Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Anybody Have $200 They Want To Lend Me?

If you're not currently watching Nathan For You, you need to remedy that situation post haste. It's one of those shows where the premise sounds terrible, but it's only because all of the comedy comes from the execution. The short version is the show is centered around Nathan Fielder, whom the show's intro assures us graduated from a top Canadian business school with really good grades. As such, Nathan For You is a show about him going to struggling small businesses and reinventing them a la all those reality shows with that exact premise. The hook is that Nathan's advice is uniformly terrible, typically involving incredibly outlandish schemes that result in no business. The humor comes from the time worn observation that people are significantly more willing to do what you tell them, even if it makes no sense, if you have a camera crew with you. Witness last night's genius episode in which a lawyer, ostensibly believing this is just all for the cameras, signs a waiver without reading it, only to be told a short time later he has just signed a legally-binding contract in which he assumes all legal responsibility for anything the show may do (the scene of an actual, accredited lawyer realizing what he's done and physically fighting to get the contract from Nathan is hilarious).

Actually, last night's episodes may have been one of the best half hours of television I've ever watched in my life, which is saying quite a bit given the inordinate amount of time I spend watching television. Last night's episode was the payoff to a bit that captivated the news cycle and internet for a day or two this past year: Dumb Starbucks. It turns out Dumb Starbucks was an idea to drum up business for a struggling local coffee shop by exploiting a loophole in parody law that allows one to use corporate logos as long as they're being made fun of (essentially...I presume the actual law is slightly more complicated than that).

I don't want to spoil too much of what happens, because you should seriously go watch the damn episode this very second. But one small part I will reveal is that Nathan is advised by the hapless lawyer that he has a much stronger claim to parody with Dumb Starbucks if he establishes himself as a parody artist (the logic being people would associate him with parody, thus making his claim of parody in court much more plausible. Kinda like how no one is going to assume Pharrell is the one ripping off Weird Al).

So amongst the many things he does to establish himself as a parody artist, Nathan rents out a space and has an art show of his parody art. Which mostly consists of terrible puns on corporate logos. And now those pieces are up for sale on ebay with the proceeds going to a non-profit that provides education for homeless youth.

Perhaps you're interested in a beautiful TGIFart sign?

Or perhaps a disturbing advertisement for 1906 Flags theme park?

But to me, the piece to win them all, and with the bidding at a mere $177.50 as of this writing, would be the cups and kippas combo of Jamba Jews:

There are very few things a fella actually needs, but I think I may have just found one of them...

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