The saga of the “Dumb Starbucks” coffee shop in L.A. continued last night, first with the not-at-all-shocking revelation that the creator is a publicity-hungry comedian and writer and then with the news that the store/parody/stunt/art installation had been shut down by the county for reasons that have nothing directly to do with its use of the Starbucks name.
No, the reason for the shut-down was that Dumb Starbucks — which claimed to be a piece of parodic art and had initially been giving away coffee to customers — was operating without a valid public health permit. Even a parody needs a permit if it wants to give away or sell food to the public.
A closed-door meeting is scheduled to be heard on the matter between the L.A. County Health Dept. and the Dumb Starbucks owner, who outed himself to the public last night as Canadian comedian and writer Nathan Fielder, who has written for shows like Jon Benjamin Has a Van and Important Things With Demetri Martin, along with his own Comedy Central series.
When asked if the network knows about his Dumb Starbucks stunt, Fielder told the L.A. Times, “Oh, they do now.”
Once again, here is Fielder attempting to use the parody defense to explain why he believes calling his store “Dumb Starbucks” is legal: