This weekend Dumb Starbucks opened in my neighborhood. I went and got myself some of their coffee and wrote about the experience; I theorized this was a prank by Nathan Fielder, the genius behind the amazing TV show Nathan For You, and it turns out I was right. Fielder held a press conference at Dumb Starbucks and announced he would be opening a second location in Brooklyn, New York in a few weeks.
When asked about Starbucks making noise about bringing legal action against him Fielder, in his most Nathan Fielder style, replied, “if they keep the pressure up, they do risk losing me as a customer.”
I love Nathan Fielder and I'm so happy to have an actual Dumb Starbucks cup (they eventually ran out and resorted to using cups with stickers on them, instead of truly printed cups). Dumb Starbucks came to an end last night when the LA County Board of Health shut the place down for not having a license to serve food, despite the fact that the store was an 'art gallery' and nobody was paying for the food.
If you haven't watched Nathan For You yet I can only recommend you find episodes immediately. Fielder actually went to business school but has used his marketing skills in the service of comedy; his show has him working with local businesses to implement absolutely absurd ideas to bring them attention and new customers. In perhaps his greatest moment Fielder had a Burbank gas station offer a huge rebate on a tank of gas, but to get it people had to hike to the top of a mountain and sleep out overnight. The amazing thing: SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY DID IT.
What made me think Dumb Starbucks was Nathan Fielder? His comedy has a gentle, absurd edge to it, and the idea of a parody coffee shop that actually likes the product it's parodying (as per the Dumb Starbucks FAQ) is so in line with his style. Nathan For You is sort of a prank show, but it's never mean-spirited - it's always just this side of sweet.