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See the Civil War general role that Nathan Fielder believes may be his "best performance"

Screenshot: eddie3336 (YouTube)

Before Nathan Fielder the comedian became inexorably combined with Nathan Fielder, the marketing guru who helps businesses achieve greatness on Nathan For You, he mainly worked in the background of shows like Jon Benjamin Has A Van, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Important Things With Demetri Martin as a writer, director, and actor. It’s now time to revisit a remarkable acting role from that era—an unused, between-takes joke from Demetri Martin’s sketch show that sees Fielder play a Civil War general with an extraordinary accent.

In it, Fielder is dressed as a Union soldier with a big handlebar mustache whose accent seems to span the entirety of Western Europe within single words. He tries to rally a handful of troops with an inspiring speech about the many “raisins” they’re fighting the war, but the other soldiers want to know if he’s talking about grapes. “No, the raisin! The raisin you do something!” he yells in frustration. As the clip continues, the pronunciation of “reason” ends up mixed with actual discussions of “raisins” until it just sort of ends with Fielder yelling a blood-chilling battle cry that sounds like someone energetically clearing their throat.

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The clip resurfaced on Twitter yesterday when @GAputney posted it along with an understandable message that she “[thinks] about this video at least once a week.”

Not long afterward, Fielder retweeted the link and explained that it was filmed “between takes” when he, a writer and director on Martin’s 2009-’10 show, was dressed up as an extra for a Civil War-set sketch. Discounting his turn as a scat-singing musician from a couple of years earlier, he says it could, quite possible, be his “best performance.”

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Clearly, as the Civil War general role shows, he must keep doing more work like this. After finishing Nathan For You with a last episode that’s probably impossible to top, the idea of Fielder going on to play new types of characters seems like a good call. Luckily, he’s signed on with HBO for at least two more new projects: a comedy show and a docu-series called How To...With John Wilson. Hopefully somewhere in there, Fielder will find room to play a few characters with delightfully stupid voices.

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.