Summit Ice Pop-Up Store Was a Huge Success
When Fielder started his outerwear line Summit Ice after finding out that Taiga, the makers of his prized jacket, celebrated a Holocaust denier in their catalog…
…he launched a pop-up store in Vancouver. It was a huge success; fans traded in their Taiga jackets for Summit Ice ones, and all the proceeds went to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Center.
People Really Thought That ‘Dumb Starbucks’ Was the Work of Banksy
Before the “Dumb Starbucks” episode of Nathan for You aired, the store captured a lot of media attention, and a number of people genuinely thought it was the work of street artist Banksy (he wishes).
The Writer’s Room Included ‘SNL’s Kyle Mooney and Dan Mintz From ‘Bob’s Burgers’
Throughout its four-season run, the Nathan for You writer’s room included Mooney of Saturday Night Live fame (his first time in a writer’s room of any kind) and Mintz, best known as the voice of Tina Belcher on Bob’s Burgers.
‘The Hunk’ Host Anthony Napoli Was in an Episode of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
The host of Fielder’s fake Bachelor-like reality show The Hunk, Anthony Napoli was also briefly in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia playing Business Man #2 (although he wasn’t on screen long enough to get into the subject of threesomes).
A Billboard Promoting the Show Was Suspiciously Similar to One for ‘The Blacklist’
A billboard for the show’s third season was somewhat reminiscent of one for the James Spader-starring The Blacklist. Just another “classic example” of “parallel thinking.”
Fielder Trained for Nine Months Before Attempting ‘Corey’s Wire Walk
One of the show’s most ambitious episodes found Fielder impersonating a random guy named Corey Calderwood with the help of some Dick Tracy-esque facial prosthetics, ultimately turning him into a “hero” by performing a high-wire walk between buildings that benefited charity.
Fielder actually performed the wire walk himself, which took nine months of training. He even tried to think up another ending for the show, worrying that it was “such a waste of time” for “one part of one episode,” but he couldn’t think of a funnier alternative.
Fielder Really Dropped His Pin During the Handcuff Escape
The ending of the “Claw of Shame” episode involved Fielder attempting to escape a pair of handcuffs, lest a robot turn him into a sex offender — at one point, he dramatically drops the pin he’s using to pick the lock, but it lands on his sweater. This wasn’t scripted, although Fielder later admitted that he had a backup pin hidden behind his ear under a Band-Aid.
The Show Allegedly Pretended to Be an MTV Production During Filming
According to Ellen, the bartender from the 1881 Club where they filmed “Smokers Allowed,” the Nathan for You crew claimed to be working on a “new series for MTV.” Similarly, someone claiming to be Jasmine, Corey’s date in “The Hero,” recalled on Reddit that she landed the gig after believing she was auditioning for an “MTV dating show.”
Acclaimed Documentarian Errol Morris Praised the Finale
The three-part finale had many fans, including Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Morris, who penned an essay for The New Yorker proclaiming that “Finding Francis” was his “favorite love story.”
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).