There aren’t many comedy series that have been covered by The New York Times for its business acumen in advance of its Season 3 premiere, but “Nathan for You” has never been a typical comedy series.
Even though it airs on Comedy Central, the home of more conventional series with outspoken, oversized stars like Amy Schumer or “Key & Peele,” the unique thing about “Nathan for You,” and its star, Nathan Fielder, is that often the biggest thing about the show doesn’t happen onscreen — it happens online.
In just two seasons, “Nathan for You” has already been responsible for several huge viral moments that went far beyond the scope of the modestly rated series.
The biggest moment, of course, was the “Dumb Starbucks” stunt. Nathan’s business idea for a Season 2 episode was to open an “art installation” called Dumb Starbucks in order to get customers to abandon their local Starbucks order. The whole thing caught on in Los Angeles, and the popular stunt was suspected to be the work of Banksy or some other huge artist. Nope, it was Fielder, who appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to explain it.
Another big moment that wasn’t revealed as Fielder’s handiwork until the season aired was this adorable animal video, which looked to show a petting zoo tiny pig rescuing a baby goat from drowning.
While the video racked up millions of views on YouTube, no one even realized the video was fake until the episode aired.
Outside of the series, Fielder’s had another brush with Internet fame — his “experiment” of sending parents suggestive texts about buying drugs drew crazy and hilarious responses, drawing Buzzfeed‘s eye and thousands of retweets.
The business owners that Fielder interacts with on each episode of “Nathan for You” are real. But that’s pretty much the only thing about “Nathan” that’s real, because everything else about the series is designed to wring laughs out of Fielder’s disastrous plans.
And since so often it turns out Fielder’s bad plans are very, very funny, the only way to know whether your favorite viral moments from the last year were the work of Nathan Fielder or not is to watch Season 3 of “Nathan for You.”
“Nathan for You” premieres Oct. 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.