Dumb Starbucks, We Hardly Knew Ya!

Los Angeles County health officials shut down the parody coffee house that wasn't favored by the real Starbucks folks. Find out who was behind it all and where it might pop up next.

The closure notice on Dumb Starbucks on Los Feliz.
The closure notice on Dumb Starbucks on Los Feliz.

A comedian known for a Comedy Central prank show came forward today as the owner of the Dumb Starbucks coffee shop in Los Feliz that attracted crowds of curious customers over the weekend, but shortly after he revealed his identity, his store was shuttered by the county Health Department.

Nathan Fielder held a news conference in the parking lot of the store at 1802 Hillhurst Ave. and posted a video online, saying the addition of the word “Dumb” in the name legally qualified it as a parody.

“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,” Fielder said in a video posted on Twitter.

“... Many of you probably know me as a comedian, but this is no bit or joke,” he said. “This is a real business I plan to get rich from.”

Fielder, who appears on the Comedy Central show Nathan for You, said he plans to open a second location in Brooklyn.

Shortly after his news conference, however, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health showed up at the Los Feliz store and posted a “notice of closure” on the door, saying the business was “operating without a valid public health permit.”

The store opened quietly on Friday, but by Sunday, it had crowds of people gathering, trying to figure out if the store was real or a joke. The shop features the signature Starbucks logo, and sells the same type of beverages. It even sells CDs with titles such as “Dumb Jazz Standards.”

Officials with Starbucks issued a statement saying they were aware of the shop.

“It is not affiliated with Starbucks,” according to the statement. “It is not affiliated with Starbucks. We are evaluating our next step. While we appreciate the humor of the store, they cannot use our name. It is a protected trademark.”

--City News Service
denny rane February 11, 2014 at 02:22 PM
Awesome.! If we could rid the World of Walfart and Starbux...we would be on the right path.
Sterling February 11, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Glad they shut these guys down. They're ripping off Patch. That's your concept Dumb Journalism. You should sue.
Steph Thomas February 11, 2014 at 05:30 PM
I'm a true coffee drinker... have been for 70 years... and I much prefer McDonalds coffee over Starbucks. My guess is that Starbucks mixes their 'coffee' with cat pee...
K. Scott February 11, 2014 at 06:13 PM
Whats dumb is this story that's supposed to be local is posted up in Michigan as a local story. The new owners of the Patch sites can't find their asses with both hands.
Denise February 11, 2014 at 06:29 PM
imo, it would be nicer if patch did local news. that's why i read this. it sure did bring up a debate! maybe that's what patch wants.
Karen Monson February 12, 2014 at 11:16 AM
I like Starbucks coffee. Nothing wrong with that, I like their Latte's too. I like knowing that when I go to a Starbucks in any town, I know what I will get, it will be consistent and good. That's why they have made a fortune, a good product that you can find everywhere... I can't say that about McDonald's, one in one town is good the next in another town is terrible.
John Cobb February 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Starbucks seems to cater to the kind of individual who enjoys overpaying for burnt coffee in a paper cup.
Troy Kasper February 12, 2014 at 11:43 AM
If you're going to say how much you hate Starbucks, then give an honest assessment and review. Saying they mix it with cat pee is immature and doesn't give anyone a real reason as to WHY it may or may not taste good which is completely subjective. Starbucks also does more than most companies, please read their Social Responsibility report before spewing lies. It makes you look ignorant. http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report
John Cobb February 12, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Troy do you have some financial interest in Starbucks? The trendy thing now is for all corporations to put out some Social Responsibility Propaganda, and buying into it makes you look ignorant.
Michelle Wang February 12, 2014 at 01:27 PM
I will buy from dumbstarbucks. I like the name.
Paula Antolini February 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM
What's "dumb" about this entire episode is that it is an embarrassment to the US that we have a law allowing ridicule of a legitimate company, and that a citizen can pull an obvious publicity stunt riding on the tails of the well known Starbucks name, in order to get attention for themselves or their endeavors. It also rides a fine line of trademark infringement law. Wait, let me get this straight, we have trademark laws yet there is another law (parody law) where anyone can USE that same trademark and make fun of it? That's counter-intuitive. If you have an issue with Starbucks you have the freedom of choice NOT to patronize that establishment. No customers, and they go under, but obviously that is not the case here, there are many people who do like Starbucks too.
bim bam boo February 13, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Wonder if he'd think it is funny if somebody used his name, social security number, etc., said it was just a joke and I was going to give the money back.
Denise February 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM
starbucks is not a human, it has no ssn~~this whole article and conversation is dumb imho.
denny rane February 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM
What is Dumb, is that there are so many "people" like "Paula" in the USA...no wonder the rest of The World thinks we suck. What is dumb, is that the USA has laws, courtesy of the troglodytes at Citizen United, that give corporations the protection/status of humans. F(u)ck Star Bux. You oss hats can preach your Permian Economics at a 1% rally...not here...not on our watch, not on a forum for a community of concerned and empathetic human souls. God Bless
Old Pizza February 17, 2014 at 01:11 PM
I absolutely hate Starbucks coffee. It's pure rotgut. McDonald's and Cumberland Farms have it all over Starbucks and at a fraction of the cost.
Paula Antolini February 17, 2014 at 03:09 PM
And your point is, Denny??? The world hates the USA because of me? LOL I did not know I was so famous and had such power. I quoted USA laws, that makes me evil? Whether you like Starbucks or their products or not, this is free enterprise and they are a legitimate company. I think if you dig deep you might be surprised to find out what some very famous companies support as causes etc. so don't lay it all on Starbucks. I repeat, you don't like Starbucks, don't patronize them, period. To go off on your nonsensical rants is a waste of energy.
bim bam boo February 17, 2014 at 05:26 PM
Paula, Starbucks is a good citizen, and a benevolent company who cares about its workers and its customers. Thank you so much for pointing this out. Not every company out there is an evil Wal-Mart or Papa John's.
Paula Antolini February 17, 2014 at 07:59 PM
bim bam boo what I support is free enterprise and working hard to achieve success and reaping the rewards of hard work. Agan, Americans also have the right to patronize a business or refuse to patronize a business too. Not sure why so many people waste breath on complaining. So don't go there if you hate the business! If they offend enough people they will fold.
denny rane February 17, 2014 at 08:16 PM
No more a "waste of breath" to complain than it is to give praise. I thought THAT is what "America" is about...the right to free speech...to complain, to show fault, to strike, to picket. LOTS of business succeed to an extreme (Walmart) even though they have tens of thousands of customers and ex-customers that hate them. Has nothing to do with "free enterprise". It is called capitalism. The economic theory that causes monopoly in its ultimate form. THAT is why people "hate" Starbux and why they/we continue to complain about their policy of blighting as many neighborhoods as they can.....BECAUSE they can. best
Karen Monson February 19, 2014 at 10:40 AM
I like Starbucks. If you don't, no one is forcing you to go there. America is about freedom of speech, and also about capitalism, the freedom to succeed or fail. It's also about freedom of enterprise, it's about choices. Corporations are about making money, they then use that money to provide jobs, make a profit and pay taxes. No one forces you to work for Walmart. If you don't like what they pay, don't work there, go somewhere else where they pay more and provide more benefits. People go to Walmart because their products are priced lower than other stores. That means they can afford to buy groceries, the items they want or need and still afford to pay the mortgage or the rent. It would be a bad decision for a family to pay more for the same product somewhere else. I am so tired of people complaining about people who succeed at what used to be considered the American Dream. To work hard, to sacrifice the things they want now so that they can do better later, to give 200% in order to excel in your job and in your life and in the end to enjoy what you have earned. There's nothing wrong with that either. But people really love to trash them for it.
Paula Antolini February 19, 2014 at 01:24 PM
Jody I suggest you do a thorough internet search as to what many well-known companies actually support as their charitable causes before you completely rank on Starbucks.......you might have your mouth hanging open so wide i surprise that you can fit a few Starbuck's double latte's in there while you recover from the shock.
Paula Antolini February 19, 2014 at 01:27 PM
K. Scott you complain that Patch covers an event that's NOT local, but would probably equally complain if they didn't cover something of wide recent national interest too (along with the local stories)...no satisfying you.
Paula Antolini February 19, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Well said Karen Monson.
Paula Antolini February 19, 2014 at 01:37 PM
denny rane you still make no sense but chose to continue to rant about Starbucks as your theory that most people hate them and Walmart etc. does not hold water because obviously they are still successful so more people love them :-). "For the fiscal year ended January 2013, Walmart increased net sales by 5% to $466.1 billion and returned $13 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Walmart ranked second on the 2012 FORTUNE 500 list of the world’s largest companies by revenue." see: http://news.walmart.com/walmart-facts/corporate-financial-fact-sheet ....and also.... "Strong holiday sales and store traffic drive 12% revenue growth to a record $4.2 billion Consolidated operating margin expands to a record 19.2%; EPS rises 25% to a record $0.71 Dollars loaded on Starbucks Cards jump 24% to $1.4 billion" see http://investor.starbucks.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=99518&p=irol-news&nyo=0
sj February 19, 2014 at 03:20 PM
I think they should put "It is not affiliated with Starbucks” - just one more time - third time's a charm.
denny rane February 19, 2014 at 08:20 PM
My comments are text book. I have simply repeated basic economics that a 16 year old from any European Country would understand, and tell you the same. Capitalism spawns monopolies. Companies like Walmart and Starbux are big participants in that.....can you not tell by their cloying presence.? I never said most people hate them. I said they are VERY successful, even though MANY of their CUSTOMERS hate/dislike them. You know what a customer is right.....people that shop at a store like Walmart. Again...I NEVER said most people hate them. YOU said it. You guys need to take a basic Poli-Sci or Economics class at your local college. I think you would really enjoy it...you obviously have no idea of the definition of Wealth, how it is acquired, retained, and then used to ensure the continuation of the owning class..... at the expense of the Bulk of the population. Tell people to go work somewhere else...that is real funny...tell the slaves to work for somebody else. You guys have A LOT TO LEARN, but it will be fun. Wlamrt, and others of that ilk have perfected Permian Economics...it is much like a pyramid scheme. Designed to enrich a few people at The Top, while the bilk of the populace is dried out. You guys write like you went to school with Rush Limbaugh, or some other radio propaganda personality. You guys really have no concept of WHY people have wealth, and how they got it, or keep it. Wealth by dispossession is a HUGE problem is the USA. The banking scam of 2006 should at least give you some hint of that. God Bless and Good Luck
Karen Monson February 19, 2014 at 08:30 PM
Ummmm, ok Denny, I received everything I have with hard work and savings. Didn't do it on the backs of anyone. And people who work at Walmart are slaves? Perhaps you should go back to school and take another history course. Slaves didn't have a choice in where they worked or for whom. They were bought and sold at the leisure of the master. To compare Walmart or Starbucks to slave owners is ridiculous in the extreme which is why you do it. To get a reaction. If you truly believe this about the United States, don't be a part of it, no one forces you to stay here. If you live here you have the freedom to go where you want when you want, so pick the EU or France and have at it. People work hard, they amass as much money as they can so they can support themselves, their kids, their parents if necessary and to not be a burden on society. That's what we raise our kids to do, that's what we hopefully do. Then most of us help those less fortunate to have a hand up also. You just want to blame everyone else for your unhappiness. Why don't you try changing yourself rather than ranting at everyone else. It seems like you want nothing more than to spend your time faulting the rest of the world and expecting them to change into what you believe they should be. That's what a dictator does, not a democracy.
Paula Antolini February 19, 2014 at 08:36 PM
denny rane...First of all if a person is still a "customer" of a business they couldn't possibly "hate" the company whose establishment they are shopping in, that much. Second, the way you put is, I guess it is "you guys" (all the people in this thread) against YOU personally...HMMMM. Something wrong with that thinking, figure it out. Third, shame on you for your prejudiced attitude towards anyone who has achieved success in this country and is wealthy....according to you they are all the devil. Your attacks on everything and everyone shows an insecure person who blames everyone (who has worked hard to achieve success) for everything wrong in this world. Heck you even ranked on me. Is this how you want to live your life? So negative? Try and see the good things in life, you will live longer and be happier. There is always someone worse off than you. Take time to think about them. Try and stop ranking on the ones who have more than you.
denny rane February 19, 2014 at 09:12 PM
You guys really have nothing to add...other than to find fault with me...because YOU happen to disagree with me....so I should LEAVE the country.? THAT is your idea of "America".? I disagree with you two.....do I tell YOU to move.? I am just pointing out that I can see "you guys" have little/no knowledge of basic economics. We ALL work for what we have...did you think it was just you two.? I did 25 years in Local 4...SF Painters Union. Nobody GAVE me anything. Whatever... you guys obviously have no desire to learn who rules and why...no problem. You like Walmart and Starbux...no problem. I have not told anybody to stop shopping there have I.? I am just pointing out how Wealth is acquired and why. Dispossession is a BIG part of those acquisitions. Like I say...you guys need to tale a basic Econ class...it would REALLY broaden your horizons... AND I think you would enjoy it. Enough Said God Bless
Paula Antolini February 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM
Well said Karen Monson and "WE" are done with denny rane, he refuses to be happy or rise to a higher level of being.


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