UPDATE: Looks like Angelenos will have to get their Dumb Caffeine fix elsewhere. The Los Angeles County Health Department has shut down Dumb Starbucks for operating without a valid public health permit.
Dumb Starbucks: About as dumb as you thought it was.
The parody coffee shop that opened to much social media fanfare in Los Angeles over the weekend turns out to be a stunt from the creators of “Nathan for You,” an American docu-reality comedy television series starring Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder (pictured, above) that’s coming up on its second season.
The store, which announced itself Friday with only a tweet, opened with all the trimmings of a regular Starbucks — just with the word “dumb” in front of everything, right down to a CD of “Dumb Norah Jones” songs. Starbucks later confirmed that it was in no way affiliated with Dumb Starbucks, and said it was “evaluating next steps” for dealing with the parody.
With no official explanation as to its reason for being, the store blew up on Twitter and elsewhere, and not just because they were serving free coffee and pastries all weekend, for which some people reportedly waited up to an hour. Initially, the store said only that it was “making fun” of Starbucks, calling its coffees works of “parody art.” And who doesn’t love a good mystery prank?
That mystery unraveled a bit early Monday when it was reported that the comedy production company Abso Lutely Productions, producers of “Nathan for You” and run by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, had pulled filming permits for the location, fueling speculation that Fielder’s show was somehow involved.
Fielder strolled out in a barista uniform for a 4 p.m. press conference that was part explanation, part comedy — on the one hand, he explained that the health department had showed up, while on the other he said the plan is to “keep going and keep expanding forever,” including a store he said will open in Brooklyn in the coming days.
Not long after, he posted a video on YouTube (above), claiming that the word “dumb” puts them safely in parody territory — adding that it’s not a comedy bit, but “a real business I plan to get rich off of.”
We’ll see about that.