In the ’90s-era picture below, you’ll find Nathan Fielder (third from right) and Seth Rogen (right) with the rest of their high school improv crew — none of whom are famous.
The social-experiment-happy creator of Dumb Starbucks and Nathan for You (which returns for a second season in July) met Rogen in Vancouver’s Point Grey Secondary School. There, he sharpened his improv skills after a couple years of doing comedy and working as a magician at children’s birthday parties.
“He had this deadpan, dry delivery; he was very precise,” Rogen tells the New York Times Magazine of Fielder. “He wouldn’t say anything, then he’d come in at the end with a line that killed — a joke that changed the whole scene or escalated it.”
The NYT Mag profile also quotes Fielder saying that some of his comedy inspiration comes from the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. “Usually if someone gives you a social cue that he feels uncomfortable with something you’ve said, you’ll jump in with a caveat and move on,” Fielder explains. “Everyone’s default state is this pleasantry state. My goal in the show is to undercut that as quickly as possible. If you really do let it sit, it’s sometimes amazing what comes out of people.”
Business strategies Nathan will try in season 2 include selling a toy called a Doinkit, holding a funeral for a fly to help out a pet store, and, of course, Dumb Starbucks. Season 2 premieres July 1st — in the meantime, read the full NYT profile, and check out season 1 via Comedy Central.