Dumb Starbucks in Los Feliz gripped the collective imagination of L.A. hipsters over the weekend.
Was it an art installation? Was it a living protest against commercialism? Was it a punk to the curious who lined up for a taste of Dumb Starbucks?
See our latest: Dumb Starbucks Shut Down by L.A. Health Officials
It looks like the latter is true: Turns out the store is the backdrop for a Comedy Central television show, Nathan For You.
]Dumb Starbucks made an announcement at 4 p.m. on the site of the coffee shop, where customers could reportedly get Dumb versions of Starbucks coffee that was actually from Vons.
And because there's apparently nothing else going on in this town of any actual news value, an entire phalanx of reporters showed up at the scene. From there, Susan Hirasuna of Fox 11 News reported that “Nathan COO” (Nathan Fielder of Nathan For You) had announced that a second Dumb Starbucks was to open, this one in New York.
An official with FilmLA, the firm that handles film permits for City Hall, told the Weekly earlier today that “our suspicion” is that the Dumb Starbucks location might have been erected for filming an episode of Nathan For You, which involves fake businesses.
Nathan For You is produced by Abso Lutely Productions, which was founded by comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show.”
Abso Lutely Productions recently took out film permits for 1802 Hilhurst Ave., the location of the Dumb Starbucks, in late January and then again in early February, according to records sent to us by FilmLA.
We called Abso Lutely but no one there would confirm that the Dumb Starbucks might be a part of Nathan For You.
A Starbucks official warned that the company's name was trademarked and couldn't be used, although one might argue for fair comment and criticism.
A TV show would put a whole new spin on that possible legal battle. Undoubtedly the L.A. media will breathlessly cover each new development.
[Added at 4:49 p.m.]: The hype around Dumb Starbucks was deafening, and much of the early speculation surrounding its origins was off.
Hipsters lined up from the strip mall the sidewalk to have a taste of utter Dumb-ness over the weekend, and news cameras were there to capture the scene.
Some news organizations gave ink to conceptual artist Marc Horowitz, who claimed credit for the store. Even street artist Banksy, who has parodied our retail addictions in the past, was fingered as a possible source.
In the end, as a colleague of ours pointed out, this anti-corporate message was ultimately brought to you by Viacom.