Comedy Central’s “Nathan for You” just wrapped its second season this week, and we are already eagerly awaiting season three.
Nathan Fielder’s comedy show involves convincing guests that he is there to help their small businesses flourish and then offering ridiculous suggestions. Although guests are frequently perplexed by his suggestions, they think they are on a business turnaround reality show, not a comedy show, and they always wind up going through with it. The fact that so many small business owneres are willing to appear on “reality” television to help their company says a lot about America’s $US40 billion management consulting industry.
Some of Nathan’s ideas are so ludicrous that they actually work, while many fail for that same reason. The comedy often stems from the business owners and unsuspecting customers’ recations to his tactics, as Nathan himself remains as straight-faced as humanly possible.
Below are five examples of “Nathan for You” business plans that received mixed results:
5. Selling poo-flavored frozen yogurt.The very first episode of “Nathan For You” opens with Nathan pitching to a Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop owner about how he could get more customers in the door if he implemented a “crazy” new flavour that would be so outrageous that people would flock to the establishment just to see the madness for themselves. While it’s not an effective long-term plan, Nathan’s stunt did bring in customers.
4. Rebranding a caricature artists as an insult comic. In an effort to help veteran caricature artist Greg Dohlen make a name for himself, Nathan comes up with a plan to turn him into “the king of sting”, as he believes people want to laugh at themselves. This is one instance where Nathan’s silly scheme actually works, as all of Greg’s customers seem delighted by his offensive drawings.
3. Allowing attractive people to shoplift. In an attempt to put a positive spin on a clothing store owner’s shoplifting problem, Nathan comes up with the brilliant idea of allowing attractive, “trend-setting” people to steal one item. In order to determine who or who is not attractive, Nathan has the store owner and her employees compile a list of attractive traits and hires a security guard to enforce them. Hilarity ensues as the lovably awkward security guard does his best to pick and choose who qualifies as attractive. The idea here, that allowing attractive people to steal will inspire more “less attractive” customers to shop there, is pretty flimsy, so it’s no surprise that it doesn’t really work.
2. “Selling” alcohol to underagers. When a liqour store owner reveals that he turns down a lot of teenagers attempting to buy alcohol, Nathan comes up with a plan that allows the store to legally “sell” alcohol to minors without actually giving it to them. By accepting the sale and putting their purchased booze in a storage room for them to pick up when they turn 21, Nathan has found a loophole that technically allows the store owner to “sell” to teens. Despite Nathan’s best efforts to accomodate the angry customers, this plan angered more patrons than it amused.
1. Staging a fake movie shoot to get people to buy souvernirs. In what may be his masterpiece, Nathan attempts to bring more customers into a struggling LA souvernir shop by setting up a fake movie shoot inside the store. The plan is to offer consumers a role in the film as paying customers and thus trick them into spending their actual money during the shoot. The genius behind this bit is just how far Nathan takes it — to make it appear legitimate, he hires a Johnny Depp impersonator and actually decides to make the movie to avoid potential legal troubles. Nathan’s riotous plan actually works, as tons of excited Depp fans jump at the opportunity to be an extra in the film and shell out real dollars to do so. It truly has to be seen to be believed.
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