Nathan For You (2013) s04e01 Episode Script

The Richards Tip

1 Synced My name is Nathan Fielder, and I graduated from one of Canada's top business schools with really good grades.
Now I'm using my knowledge to help struggling small business owners make it in this competitive world.
This is "Nathan for You.
" Mmm mmm mmm.
Look at this food.
You want it, right? Well, you can't have it unless you pay a visit to Joe K's Deli Restaurant in the small town of Vernon, California.
But lately, owner Steve Mullen has been struggling to draw in customers from the rest of L.
People are not aware of us anymore.
So we need something new.
We need We need exposure.
The problem could be that the last piece of press they got was from an unknown news journal published over a decade ago.
So I decided to pay Steve a visit with a plan to change that.
I do watch that program on TV with, um What is it, "Dine and Drive"? What is it? Oh, "Diners, Drive-ins, and Drives"? Yeah, yeah.
That's a That's a good show.
Well, you know this isn't that show, right? - Yeah, I know it's not.
- Okay, yeah.
- That's Guy Fieri.
- Yeah, that's right.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
- Um, it's okay.
- You have to contact them, no? - I - How to get on - "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives"? - Yeah, yeah.
I don't know how to get on that show.
Well, you came through.
So let's see You know, I'd be very happy to work with you to get this thing promoted.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
One thing I've noticed that always gets restaurants press coverage is when a celebrity leaves a bit tip.
If we were to get an impersonator to pose as a celebrity and leave a $10,000 tip at Joe K's Deli, the real celebrity would never deny it was them because it make them look so good and Joe K's would instantly become the talk of the town.
Yeah Steve was excited about my plan to get him to get him some new press, but to pull off the illusion of a major star leaving a giant tip, I would need a celebrity impersonator who was completely convincing.
So I held an open audition to see if anyone had the goods.
Do not go in there.
Whoo! Yikes.
Well, all righty then.
So are you a Jim Carey impersonator or an Ace Ventura impersonator? I guess, uh, I'm more focused towards Ace.
Um, but I'm a little bit of Jim Carey overall.
With all the talent that came in, it was hard to decide who would be best for this critical role.
If you live like that Blood runs cold So once the auditions were done, I brought the footage to Joe K's to see who Steve liked the most.
He doesn't look like Bill Gates.
When I founded Microsoft I don't think this guy will work.
Steve turned out to be a pretty tough audience.
Can you feel it? Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! - No.
- And of the dozens of options I showed him, he seemed to only connect with one.
Jerry, I'm pleading with you.
I-I like this guy.
- Kramer from "Seinfeld"? - Yes.
The guy was a dead ringer for Michael Richards who played Kramer on "Seinfeld.
" I was a little concerned about his relevance.
Do you think he might be a little bit dated? Maybe, but a lot of people know him.
But Steve loved him, so we officially decided that Michael Richards would be the celebrity leaving the tip and later that week, I had our impersonator meet me at a rehearsal space I rented so we could run through the plan.
Is this something you do full-time, or Well, I was for a while I was doing it a lot.
I was doing it a lot and then when Michael When Michael Richards When he had his little problem, like after The Comedy Store Right.
My persona was for a little while, - corporately non gratis.
- Right.
I know Michael Richards is a great guy.
I know he's not racist.
I began by asking Ostrow to walk me through how he would leave a large tip at a restaurant as Michael Richards to be sure his performance was realistic.
And whenever you're ready.
[DOOR SLAMS] [CHAIR CLATTERING] [SLAPS] It was clear right away that we had some work to do.
I think it might be a little bit too big.
Remember, people need to believe you're Michael Richards, - not Kramer.
- Oh.
- Got it.
- Okay.
But after hours of rehearsal, it felt like we were getting closer to a believable performance.
- A lot better.
- That's what I do.
But to pull off this tip under the scrutiny of the media, the details would matter.
It seemed like the centerpiece of every celebrity tipping story is a photo of the transaction receipt with the celebrity's full name and account number on it.
If we fake the receipt, there's a chance a nosy journalist could verify the transaction and expose the fraud.
So if we really wanted it to appear real, We'd have to use a bank card that was owned by someone with the same name as our celebrity.
So I started calling every Michael Richards listed the local white pages to ask for permission to borrow their bank card for a one-time transaction they'd be fully reimbursed for.
- and for - But unfortunately, none of them would help me out.
Ok hello? Mr.
Richards? For a moment, I thought I was all out of options, but then it occurred to me that if we could find someone who was willing to temporarily change their legal name to Michael Richards, we'd be able to open up a bank account on their behalf and get the debit card we needed to make the transaction real.
And after posting several ads, we finally got a response.
- What's your full name? - Robert Paul Holmes.
So can I ask why you wanna change your name? I've been Paul for a long time.
Since I was a kid, uh, I think probably five.
Um my family started calling me by my middle name and it just stuck.
So you just wanted - to be Paul Holmes? - Yeah.
Okay, for this project, I'm willing to pay you - Mm-hmm.
- To change your name - to Michael Richards.
- Okay.
[LAUGHS] Why? We're trying to make it seem like a man by that name left a big tip at a restaurant.
- Okay.
- And for that I'd be willing to pay you $1,000.
[LIGHTLY CHUCKLES] Uh, what's going through my brain right now is the huge pain in the ass this is.
You know? Uh and I'm thinking if $1,000 is worth it.
Um I mean, is this a yard sale? Can I counter offer with some money? What amount do you feel comfortable with? 14's in my head.
I like it.
Uh, you can counter offer with 12.
Whatever man, you know? Give me anything over 1,000 and I'll think that I win.
- So, like, $1,001? - Mm-hmm.
- You'd be happy with that? - Yeah, sure.
So, she we do $1,001? Sure.
- I mean, is that - Mm-hmm.
- As long as you're happy.
- I am happy.
I just wanna make sure you're happy with that.
Okay, well, it was great negotiating with you.
- Yeah, good.
- I'm an easy negotiator, man.
- Yeah, great.
- Yeah.
- Well thank you.
- Absolutely.
After settling on an amount that we are both happy with, I had Paul fill out the legal paperwork that was required to begin the name change process.
But that's when I realize we had a big problem.
To complete a name change in California, you're legally obligated to publically announce the change in a newspaper of general circulation for four weeks in a row.
If anyone suspected that the Michael Richards tip was fake, finding this name change in the paper would be their smoking gun.
I tried calling my legal advisor Judge Anthony Filosa to see if there was any way around this.
You have to publish it? You can't just change your name secretly? But unfortunately, there wasn't.
So I felt like the only way to do this while maintaining our secrecy was by creating a newspaper that no one would ever read.
My hope was that by calling it "The Diarrhea Times," no one would ever want to pick it up, but to ensure our publication seemed legitimate to the courts, I rented us an office space in a media building downtown and hired a professional ghost writer named Austin Bowers who once wrote me an entire book in less than a week, to serve as the paper's Editor-in-Chief.
You ever been the editor of a newspaper before? Nope, this'll be the first time.
The paper would obviously need content and it seemed like Austin had a big vision.
Um definitely wanna include lots of topics: um, business, arts, politics.
Draw lots of people in and they'll come.
They'll read.
They'll share.
Right? Just make sure there's a section for name change announcements? Okay? - Right.
- I felt a little bad for Austin that no one would be reading this newspaper, but hopefully, it will be a valuable experience for him that would lead to future opportunities.
So after having him introduce himself to the other tenants in the building, to add to the paper's legitimacy I'm the Editor-in Chief of "The Diarrhea Times.
" - We're new in the building.
- Uhhuh? Austin got to work and a few days later, I was excited to learn that our first edition was complete.
Your lead story is a movie review of "Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist"? Yup, it is my favorite movie of all time.
- Really? - Mm-hmm.
I feel like how they came together was kinda beautiful.
I'd like to find something like that one day.
- Are you single? - I am.
What about you? Yeah, I'm single.
- You wanna see the - Yeah, let's see what else you got.
Austin walked me through the rest of the paper which included articles on entertainment, current events, and even a section for political cartoons that he drew himself.
That supposed to be Donald Trump? - Yes.
- And after including the name change announcement in the bottom corner of page three, next to an op-ed about "Zelda Symphony," the first issue was ready to print.
So you're gonna start working on the next issue? - Yes.
- Okay, awesome.
So after receiving thousands of copies back from the printer, we circulated our inaugural issue of "The Diarrhea Times" to the dozens of distribution partners we had set up around L.
Meeting the minimum requirements to be recognized by the courts as a legitimate publication.
Since California law dictates the name change be published for four weeks in a row, over the next month, Austin wrote three more issues with the name change announcement in each that were made publically available to L.
So with all the legal requirements now met, Robert Paul Holmes was given a date to appear at the L.
Superior Courthouse where his name change to Michael Richards was approved.
Here I am.
I am officially Michael Richards.
Which is weird and again, I'm not relating to it that much, but time will tell, I guess.
With his new identification, he was now able to open a bank account under the name Michael Richards and receive a Visa/debit card that would hopefully stand up to media scrutiny when our impersonator left the tip.
Now, all we had to do was fund the account with the money we needed for the transaction.
Because the production has limited cash on hand, I decided to borrow the $10,000 for the tip from the bank account of a Holocaust Awareness Charity that I started knowing that I'd get it back from the restaurant once the tip was complete, but when I called up Michael to schedule a time to make the deposit, he casually brought up that the last time he had handled this much cash was when he stole it from someone.
So what was the charge? Okay.
Michael told me that he was once involved in an armed robbery and even though the crime occurred almost a decade ago, I became very concerned that once the money was in his account, he'd be tempted to take it and flee.
After all, if this guy changed his name to Michael Richards for $1,001, I couldn't imagine what he would do for 10,000.
So, as you know, I'm gonna be, like, - depositing $10,000 cash - Yup.
- Into your account.
- Uh-huh.
And, uh, I was just thinking, like, after the the call we had where you where you told me you had committed, uh - armed robbery - Oh, yeah.
- Yeah.
- [LAUGHS] - I was a little nervous - Yeah.
- Just about - Makes sense.
- And I trust you.
- Cool.
Like, I trust you.
I know it was a long time ago.
- Yeah.
- But I was thinking, just if it makes me, like if it makes it a little bit safer, um would you be comfortable just being handcuffed to me until tomorrow when we I actually do the tip? No.
Wait, what? [LAUGHS] So you want me to be handcuffed to you for 24 hours? I mean, just 'cause the money will be in your account.
Ah, I got ya.
I got ya.
I got ya.
I got ya.
I'm having a hard time following.
So we're gonna deposit the money and then I'm gonna handcuff myself to you - Yeah.
- So I don't leave and go take - that shit out.
- Exactly.
- I'm following you now.
- Yeah.
We'd be handcuffed before we go in.
Just like right now.
- I mean - Sure.
You know, I don't have anything going on today.
- [BLEEP] it.
- I mean, I definitely want you to be comfortable with it.
Yeah, yeah.
I think it's a weird request, but now that you explained it a little more, I understand where you're coming from and I get the logic.
- Yeah.
- Totally get the logic.
- Cool.
- And yeah, again, sure.
Yeah, it would just make me feel more comfortable.
- Cool, man.
- After a bit of convincing, Michael Richards agreed to be handcuffed to me for a full 24 hours until the tipping plan was completed the following day.
It might be best if we do it in a way where it we can make it look like we're just holding hands so it doesn't look suspicious, you know? - 'Cause we're going into a bank.
- Sure.
And once Michael was locked in beside me, it was time to head out to make the deposit.
Entering a bank handcuffed to another man is a very risky maneuver, so I was hopeful people would just see us as two close friends making a deposit together.
- Thank you, man.
- Thanks.
Oh, hanging out.
Enjoying the the clouds.
- Mm-hmm.
- Good.
Yeah, you as well.
- Thank you.
- See ya.
Thank you.
And with that, the account was fully funded.
But since I needed to stay handcuffed to Michael until noon tomorrow when the tip was scheduled to take place, I booked us adjoining hotel rooms for us to spend the night.
So once inside, I switched our traditional handcuffs for some custom ones I had made with an extra-long chain so we'd be able to have our own space so I could be sure he wouldn't run off in the middle of the night.
Have a good night.
You, too, my friend.
It was a little uncomfortable at first, but after we each negotiated a fair amount of slack, I was able to go to bed knowing that Michael and my Holocaust money wasn't going anywhere.
After a night of subpar sleep, it was time for the big day.
So I unlocked myself from the cuffs and secretly snuck out without telling Michael I had left I then met up with our Michael Richards impersonator near Joe K's Restaurant to give him the debit card he'd be using for the transaction.
So you feel good about all this? I'm good.
I'm ready.
Let's make it happen.
Giddy up! Okay.
Um Just remember, you're Michael Richards, - not Kramer.
- Yeah.
- Right? Got it? - Yeah.
Okay, great.
All right.
Before Joe K's open that day, my crew had set up cameras throughout the diner so I could monitor everything that happened from a surveillance van down the block.
So with the lunch rush in full swing, it was time for Michael Richards to arrive.
The plan was for customers to take notice once the tip happened in the hopes word would spread to the local press so I instructed our impersonator to keep a low profile at first and order whatever dish he felt the real Michael Richards would have.
Okay, you all ready, sir? - I believe I am.
- Okie dokey.
What we having today? Mmm All right, I'm gonna go - veggie melt.
- Okay, one veggie melt.
The staff was fully prepped on what was about to happen and we went through extensive rehearsals to make sure everything ran like clockwork.
I'm gonna go we're gonna go with the vegetaria the veggie melt.
Okay, one veggie melt.
But the only thing that really mattered was the tip.
So to ensure the signature on the receipt would be authentic, I had a light box built into the back of one of the restaurant's check holders with a traceable overlay of Michael Richard's actual signature that I found online.
So once he was done eating, and the restaurant ran the card, it was time for the pivotal moment of my plan.
Thank you very much.
Glad you enjoyed your lunch.
You have a wonderful, wonderful day and a great weekend as well.
And my heart was racing as our impersonator filled in the largest tip to ever be left on a $14.
00 sandwich.
[DRAMATIC MUSIC] And after having him exit quietly, it was time for Steve's server to execute the surprise reaction we had rehearsed so many times.
Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.
$10,000 tip? Are you kidding me? Steve, Linda.
What is it? - God.
$10,000 tip.
- That says $10,000.
- No way.
What? - A $10,000 tip.
- That's crazy.
- Who is this guy? - $10,000? - It was Kramer.
I think it was Kramer from "Seinfeld.
" Michael Richards? Michael Richards? - Yeah.
- The staff's performances were flawless and our waiter made a huge point of ensuring that everyone in the restaurant knew about the generous tip.
I couldn't believe it, man.
It was Mike It was Kramer from "Seinfeld.
" - Yeah.
- Oh, my God.
Michael Richards.
The guy Kramer from "Seinfeld.
" - Oh! - Just ate I was hopeful this would be enough for word to spread to the local media.
And lucky for us, it was.
This next story is so wild it might belong in a "Seinfeld" episode, and it apparently involves a cast member from that hit TV show.
A waiter at Joe K's Deli in Vernon received a $10,000 tip on Friday night from Michael Richards who played Kramer on "Seinfeld.
" Customers took some photos there.
Claimed the waiter was so happy they thought he was actually gonna cry.
While the story is not verified, the customers insist it was Cosmo Kramer himself - who left that very generous tip.
- I love it.
I had delivered on my promise to put Joe K's Deli back in the spotlight and when I returned the next day, Steve couldn't have been happier.
You came like an angel and, uh - [LAUGHS] - An angel? Really? Angel, yes.
And with all the press coverage they got, I was sure business would be booming for a while.
"Seinfeld" Michael Richards leave $10,000 tip.
- Yeah.
- Perfect.
I can't make it out.
What's that? "The Diarrhea"? I had decided to keep "The Diarrhea Times" open for one final issue so that Austin's work could be displayed proudly in a place of honor.
But it still wasn't easy to say good-bye.
Well, I had a lot of fun here.
Well, maybe we could, like get a beer sometime or something.
Or a tea.
Mm, that'd be cool.
- All right, see ya around.
- All right.
- Pleasure working with you.
- Yeah.
- All right.
- Okay, bye, Austin.
[SOMBER MUSIC] Absolutely.
Somebody stop me! Hold on, sugar, daddy's got a sweet tooth tonight! Great.