In the contemporary entertainment landscape, audiences are largely uninterested in comedy that works in favor of the comedian. There’s nothing less funny than a cool comedian. There have been times throughout history when entertainers successfully crafted content that targeted an outside source for ridicule and scorn. However, modern audiences are likelier to laugh at self-deprecation than insult comedy.
One comedic talent who is always comfortable being the butt of the joke is Nathan Fielder. He has spent the decade since the release of his first television program, Nathan For You, completely committed to his role as an awkward individual. In his recently released HBO Max series, The Rehearsal, he takes this character to new heights. The show, which purports to help individuals navigate difficult everyday realities, has already proven to be every bit as hilarious and uncomfortable as Fielder’s previous comedic offerings.
In the first episode of the series, Fielder created a to-scale fake bar in order to prepare a client to reveal a long-held secret to a friend. In the second episode, he employed infant actors to help a single woman prepare herself for motherhood, all the while maintaining his socially maladroit persona.
Here are some of the ways in which The Rehearsal cements Nathan Fielder as the undisputed king of cringe.
His Nathan For You Business Marketing Background
The spiritual predecessor to The Rehearsal is Nathan for You, another show created by Nathan Fielder. In Nathan For You, Fielder attempted to revitalize struggling businesses through all manner of ridiculous marketing ploys, which included, but were not limited to: offering feces-flavored yogurt, creating a thinly-veiled parody of a popular coffee conglomerate, and putting on a fake play to circumvent a statewide Californian smoking ban.
If The Rehearsal had never been made, Nathan For You would have been enough to cement Nathan Fielder as the king of cringe. However, the newly released series is able to build upon the comedic world of its predecessor and represents the absolute apex of Nathan Fielder’s comedic styling.
Mapping Out Conversations in Their Entirety
Nothing in The Rehearsal is left up to chance. Nathan Fielder has proven himself to be a meticulous individual before. In Nathan For You, he always planned his various business marketing ploys in incredible detail in order to stay several steps ahead of any outside forces that might disrupt his plans and disrupt the success of an episode’s comedic content. However, nothing in Nathan For You could have prepared HBO Max audiences for how deeply scripted The Rehearsal is.
In the first episode, it is quickly revealed that the show contains a meta element surrounding Fielder’s interactions with the individuals he is attempting to assist. Nathan Fielder, or rather, his awkward on-screen character, leaves no stone unturned as he plots out and practices nearly every conversation he has on the show prior to actually having it. While Fielder’s character suggests that this is simply to assure the success of his experiments, it also serves to deepen the lore of his character’s awkwardness.
Nathan Fielder’s Ability to Attract Fellow Awkward Individuals
At times in both The Rehearsal and its spiritual predecessor, Nathan For You, there are individuals who fit so naturally into the uncomfortable reality that Nathan Fielder creates that audiences are forced to question whether or not they are actors.
Fielder has fully committed to his role as a cringe individual. Throughout nearly a decade of time spent as an entertainer, there have been very few moments that audiences can point to where the comedian has shown cracks in his stoic facade. However, it is arguably more impressive how talented Fielder is at attracting real-life folks who fit into his show’s comedic tone.
It is possible that some of the individuals on both The Rehearsal and Nathan For You are simply reacting to Fielder’s awkward persona. Additionally, anyone who would seek out a simulation to prepare for a real-life situation likely has some level of offbeat awkwardness within them. However, a lot of the praise for attracting individuals that mesh with the show’s zany antics should be given to Fielder himself, as well as the talented crew of creatives he has surrounded himself with. Much of The Rehearsal’s humor comes from the discomfort of its participants, and Fielder manages to exude such cringe-worthy energy that it seemingly infects all those around him.
Nathan Fielder is undoubtedly the king of cringe, and The Rehearsal only further proves that point. Audiences can only speculate which real-life situations the series will grapple with in future episodes. However, there is little doubt that Fielder will continue to have audiences dying of laughter as his awkward persona combines with The Rehearsal’s utterly ridiculous meticulousness.