Comedy Central’s ‘Nathan For You’ goes too far

Comedy Central’s new show “Nathan For You” is irresponsible entertainment. Comedy Central has broadcast crude and unbecoming shows in the past, but nothing like this. “Nathan For You” stars Nathan Fielder as he goes around helping struggling small businesses. What makes him qualified for this job? His credentials are that he “graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades.” That’s it.

Nathan Fielder is a stand-up comedian and comedy writer that wrote for Comedy Central’s “Important Things with Demetri Martin” and had an acting role in “Jon Benjamin Has a Van.” He got his own show not on the merits of his education or business background (if he has any), but on his comedic success on the network. This is crucial to understand why “Nathan For You” is more than just a harmless 30-minute show.

The show is irresponsible because Fielder’s methods are to do more damage than good. In one episode, he visits a yogurt shop. He tells the manager that they should make a “poo” flavor. Fielder reasons this would give the yogurt shop publicity. Customers then come inside and are offered the new flavor of frozen yogurt. The show takes the audience through how Fielder is able to get the flavor made and ensure audiences that it’s edible. Then, after Fielder realizes it is a bad idea, he tells the manager, “I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have something poo-related in a place that serves food.”

“Nathan For You” ruins the reputation of the businesses he’s supposed to be helping. People watching this show might get a laugh or two because of how ridiculous it is that a yogurt shop is serving poo-flavored frozen yogurt, but no one would want to actually go eat at that place. In the long run, the yogurt shop will receive fewer customers due to “Nathan For You.”

Later on in the episode, he visits a pizzeria. Nathan Fielder insists they should start the claim that they can deliver a pizza in eight minutes or the customer will get a separate free pizza. Of course, it’s impossible to get a pizza ready and delivered in eight minutes. Fielder’s reasoning is that the eight-minute promise will get people to order at their pizzeria and when the pizza doesn’t arrive on time, their separate free pizza will be “an inch big.”

But, when the pizzeria puts Fielder’s plan in motion, customers are quick to get angry when they receive their inch-size pizza. The customers called expecting a free pizza because of Fielder’s hack plan and are then expected to pay. Thanks to Fielder’s plan, the pizzeria lose the trust the business has built. Customers who were lied to won’t be calling back any time soon.

This lead to the next question: Is the show fake? Do actors portray the manager roles? Are all the business presented in the show fictional?

If the show is fake, it can be seen as harmless comedy playing out like “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation.” But, the show isn’t presented this way. It is presented as fact. If what happened in the show actually did happened, “Nathan For You” is doing serious damage to these unsuspecting businesses. Comedy Central should be ashamed of themselves. It has finally gone too far.

 

Reach the reporter at tverti@asu.edu