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Jimmy Kimmel welcomed a fellow prankster to his show Tuesday, when the man behind Dumb Starbucks stopped by for a chat.
Comedy Central’s Nathan Fielder appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss creating the controversial pop-up shop in Los Feliz, Calif., that captivated the Internet over the weekend. The store gave out free coffee to Angelenos at its Hillhurst Avenue location, as well as pastries bought at Vons. But coffee fiends looking for a fix already have missed their chance, as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health shut it down Monday afternoon for operating without a license.
However clever it was, Fielder’s caffeinated hoax could land him behind bars, he revealed when explaining that violating heath department laws can be punishable by jail time.
“Yesterday I did a press conference to talk to the media, meanwhile — and this is totally real — the health department came at that exact moment and shut us down for selling coffee without a health permit,” explained the “coffee magnet,” as Kimmel dubbed him.
“What they don’t understand is that legally, we are an art gallery and the coffee we are selling is considered the art, and galleries don’t need health permits. Also, by not having the health permits and saving those fees, we are able to pass on those savings to the customer,” Fielder said lightheartedly. “It is the same price as Starbucks because we feel we have a brand that is just as solid and our coffee is just as good.”
Although he is still keen to expand his Dumb Starbucks empire and open a second location in Brooklyn, he has some legal hurdles to get over first.
“We have to deal with the health board right now. We had to meet with them today,” explained the comedian. “I really just found this out that the penalty is up to six months in jail — so we are trying to be very nice to them.”
Although it is unlikely that Fielder will be locked up for the joke — which Comedy Central lawyers described as “protected free expression” not trademark infringement against Starbucks — at least he has Kimmel on his side.
“I will put a good word in with the mayor. If they put you in jail, I promise we will all come to visit you,” pledged the warmhearted talk-show host.
Earlier in the interview, Fielder revealed why he decided to don a green apron and start serving java to the crowds, who waited up to four hours for the fake ‘Bucks.
“I have a business background. I have always wanted to open my own business. On my show, I usually help people think out of the box and open their own business, and this one was kind of so good that I wanted a piece of the action myself.
“Starbucks did say some things in the news and to media outlets that weren’t so positive about this. It is fine, and I am operating 100 percent legally using parody law. I don’t appreciate it; I do say that if they continue down this road they risk losing me as a customer. I love Starbucks!
“The reason why this was so popular was because a lot of Americans lost hope that innovation in business was [possible]. It allowed them to dream again,” he added.
Fielder is filming the second season of his Comedy Central show Nathan for You.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs on ABC at 11:35 p.m.
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