Photo: Comedy Central
To put it mildly, Canadian comic Nathan Fielder has some crazy business ideas. For example, a poo-flavored treat for an yogurt shop and a pizza place that delivers in less than eight minutes, two of the schemes he implements at real businesses in Los Angeles in the upcoming new Comedy Central series “Nathan For You.” While Fielder means well and actually possesses a business degree, his ideas are mostly ridiculous. Not completely — mostly. We spoke with Nathan about the show, all the abuse he took from skeptical customers, and more.
What was your very first job?
I dressed up as a bagel, a big fuzzy bagel and handed out samples outside a shop in Vancouver when I was about 13. The funniest part about the outfit–along with having a circular bagel as the main body, it had basically arms and legs and for some reason the the bagel had kind of clawish hands.
If not the costume, what was the biggest problem you observed as a young bagel?
Probably, the whole bagel handing out bagels concept. That didn’t really work that well. They gave away more bagels than they sold. I also got punched a lot. People would come up and kick me too.
I’m actually surprised the ice cream shop went along with your idea for poo-flavored ice cream.
I didn’t know what he guy would say, but he went along with it. We try to ride that line where we’re not going to get kicked out. I like to seek out nice people trying to run a nice business. In those situations, sometimes you see them not wanting to do an idea, but do because they don’t want to hurt my feelings, which is always a funny dynamic.
Which idea did you have the hardest time selling to an owner?
There’s one later in the season at a place that claims to have the best burger in LA. The owner unwaveringly said it’s the best. I said, “Oh, we should do promotion then where you take one bite, and if you don’t like it we’ll give you $100 cash of your money.” He was very reluctant but I convinced him to do it and then we got on LA’s most popular radio station and announced it. It didn’t play out as bad for him necessarily as it did for me.
Have you heard back from anyone that’s had really positive results based on your advice?
I don’t know if people kept the ideas going or not. My guess is that most were happy to be done. We did drive by one place we filmed that was all boarded up.
Were you usually working with struggling businesses like “Bar Rescue”?
No, our requirement is not that the business is on the verge of collapse. A lot of ideas are not necessarily for places struggling for survival. We’re trying to help them make more money.
Did you get verbally or physically assaulted by anyone in the course of rendering your services?
Not physically abused but I got verbally abused for sure. On several occasions. I’m usually able to handle it from all directions at different times. It’s more often patrons or other people who we encountered, because I’m usually trying to protect the business owners. Most of the people I butt heads with are other people who don’t see the benefits. In almost every episode, there’s an instance where people beat me down in some way.
This is for Guy Code Blog and now I’m wondering if I’ve been ‘guy enough.’ I can give you a swear word if that helps.
Give me your best curse between four and six letters. What have you got?
“Nathan For You” premieres Thursday, February 28 at 10:30/9:30c.