Comedy’s most awkward king Nathan Fielder is back with a brand new HBO Max series called The Rehearsal, which as the show’s creepy poster previously revealed, asks the question: “Why leave life to chance?”
Similar to Fielder’s Comedy Central series Nathan For You, which ran on the network for four seasons from 2013 to 2017, The Rehearsal takes real people and puts them into real-life experiments to answer the question of whether or not humans can truly know how life will unfold by preparing for a plethora of different reactions to situations. To accomplish this, Fielder will enlist “a small army of actors” and construction crews to build elaborate sets so that participants can essentially rehearse for life before it happens.
“I’ve been told my personality can make people uncomfortable,” Fielder voiceovers in the trailer. “But I’ve learned that if you plan for every variable, a happy outcome doesn’t have to be left to chance.” As the comedian explains to his various subjects, he himself has rehearsed these conversations dozens of times in a replica of their homes, leaving nothing to fate. But of course, similarly to Nathan For You or even How To with John Wilson, which Fielder likewise executive produces, it’s not hard to see how the primary objective might become lost along the way.
“My goal is for your rehearsal to reflect reality,” Fielder continues, explaining to a room full of actors who have showed up to participate. “With this show, if your performance isn’t accurate, you could ruin someone’s life.”
And like those aforementioned projects, it sounds like Fielder will go all-in on The Rehearsal. “It was a very expensive pilot,” the 39-year-old said in a recent Vulture profile, explaining how his crew painstakingly recreated a Brooklyn bar where a teacher he helps planned to meet up with a friend, right down to the ripped stool cushions. “One of the crew members told me the cost to replicate that bar was probably more than it cost to build the real bar.”
The Rehearsal, which sounds like Fielder’s most ambitious project to date (which is also really saying something) premieres July 15 on HBO Max.