In the past, Nathan Fielder has been celebrated for his scrupulous commitment to character. But prior to his November 17 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with Emma Stone to promote their new Showtime series The Curse, little did even his biggest fans know how deep his previous commitment to character has been. Swaggering out from behind the curtain in a black trench coat, baggy jeans, army boots, brimless baseball cap, and a dangly cross earring (and later, an unlit cigarette he sucked on to try “to get as much tobacco air as I can”) Fielder proceeded to reveal his “true self” publicly for the first time ever. It turns out the uptight, buttoned-up fellow we’ve seen him portray in the past, even during past appearances on Kimmel’s show, was a character all along. This fellow? This apparent New Kids on the Block devotee who has just embraced new jack swing? This is who Fielder is off-camera. “This is the Nathan I met,” Stone assured an incredulous Kimmel.
But Kimmel isn’t the only skeptic Fielder is out to convince. The reason he’s decided to drop his method act now, he explained to Kimmel, is because a recent review of The Curse published the New York Times referred to him as a “limited, stiff actor,” and he believes they would have never come to that conclusion if only they’d seen the “real” him and how much of a departure his character is. He forced Stone to read a glowing text message she sent him about his acting chops, then asked Kimmel to “do him a solid” and call the “paper of record” to convince them to issue a correction. After taking out his phone encased in a gothic Hello Kitty protective cover, Fielder called the appropriate line so Kimmel could leave a message — carefully scripted by Fielder himself — which included insights like, “I happen to know Nathan personally, and he’s one of the loosest guys I’ve ever met.”
“Loose” or not, one thing Fielder refuses to abide is poor journalism standards. “They’ve been going downhill for a while,” he said of the Times. “I sort of get actually that they would make a mistake like this, because, I mean, their coverage of, you know, even Trump has been so negative.” We’ll know journalism has returned to its former glory if and only if Fielder is lauded appropriately for whatever transformative role he loses himself in next.