In another loss for the free press, thriftyboy.org is no more. Also — it never really existed. In the first episode of Nathan Fielder’s new HBO series, The Rehearsal, the
Stanford Prison Experimenter comedian creates a fake blog called Thrifty Boy to gain access to his first participant Kor’s friend and trivia teammate Tricia. The plot of the episode hinges on Kor rehearsing a confession he wants to make to Tricia, to whom he lied about having a master’s degree. To make the rehearsal feel accurate, Fielder needs an actress to stand in for Tricia. The real Tricia runs a blog called Cheap Chick in the City, where she posts about free and affordable activities and cultural events around New York. So naturally, Fielder decides the best way to get in touch with the titular Cheap Chick is to invent his own frugal blogger character: Thrifty Boy.
The Rehearsal, like Nathan for You, involves Fielder coming up with needlessly complicated ways to achieve his goals, so he reaches out to Tricia to write a Thrifty Boy guest post interviewing a bird-watcher (“because bird-watching is a thrifty thing to do”) played by the actress who needs to study the real Tricia’s voice and responses in order to perform her rehearsal with Kor. Fielder later uses his blogger guise to gain the answers to an upcoming trivia night (and, secondarily, to stunt in the thriftiest drip he could find while downing a ketchup packet).
In an inspiring commitment to the bit, Fielder and his team created an entire Thrifty Boy website, or at least a landing page, which is hilariously, inexplicably a “.org.” When you go to the page, there’s a pop-up written by “The Thrifty Boy Team” announcing the closure of the site:
To our loyal Thrifty Boy readers …
It is with great sadness that we announce Thrifty Boy is shutting down due to lack of funding.
Across the industry, financial pressures have made it increasingly difficult to do good journalism. We are proud of what we have achieved in our short tenure and are incredibly grateful to our talented team of freelancers for making us a hub for thrifty New Yorkers.
Thank you to all our loyal readers. We ask that you please support other publications dedicated to providing information about free and cheap activities. Journalism is dying and we need to support it now more than ever.
— The Thrifty Boy Team
“Democracy Dies in Darkness” vibes. Luckily, Thrifty Boy (tagline: “Do NY. Cheap.”) has been frozen in amber with nine article posts on the home page that read like a ClickHole side project. You can’t actually click through to the articles, but you can scroll through the headlines and article teasers. In a beautifully thrifty touch, each post is accompanied by an iStock photo with the watermark still there. Here are the site’s greatest, and only, hits:
- Birdwatching: Free and Fun Learn about where to see birds and the best way to look at them.
- Send it Back — Your Guide to Free Dining Know your rights! Can a waiter arrest you?
- Friends owe you money? Don’t let it slide No amount is too small — how hold your friends accountable.
- Our Guide to Confusing a Normal Driver for an Uber then Negotiating a Free Ride Once You’re in the Back Seat Worth it when it works.
- How to reuse greeting cards (and get away with it!) Birthdays, weddings, graduations, condolences — with so many life events, the costs can really add up!
- Never Pay for Toilet Paper Again Tutorial from our digital team.
- Best New Movie Posters to Check Out this Weekend Our critics’ guide to the most entertaining posters — plus the latest must-see billboards.
- How Moldy is Too Moldy? We’ve all been there. A perfectly good piece of bread with a splotch or two of the green fuzzy stuff.
- Top 10 NYC Walks Walking is one of the best ways to get around and see the sights NYC has to offer.
We get why they didn’t keep the site going for kicks. Web hosting, after all, isn’t cheap. But if the internet had fewer crypto bros and more thrifty boys, it would be a better place.