Arts & Entertainment

Update: 'Dumb Starbucks' shut down by health officials after Comedy Central show takes credit

Nathan Fielder, host of Comedy Central's
Nathan Fielder, host of Comedy Central's "Nathan for You" show, announced the show was behind the mysterious appearance of a "Dumb Starbucks" outlet in Los Feliz.
Kevin Ferguson/ KPCC
Nathan Fielder, host of Comedy Central's
File photo: A customer holds a "Dumb Starbucks" cup on Feb. 8, 2014.
Jed Kim/KPCC

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Update 5:06 p.m.: 'Dumb Starbucks' shut down by health officials

That's a wrap! Shortly after Monday's press conference, the Los Feliz 'Dumb Starbucks' came to an end when health officials shut the space down. 

Update 6:41 p.m: Now that the mystery's solved, should Starbucks sue? 

Now that it’s clear Comedy Central was behind the "Dumb Starbucks" saga, UCLA Law Professor Neil Netanel says Starbucks would have a much tougher case should they choose to go after the outlet for trademark infringement.

"If the use of the Starbucks trademark, the logo and name relates to what the show is about or ties into the theme of the show in some way, then I think they’re [Comedy Central] on safer ground," Netanel told KPCC's Brian Watt.

But, he said, if Comedy Central is using the Starbucks name solely to draw attention to a show that  has nothing to do with Starbucks, the coffee giant could make a credible trademark case against them.  Is it worth it?

Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, says "no."

“If I’m at Starbucks and this is in my decision-making power, do I think I should use the power to make sure nobody makes fun of us?  Me personally, I don’t think so.”

The company should be careful about appearing too heavy-handed, Ahrens said. Starbucks might be smart to ignore their faux competition.

Update 4:10 p.m.: Comedy Central show behind 'Dumb Starbucks' stunt

Comedy Central show "Nathan for You" revealed itself to be behind the mysterious "Dumb Starbucks" storefront that appeared over the weekend and had Twitter frothing over with speculation. 

In a press conference Monday afternoon, the show's host Nathan Fielder revealed that the pop-up "parody" was a part of the Canadian comedian's second season.  

Fielder — whose documentary-style comedy show is premised on attempting to help businesses and people thrive using unusual and often ill-advised techniques— told the throng of reporters and onlookers that he'd soon be opening a similar cafe in Brooklyn. 

He also said he suspects that health inspectors were already inside the Los Feliz cafe and would attempt to close it down shortly.

"Obviously, running a business is hard," Fielder said. "Especially a small business, and we've encountered some major pushback, but we're determined to be here as long as we can."

After the conference, "Nathan for You" producer Clark Reinking  told KPCC's Kevin Ferguson that a health inspector had indeed come by.  

The show posted a welcoming video on Youtube immediately after the reveal: 

Dumb Starbucks on YouTube

Update 3:20 p.m. Filming permit authorized for 'Dumb Starbucks' location

Filming permits were issued for the location housing the "Dumb Starbucks" outlet that's been giving out free coffee and attracting internet attention. 

KPCC obtained the permits, which are tied to comedy production company Abso Lutely Productions, run by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, a comedy duo known as Tim & Eric who have worked together previously on movies and television shows.

The permits show that filming took several times in the weeks before the store was opened.

Update 2:23 p.m.: 'Dumb Starbucks' owner to be revealed Monday?

The owner of "Dumb Starbucks" is planning to appear at the store at 4 p.m. for an announcement, according to an email and a Tweet that both appear to be linked to the parody coffee shop.

Though KPCC has not been able to verify the owner of those accounts, the Twitter account has been actively sending updates since before the story broke.

Tweet: Owner to appear at 'Dumb Starbucks' at 4 p.m.

— KPCC staff

Update 10:58 a.m.: Starbucks 'parody' store opens for fourth day

The mysterious "Dumb Starbucks" store that set up shop in Los Feliz this weekend was open for business again this morning.

Baristas were serving up coffee (for free) to a long line of customers and within an hour were already running out of supplies, KPCC's Mary Plummer reports.

Tweet: Long lines again on Monday

Tweet: Baristas running short on supplies; no sign of organizers

Starbucks announced earlier that company officials were trying to contact the people responsible for opening the store, but as of Monday morning, there was no sign of the organizers.

The "Dumb Starbucks" Twitter account broke its silence again Monday morning after more than a day of silence to announce that so far coffee cups were the only official merchandise coming from the store.

Tweet: Coffee cups the only official merchandise

— KPCC staff

9:21 a.m.: Starbucks attempting to reach anonymous 'Dumb Starbucks' backers

Starbucks says it's trying to contact the people responsible for a "Dumb Starbucks" store that set up shop in Los Angeles this weekend.

RELATED: 'Dumb Starbucks' coffee shop opens in Los Feliz

A Feb. 7 tweet under the handle @dumbstarbucks announced the store's opening at 1802 Hillhurst Avenue in Los Angeles. Photos on social media showed a store that appeared to be a Starbucks with its familiar green awning and mermaid logo but with the word 'dumb' attached to its sign. The Seattle-based coffee chain says its legal team is working on identifying the store's owner.

"We are aware of this store, and it is not affiliated with Starbucks," spokeswoman Laurel Harper said in an email Monday. "We are evaluating next steps, and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark."           

She adds that the vast majority of trademark disputes "are handled informally," suggesting the company will not need to take legal action.

— Associated Press

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Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated the date of Monday's press conference.