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“Smokers Allowed” is the fifth episode of Season 3 of Nathan For You.  The Comedy Central series revolves around Nathan Fielder’s supposedly wondrous consulting acumen—but which really translates as his ability to turn ludicrous and asinine business ideas into pure comedic gold. This time, Nathan comes up with the brilliant plan to help a bar circumvent their local no-smoking law by inserting two theater chairs in the corner of the bar, thus allowing the smoky scene to exist legally as performance art.  Of course as with many of Nathan’s ruses, by the end of the episode the initial idea has taken on a singular life of its own.

Since the initial two patrons of the first “show” end up enjoying Nathan’s play so thoroughly (despite the suspicious fact that it’s people sitting around and doing absolutely nothing), Nathan decides to go ahead and transcribe the entire night into a script so that it can be recreated for the next night. He also replaces the entire bar scene with actors and actresses, including the discarded bar owner herself (slightly mean spirited but one of the highlights of the episode). What follows isn’t just a mockup of the original night—it’s the same exact thing.  And here, Fielder has once again haphazardly wandered across surreal and ingenious art. We know it’s an especially good work because one audience member is falling asleep while the next is hurriedly rushing out.

Earlier in the episode, the real climax comes when Nathan substitutes himself into one of the bar roles during the auditions. He has the actress look into his eyes and repeat “I love you” over and over, and over—11 times actually, until Fielder appears to start tearing up. An act or not, the scene is brilliant in its effect. For just a moment, we get to feel like we know the sad s.o.b. behind the prankster

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