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The owner behind the Dumb Starbucks has unveiled himself.
Comedy Central personality Nathan Fielder announced at 4 p.m. Monday that he was behind the parody pop-up store that appeared seemingly out of nowhere over the weekend in a nondescript Hillhurst Avenue location in Los Feliz.
Fielder is currently filming the second season of Nathan for You, in which he plays a version of himself helping struggling business owners by employing funny and unorthodox strategies. He also is famous for encouraging his 104,000 Twitter followers to pull pranks on their friends and family.
Fielder said of the coffee, which is being handed out for free: “We changed up the beans. Usually whatever Ralphs has on sale.”
He added that the Los Feliz location will be open until Friday, and he plans to open another location in New York.
“We’ll see how it goes in Brooklyn,” he said. “This has been overwhelming.”
On Monday, Starbucks responded to the news about the store with a statement: “We are aware of the store — it is not affiliated with Starbucks,” a spokesperson for the coffee chain told THR. “We are evaluating next steps and, while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”
However, Fielder said Monday afternoon that he believes the law is on his side since he’s calling the store a parody. “They’re smart in not pursuing a case they know they can’t win,” he said of Starbucks, quipping: “If they keep the pressure up, they do risk losing me as a customer.”
The announcement came shortly after L.A. conceptual artist Marc Horowitz took credit for the elaborate prank. It’s unclear whether Horowitz and Fielder were working together.
The parody shop has drawn attention to social media, perhaps due to its impeccably rendered versions of the shop sign, menu and coffee cup design.
In a Frequently Asked Questions page seen in the shop, a few basic questions are addressed. The FAQ notes that, despite being a parody store, it also intends to be business-like.
“Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art. So, in the eyes of the law, our ‘coffee shop’ is actually an art gallery and the ‘coffee’ you’re buying is actually the art. But that’s for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!”
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