Sorry, fans of animal cuteness. You can’t believe every video on the Internet.
A viral video posted last September that seemed to show a pig rescuing a drowning goat is 100% false. The anonymously posted clip immediately picked up steam and within just 24 hours had millions of views and all the major news shows reporting on it. But it turns out the clip was just a segment for a new Comedy Central show, Nathan for You, a docu-reality series where comedian Nathan Fielder, who previously wrote for Important Things with Demetri Martin and has a marketing and entrepreneurship college background, attempts to help local businesses by using extreme marketing techniques.
“[Other executive producer] Michael Koman and I came up with an idea for a petting zoo [that] was to create a star animal like Shamu at Sea World,” Fielder explained to EW. “Because that would give people a reason to go to a petting zoo, not just to see a normal pig, but a famous pig. So we devised this idea that if we staged a rescue with two baby animals and it happened in water and it was between two species and there was a friendship element in it, that it would be the perfect ingredients for something to get popular….We uploaded it and it just went crazy. I woke up the next morning and it was on Gawker and reddit and everywhere.”
While Fielder said some news channels attempted to contact him through YouTube to determine the validity of the seemingly-impossible rescue, he never responded and everyone collectively just went with it. “I don’t think I have any responsibility to fess up or anything,” he said. “We didn’t try to actively trick the news. We put [a] video on YouTube but what happened from there had very little to do with us so it was fun to watch…the best part was seeing it shared on Facebook, people that I was friends with were posting it just like a normal video. Only the people who worked on the show knew [that it was staged].”
Check out an exclusive Nathan for You promo below, which shows just how much coverage was originally given to this now-known-as-fake video:
But creating fake animal superheroes isn’t all Fielder is getting up to on his business makeover parody show. This season will also feature a haunted house that needs a jolt of publicity. Fielder’s idea is to get someone to sue the haunted house for being too scary – because then everyone would want to check it out. “We basically convince someone they’re going to die for real,” he explained. “That’s a fun one.” Another episode will show Fielder helping create a demand for Santa during the summer, and another will explain to a gas station how they can charge just $1.75 per gallon (Hint: It’s all about the fine print on the rebate form).
Nathan for You premieres tomorrow at 10:30 p.m ET on Comedy Central.