If you have not yet had the pleasure of being introduced to Nathan for You, you’re in for a treat! The man behind the show, Nathan Fielder, is so wonderfully awkward in his delivery he might just make you pee your pants from laughing so hard.
Last week’s episode “Andy vs. Uber” almost made me do just that.
Warning: lots of spoilers in this post so stop reading if you haven’t seen the episode and don’t like spoilers.
The Comedy Central show opens with an idea to undermine Uber by infiltrating it with a “sleeper cell” of rogue cab drivers, “unleashing total chaos across the globe.”
The reason? Fielder’s cab driver friend Andy believes Uber stole his idea to offer baby onesies to any woman who gives birth in his cab. Andy is convinced the offering is good for business…for some reason.
Fielder comes up with an elaborate plan to throw Uber, which is supposedly onto him, off the trail by hiring a guy he finds on Craigslist to go to Walgreens and get a wad of cash hidden outside in a used drink cup, then use the cash to buy a bunch of burner phones, take those phones to a random dock and put them into a waterproof pouch. He is then instructed to tie a cement block to the pouch and drop it into the water, where Fielder shows up, in full scuba gear, for the pickup.
It makes zero sense, but like all things Fielder, you’re somehow willing to go along with it.
After having obtained the phones (which it’s uncertain are necessary for the operation) both Fielder and his cab driver friend Andy convince a handful of cabbies to join Uber under the guise of wanting to become drivers. The idea? To commit some of the most heinous driver offenses like bad smells in the car and blasting out terrible music.
Fielder then suggests sending out an anonymous-like video to Uber that seems more to suggest this organization is possibly run by terrorists. Andy (and any reasonable person watching, probably) isn’t sure that’s such a good idea.
Of course, to secure his position, Fielder, a Canadian, believes he needs to marry an American to stay in the country and continue to carry out his plan. Realizing he has no romantic prospects, he decides to marry Andy…without Andy’s knowledge.
Fielder takes Andy to a Chinese restaurant where all the food on the menu is gross except the one item that sounds out “I do.” The guy officiating the ceremony conducts it entirely in Mandarin so Andy has no idea what’s going on. I know. It’s insane. It’s so insane! But it’s maybe my favorite part.
Of course, things don’t go according to plan and Andy, now unknowingly married to Fielder, somehow ends up going rogue, dropping his bad driver behavior in search of the perfect five star rating. Andy, essentially, converts to becoming a full-time Uber driver.
Fielder, understandably crushed, begins to wax philosophical.
“Maybe from the start we had been fighting a battle that could never be won,” he says in his most somber voice. “Just like telegraphs had been replaced by telephones and horse and buggies by cars, the free market had again chosen a winner. The real enemy wasn’t Uber. It was progress.”
It was a deadpan delivery only Fielder could give in a way that invites the viewer in on a joke that seems to want to be, on the surface, something serious. You can’t help but laugh.
I often wonder how much of Fielder’s character is made up and how much is more of an exaggeration of himself. But he truly delivers, right down to his khaki dad pants and the way he allows awkward silences to go on too long.
This is one of my favorite shows, made even better when it intersects with the tech industry. If you haven’t yet, please do watch and let me know when you do. Fielder doesn’t get enough credit for his art.