Lines wrapped around the block on Monday in Los Angeles as people waited to get into Dumb Starbucks, a new store that offered everything from dumb brewed coffee to dumb muffins to dumb “Nora Jones” CDs at the counter. Naturally, the Internet starting buzzing with possibilities about who was behind the weirdness (Jimmy Kimmel?) until comedian Nathan Fielder, host of Comedy Central’s “Nathan For You,” stepped forward as the “president and founder.”
“By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are legally allowed to use the coveted Starbucks name and logo because we fulfilled the minimum requirements to be considered a parody under U.S. law,” Fielder said in a video he posted to the @DumbStarbucks Twitter account. According to flyers handed out at the store, it’s all in the name of art, and the shop could be equated to an art gallery.
Though Fielder said in the video that “this is a real business I plan to get rich from,” the health department shut it down almost immediately Monday afternoon. The local ABC7 station reported the store did not obtain valid permits.
Enjoy our full menu of coffees and cold drinks pic.twitter.com/wPacrEEH9k
— Dumb Starbucks (@dumbstarbucks) February 8, 2014
Not to worry — the stunt got plenty of headlines (as well satisfied customers thrilled with the coffee and treats, which were free), and there were apparently plenty of cameras in case the second season of “Nathan For You,” premiering this summer, needs the footage.
Never seen the show? This kind of bit is very representative. On the series, which debuted to raves on Comedy Central last year, Fielder uses his business acumen — and actual business degree — to act as a consultant for struggling companies, coming up with crazy strategies to make money. A couple of his best ideas include:
Boost visitors to the Glen Oak petting zoo by staging an incredible viral video where a baby pig rescues a goat.
Bring customers to a gas station by offering gas for $1.75 with a rebate — at the top of a mountain.
And many more.
He’s also known for his Twitter pranks:
Experiment: text your parents “got 2 grams for $40” then right after “Sorry ignore that txt. Not for you” Then tweet pic of their response.
— nathan fielder (@nathanfielder) April 24, 2013
Experiment: text your parents “If you think u gave someone an STD is it illegal not to tell them? Asking for a friend.” Then tweet response. — nathan fielder (@nathanfielder) June 6, 2013
Experiment: text the person ur dating “I haven’t been fully honest with you” then dont reply to them for 1 hr (& tweet pic of thr response) — nathan fielder (@nathanfielder) May 29, 2013
For now, the Dumb Starbucks Twitter feed has signed off with this:
Los Feliz’s ‘Dumb Starbucks’ shut down for operating without valid public health permit, says County Health http://t.co/eRs8EFSZim
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) February 11, 2014