‘The Rehearsal’: How Real Is Nathan Fielder’s Show?

HBO’s new series, The Rehearsal, seamlessly combines comedy and reality TV. Nathan Fielder is known for his work on the Comedy Central series Nathan For You. And he’s the brain behind the new show that allows people to rehearse real-life scenarios in a funny — and absurd — way. So, is The Rehearsal real? Here’s what we know.

Is ‘The Rehearsal’ real? Nathan Fielder’s new show takes comedy and reality TV to a new level

Nathan Fielder in 'The Rehearsal'
Nathan Fielder in ‘The Rehearsal’ | HBO

HBO’s The Rehearsal is unlike anything of its kind. The show involves creator Nathan Fielder directing rehearsals of peoples’ lives. The trials involve serious stage setups and additional actors. Fielder has real people come to him with a query — maybe they need to admit a lie to a friend, or they need to prepare for a big change in the future. Fielder presents these people with every possible scenario they may encounter, and his subjects run through the scenarios in these elaborate sets with actors repeatedly.

So, is The Rehearsal real? The show has scripted moments, of course. But the reactions from the people going through the rehearsals of their lives appear authentic. While HBO won’t reveal exactly what’s real and what’s not, fans can take a look at Fielder’s other show, Nathan For You, for answers.

The Cinemaholic notes Fielder insisted that only his character in Nathan For You was scripted, and everything else happened organically. A few businesses on the show ran into legal trouble due to their involvement, solidifying the idea that Nathan For You was as natural as possible.

With this in mind, it seems The Rehearsal took the same approach. Fielder enters the show hoping to recreate everyday, ordinary scenarios for ordinary people — and the people that Fielder attempts to help are seemingly not given a script to follow. Of course, proper editing happens post-filming to enhance every scenario. But most aspects of The Rehearsal appear genuine.

A Reddit user also noted that Fielder purposely finds people to put on his show who haven’t seen his other work in the past. This enables him to better get away with the bizarre scenarios he puts in front of his subjects.

How many episodes is ‘The Rehearsal’?

Nathan Fielder in 'The Rehearsal'
Nathan Fielder in ‘The Rehearsal’ | HBO

The Rehearsal has six episodes total, and it began airing on HBO on Friday, July 15, 2022. The second episode airs on Friday, July 22, 2022, at 11 p.m. ET.

The first episode of The Rehearsal included a 50-year-old teacher named Kor who responded to Nathan Fielder’s Craigslist ad. What to Watch explains Kor felt guilty about lying about his higher education credentials to those around him — especially those he plays trivia with. Fielder then helps Kor navigate this lie by presenting multiple scenarios in which Kor can come clean.

The first episode also involves a moment of profound self-awareness for Fielder, adding to the genuine, meta nature of the show. Fielder rehearses the conversation with Kor in which he invites Kor on the show using the fake actor who plays Kor. This additional step shows Fielder participates in the show just as much as he narrates and directs it.

Why did ‘Nathan For You’ stop airing?


Issa Rae on Why She’s Not Starring in Her New HBO Max Comedy ‘Rap Sh!t’

Nathan For You was a hit on Comedy Central. So, why did it stop airing?

According to Slash Film, Comedy Central wanted to air Nathan For You Season 5, but Nathan Fielder wanted to end the project and move on. “For the past five years, Comedy Central had the pleasure of working with the brilliant Nathan Fielder on Nathan For You,” the network wrote. “His innovative and quick-witted humor has made the show a comedic touchstone and we’re proud to have been a part of it. We respect Nathan’s decision to end the series and look forward to geeking out over his next project.”

For more on the entertainment world and exclusive interviews, subscribe to Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s YouTube channel.