Comedy Central’s Nathan Fielder is the man behind the Starbucks parody shop “Dumb Starbucks,” Deadline is reporting.
“I’m proud to announce we’ll be opening our second Starbucks in Brooklyn NY soon,” Fielder reportedly said.
The bizarre parody shop opened up this weekend, serving up free coffee to a long line of Los Angeles residents and fueling discussion about whether the store was inviting a trademark suit.
In a YouTube video, Fielder appears to be poking fun at U.S. intellectual property law, which in some cases protects “parodies” from lawsuits by the companies they’re making fun of.
“By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are legally allowed to use the coveted Starbucks name and logo because we’ve fulfilled the minimum requirements to be considered a parody under U.S. law,” he said. “We have a full menu including all your favourite Starbucks items.”
Later on, he added, “Many of you probably know me as a comedian, but this is no bit or joke.”
While Fielder is poking fun at U.S. law, Starbucks appears to be taking the store, and its potential trademark infringement, quite seriously.
“We are aware of the store — it is not affiliated with Starbucks,” Starbucks rep Megan Adams told The Hollywood Reporter. “We are evaluating next steps and, while we appreciate the humour, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”
From the start, many believed the store was some kind of gimmick because its use of the Starbucks trademark was so blatant. Earlier Monday, people were already specuating that it was a prank by Fielder’s show “Nathan For You.”
Others were implicated in the fake Starbucks affair before Fielder finally took credit. The Associated Press has previously reported that “Dumb Starbucks” was the work of a comedy duo with a cult following. That pair, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, got permits to film at the site of the “parody” shop three different times, the AP noted. While it’s unclear if they were also involved in Fielder’s stunt, they are both producers on his show “Nathan for You.”
A Los Angeles artist named Marc Horowitz also took credit on Twitter for the Starbucks “parody” store.
“my project is causing quite a stir – lol,” Horowitz tweeted, linking to a Los Angles Times story on “Dumb Starbucks.”
Later, he tweeted, “Would love to do interviews about #dumbstarbucks.” As of Monday evening, Fielder was the only comic who had officially taken credit for the fake store. It’s not clear whether Horowitz also has a connection to “Nathan for You.”
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