Nathan Fielder’s brand of comedy Oddball has made its Canadian debut

With HBO Repetition, comedian Nathan Fielder has proven himself to be no mere one-trick pony, but rather a gifted impresario of the high-concept/surprisingly deep misleading comedy series. Fielder’s first headlining project, Comedy Central’s Nat for youpresented itself as an opportunity for failing companies to reinvent themselves under his leadership and build on his career as a business school graduate. Repetitionwhich ended its first season in August 2022 and was renewed for a second shortly thereafter, went even further, allowing individuals to perfect an encounter or event laden with uncertainty, crafted in advance to the smallest details by Fielder’s expert attorney. and Hollywood glare.


In reality, both series relied on the interactions between host Fielder and his patrons. More often than not, this manifested as a willingness by the latter to indulge and wrongly accept Fielder’s bizarre suggestions and storylines. Nat for you, for example, saw Fielder create a gas discount promotion that could only be redeemed on a mountaintop, and then created a group with a smoke detector in the set to have it reclassified as an instrument for lower shipping rates. At all points though, Fielder’s lonely and amorous search for greater connection remained pervasive. While his particular comedic mix of deadpan and uncanny sincerity could be assumed to have come into its own with Nat for youhe starts a bit earlier than that in a long-running comedy series from his native Canada.

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Nathan Fielder got his start in his native Canada

Premiered in 1993 at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), This hour has 22 minutes was a collaboration of hosts Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh, a sequel to their CBC Codco comedy sketch series. The title is a play in the short-lived 1960s CBC news program This hour has seven daysthe long-running series acts as a Canadian equivalent of Comedy Central‘s latest fake news program The daily show, but with sketches and monologues alongside his satirical political commentary. Mercer, a writer for Codco before becoming an on-air personality for the new series, garnered international attention with his “Talking to Americans” segments, before eventually leaving the show in 2003 for his own. The Rick Mercer Report (which also predates the similar title The Colbert Report).

The genesis of Fielder’s membership This hour has 22 minutes – as told via the long-closed Grantland website before Nat for youthe second season of – started with the former 22 minutes showrunner Mark Farrell finding several of his comedy sketches online during the birth of YouTube and asking at the time-canadian idol writer/producer if he had more to share. Fielder joined the series for its 15th season in 2007 as a consumer advocate in the “Nathan On Your Side” segment. Speaking to Toronto’s NOW magazine before nathan for you For his 2013 debut, Fielder explained his penchant for the mundane rather than the sensational: “I liked that idea of ​​being mundane: not a hard-hitting lawyer who wants to expose criminal activity. For the purchase of a mp3 player ?’ ten years after the release of the technology.”

After two years of 22 Minutesduring which Fielder was assigned to host Comedy Network’s coverage of the 2008 presidential election for Nathan Fielder’s American Election Specialhe found himself moving south of the Canadian border in 2010 for a stint as writer and director for the second season of Important things with Demetri Martin. The following year, Fielder appeared as an on-air personality on Jon Benjamin has a van, a short-lived series featuring Bob’s Burgers star. In 2012, Fielder launched Nat for you as a follow-up to “Nathan On Your Side”, using the segments to set the tone for the eventual series. Meeting with resounding praise and occasional buzz-worthy moments, Fielder ended the series after four seasons despite Comedy Central’s interest in additional episodes.

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Fielder eventually ended up in the United States

Signed a development agreement with HBO in 2019, his next series, Repetition, was announced in 2021 and debuted the following summer. While Fielder’s earlier television work held on to a recognizable semblance of reality with his withdrawal as host emphasizing the client du jour, Repetition made it clear from the start that its creator and star had risen to puppeteer status while trying to better understand himself. Fielder’s spontaneously brilliant introduction to the pilot’s first client was revealed in a short time to have been planned well in advance with a double actor, on a replica of the soundstage from the client’s apartment, setting the tone. for what was to come.

A singularly inventive comic with an ability to reveal new nuances when you least expect them, the scale, and the often unnecessarily extravagant expense, of Repetition contrasts sharply with his humble beginnings on This hour has 22 minutes. As Repetition is a grander and more introspective undertaking than Nat for you, the latter is also compared to “Nathan On Your Side”, each a step forward in the comedic evolution of Fielder. And despite being relatively neglected in his oeuvre, “Nathan On Your Side” remains a staple for those eager to see what he comes up with next.