For the past few days, long lines circled around a fully functional coffee shop in Los Angeles called “Dumb Starbucks.” The rogue restaurant was nearly identical to Starbucks in both menu selection and decor, with a crucial difference being that it was dumb: You could order the Dumb French Roast, or the Dumb Chai Tea Latte, or you could purchase a CD of Dumb Norah Jones for the ride home.
Last night, Dumb Starbucks was shut down by the health department, which got to the cafe just before Starbucks’ trademark lawyers. Speculation raged online about who was behind the stunt, with many believing it was some strange Andy Warhol-esque art gag.
Sort of. Comedian Nathan Fielder, the guy behind Nathan for You and some of the best text pranks on the Internet, revealed in a brilliantly deadpan press conference yesterday that he was the president of Dumb Starbucks. Fielder denied the cafe was “a bit or a joke;” he said planned to get rich off the scheme, even though the restaurant gave its coffee away for free. From the LA Times:
Dressed in a green Dumb Starbucks apron, an in-character Fielder told the crowd he’s always wanted to open a small business.
“There have been lines around the block, and very few small businesses get that from the start,” he said, noting that capitalizing on Starbucks’ name helped the business take off.
He did not elaborate on his plans for the store.
Even though L.A. ultimately got sidetracked for days by a publicity stunt, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t line up for an hour for a Dumb Norah Jones tape. Fielder: New York location soon?