TV comedian behind 'Dumb Starbucks' in Los Angeles
Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder of the Comedy Central show "Nathan For You" comes forward as the brainchild of "Dumb Starbucks," a parody store that resembles a Starbucks with a green awning and mermaid logo, but with the word "Dumb" attached above the Starbucks sign. Starbucks Coffee spokeswoman, Laurel Harper says the store is not affiliated with Starbucks and, despite the humor, the store cannot use the Starbucks name. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a caffeine-charged Hollywood whodunit: Just whose bright idea was the "Dumb Starbucks" coffee shop that popped up and started serving free drinks from the corner of an otherwise uncelebrated strip mall?
After several days of speculation, the big reveal came Monday: The buzz-generating shop was a comedian's publicity stunt.
Keeping a straight face, Canadian comic Nathan Fielder told a crowd he was pursuing the "American dream" — before acknowledging that he planned to use the bit on his Comedy Central show "Nathan for You."
Soon after, Los Angeles County health inspectors shut it down for operating without a valid permit.
Anthony Solis, left, and Tony Gonzalez prepare their coffee at the Dumb Starbucks coffee shop in Los Angeles Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. The store resembles a Starbucks with a green awning and mermaid logo, but with the word "Dumb" attached above the Starbucks sign. Spokeswoman Laurel Harper says the store is not affiliated with Starbucks and, despite the humor, the store cannot use the Starbucks name. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Earlier in the day, and for much of the weekend, a line from the store wound alongside the parking lot and up the block. Some patrons snapped pictures in front of a green awning and mermaid logo that is familiar — except that the word "Dumb" is prominently featured.
They weren't coming for gourmet fare: Their descriptions of the coffee ranged from "horrible" to "bitter," and one parent said his daughter complained that the hot chocolate was like water.
Instead, they were just coming to say they came, and to score a white paper cup with a sticker bearing the curious logo.
"It was a pretty dumb idea to come out in the cold" and wait for nearly two hours to get a coffee, joked Anthony Solis, who lives in nearby Hollywood.