Comedy Central Star Reveals He's Behind "Dumb Starbucks," but the Health Department's Not Amused

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 11 2014 9:30 AM

Parody or Not, "Dumb Starbucks" Shuttered By Health Department

468458105-people-wait-in-a-long-line-to-get-into-a-coffee-shop
People wait in a long line to get into a coffee shop named 'Dumb Starbucks' February 10, 2014, in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Two important (relatively speaking, of course) "Dumb Starbucks" developments from yesterday evening:

1.) We now know who was behind the stunt: Nathan Fielder, the Canadian comic best known for his Comedy Central show Nathan For You. Fielder told a crowd gathered outside his "dumb" (and, some might argue, dumb) store yesterday that he had opened it to pursue the "American dream"—before eventually admitting that he planned to use it on his TV show, according to the Associated Press. Here's the video Fielder posted online yesterday as part of the bit:

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2.) While Fielder's legal logic remains in dispute (he maintains that adding the word "dumb" in front of the trademarked name was enough to meet the minimum threshold under laws protecting works of satire and parody), his store is now shuttered thanks to the local health department. USA Today reports that Los Angeles Health Department officials brought an abrupt end to Fielder's press conference yesterday, closing down the Dumb Starbucks for operating without a permit.

For those of you who were lucky enough to miss this story as it was unfolding, Business Insider has the background here.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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