Americans were obsessed Monday with the sudden appearance of a store called “Dumb Starbucks” in Los Angeles this weekend. It turns out Nathan Fielder — the deadpan comic behind the wildly popular and mysterious pop-up store — has a proven track record of brilliant stunts.
Here are just a few of those (mostly business-related) pranks:
1) Deeply discounted gas, at a steep price — In the first season, Fielder enlists a gas station to offer deeply discounted gas. But there’s a big catch — you have to drop off a rebate at the top of a mountain.
2) Revitalizing a yogurt shop, with a very strange flavour — Fielder visits a struggling Los Angles frozen treat shop called Yogurt Haven, and he decides to try to improve business by introducing a new flavour that will get people talking. “That flavour is poo,” he says. “The media responds to controversy. We know that,” he tells the owner. In a world where beer-flavored yogurt is a thing, his stunt is not too far from reality.
3. Combining love and product placement — Fielder sets up two people on a blind date at Quizno’s. What the woman on the date doesn’t know is that the man has agreed to integrate various product plugs for the sub chain into their conversation. “Did you know the baja chicken has chef-inspired sauces?” he asks her across candlelight in the brightly lit chain store.
4. The notorious pig-rescuing-a-goat story — In one of the show’s more famous stunts, Fielder tried to give a petting zoo some good PR by staging a video of a pig rescuing a goat that was supposedly stuck in a pond. Within a few hours of being uploaded onto YouTube, the fake video was picked up as real news by legitimate outlets including the “Today” show and “Good Morning America.”
5. The claw of shame — In a commentary on how society ostracizes child predators, Fielder handcuffed himself to a robotic arm that was set to automatically pull his pants down in front of a crowd of children unless he was able to break free. He had an LAPD officer on hand to arrest him for indecent exposure if he couldn’t keep his pants on.
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