It’s been five years agonizing years since Nathan Fielder closed up shop on his cult Comedy Central series Nathan For You, and since then fans of the cringe comedian have been forced to subsist on shows he worked on off-camera like How To With John Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America?
But Fielder’s new HBO show The Rehearsal, which premiers July 15 on HBO Max, returns him to his rightful place at the center of the action. Details of the show have been kept tightly under wraps for the past year, but a trailer released Wednesday reveals the show is basically a spiritual sequel to Nathan For You. Instead of helping small businesses with his wild schemes, he’s helping people rehearse for key moments in their lives by having them practice them on elaborate stages with a series of actors.
“Everything that’s happened today,” he explains to one participant in the trailer, “I’ve rehearsed it dozens of times in a replica of your home. This is what we can do for you.”
Judging by this brief glimpse, it feels somewhat similar to the 2015 Nathan For You episode Smokers Allowed where he recreated a random evening at a Los Angeles bar with a large cast of actors as part of an elaborate plan to get around a smoking ban. But it will certainly be even more bizarre and go down surreal corridors nobody will be able to participate.
The fourth season of Nathan For You wasn’t billed as the grand finale of the show, but Fielder hinted to Rolling Stone in 2015 that he wasn’t sure he had another one in him. “I think I need to feel like there’s a reason to do a fifth season,” he said. “I always want the show to be good and I want it to feel organic. I don’t want it to just feel like we’re delivering content. That’s why were only do a certain amount each season. We want to make sure everything feels necessary. I want it to feel like a complete story.”