Nathan Fielder. Some of you may know him as the guy who graduated from one of Canada’s top business school with really good grades. Or you may know him as the guy who proved that lie detectors don’t work because he most certainly does not watch online pornography.
While appearing in a few movies, Fielder is most famous for his show “Nathan For You” on Comedy Central. Whether he is appearing on Conan or Kimmel, or interviewing for a movie, Fielder never drops his deadpan schtick. His unique brand of excruciatingly awkward, but hilarious, comedy. But how much of this act is real? The YouTube channel Now You See It seeks to answer that question in this expansive video.
But it goes beyond Fielder. This video puts “Nathan for You” against other reality shows but also scripted shows like “Fleabag” and “The Office,” which interact with the camera regularly. Even the movie “Eighth Grade” is used to discuss Nathan’s acting abilities.
Any movie or show that breaks the fourth wall in a significant way, reality or scripted, falls into the purview of this video. Anything that interacts with the audience blurs the line between performance and reality and makes the characters acutely aware of the performance they are putting on. Nathan Fielder, in a way, satirizes this very act. His use of unusually long takes and awkward pauses highlights the imperfections that the camera usually gets rid of.
I definitely play up certain parts of my personality and exaggerate vulnerabilities I have for the sake of comedy. I feel like the Nathan on the show has a much tougher time reading social cues and is way less self aware than the real me. He’s also much more confident. So yeah, it’s different, but at the same time it’s not like in my real life I’m strollin’ around scorin’ babes. It all comes from a real place. A lot of the time I feel like I’m emulating a younger version of myself.
So, it’s somewhat complicated. He’s exaggerating his personality, but at its core it’s still him. This feels a lot like Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” who plays a more outspoken version of himself. Larry David remarked on Conan that he was becoming too much like his “Curbed” character. You’ve got to wonder how much Fielder’s on screen persona bleeds into his real life one.
Check out the video above for an exciting analysis on performance and fourth wall breaking in movies and television. Say “Ai-Doo” to this video!