Parody coffee shop ‘Dumb Starbucks’ is a prank

BY Colleen Shalby  February 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM EDT
Dumb Starbucks

Photo of Dumb Starbucks coffee by flickr user Mondale

UPDATED at 12:30 p.m. EST on Feb., 11: Dumb Starbucks made dumb fools of us all.

Comedy Central’s Nathan Fielder is the prankster behind the parody coffee shop. In a faux-serious video posted Monday on YouTube, Fielder walked towards the camera in his Dumb Starbucks apron and revealed himself as owner of the establishment.

Dumb Starbucks managed to stay open in Los Angeles for three days — giving out free Dumb Brewed Coffee to the mass of people who swarmed to its doors — until Monday, when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health shut it down for not having a valid health permit.

The coffee shop claimed that it was legally open under “parody law.”

“By adding the word ‘dumb,’” Dumb Starbucks stated in their FAQ, “We are technically ‘making fun’ of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use.’”

Not quite legal after all. Laurel Harper, spokeswoman for Starbucks Corp., told FoxNews.com, “While we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”

The jury’s still out on whether or not this was a genius prank or a dumb idea.