Comedian Nathan Fielder has found success with his Comedy Central series Nathan for You, wherein he gives bad-but-funny advice to small business owners. He’s made the biggest media splash, though, with his Twitter pranks. You may remember a few weeks ago when he asked his young fans to text their parents implying that they were buying and/or selling drugs and then reply that the text was sent to the wrong person. Prior to that he suggested his fans send a text to their parents asking if dollar store condoms would work as well as “regular” condoms. But yesterday he took his pranks out of the realm of the parent-child relationship and into the realm of romantic relationships, and the lovers pranked don’t seem to be as forgiving as the parents of silly kids.
Fielder asked fans to “text the person ur dating “I haven’t been fully honest with you” then don’t reply to them for 1 hr (& tweet pic of thr response).” Here are some sample reactions:
There are plenty more, but you get the point. You can check other sites for more screenshots of reactions or just go to Fielder’s Twitter feed. Pranks have never been my thing, and I like to make high-status players the targets of my comedy, so I’m not really into jokes that make vulnerable people weaker, but there are plenty of people out there who said things like, “This is probably gonna ruin some relationships but it’s funny.” I mean, is it funny, though? One kid lamented on Twitter that this prank ended his relationship of two years. So is a quick chuckle or trying to impress your friends – or a comedian you don’t know – worth it? Is that all part of the “social experiment?” Fielder doesn’t have to get his hands dirty, he can just put out a call for people to do these potentially harmful things and get to gloat about who is dumb enough to follow his directive, or does he actually enjoy watching the cringe-worthy responses float in? I don’t know. I don’t know the guy. I do know that if someone texted me “I haven’t been fully honest with you” and then didn’t respond for an hour, I would react the same panicked way most recipients seem to have reacted – though to be fair, some recipients responded “me neither” and used the prank as an opportunity to confess their own deceit.
What do you think? How would you respond to this kind of prank and how do you feel about the imperative to “be good natured” about this kind of thing? I’m such a stickler for no bullshit, I couldn’t deal with someone who was always pulling stunts like this and then making me feel lame for needing to “lighten up.” Ugh. I’ll lighten up when you grow up and when I look at you I throw up, ya heard?