“Dumb Starbucks” is Part of Something Bigger and You Really Shouldn’t Be Missing It

Alex Russell

On Friday, the new twitter account @dumbstarbucks announced the dawning of a new business. Dumb Starbucks is open and is very real.

Maybe you saw a post about it and maybe you didn’t. Even if you’ve read up on it, though, there’s just not that much to know about Dumb Starbucks. It’s a supposed art exhibit (that’s their argument, they are an artistic parody of Starbucks, so they can use the name) that sells coffee as art. They stuck the word “dumb” in front of everything about the most famous coffee chain in the world, from their business name to their specific drink sizes (get a Dumb Venti, etc) and opened to the world.

The video above was released today, from the “owner.” That’s comedian Nathan Fielder, who is most likely best known for his series of Twitter pranks. He asked people to text their parents and significant others incendiary comments like “I haven’t been fully honest with you” just to see the response. He’s fascinated by what we all are: how bad can it get? Everyone who has ever thought about pushing someone down the stairs but held off because you’re not supposed to act like that can appreciate Nathan Fielder. There’s a lot to love about doing what you’re not supposed to do.

It’s funny to read about someone telling their significant other something terrible because it is funny to think of how our own friends would react. How would your mom handle getting a text from you that asked about buying drugs? How would your girlfriend respond to a text that appears to precede bad news about your relationship? You can imagine — but you won’t test it because you are presumably not a monster.

Some people are monsters.

Nathan Fielder is the star of Comedy Central’s very strange and very beautiful Nathan For You. There’s a ton of it on Comedy Central’s site, I highly suggest you check some out. The show ran for one eight-episode season last year during a very strong season of new shows for a network that is relatively infamous now for throwing pilot after pilot out and then forsaking them all. They picked up another season of Nathan For You that is set to air this year at some point.

The show is about Nathan agreeing to help small businesses with aggressive new strategies. He demands that a pizza place offer a free pizza if they don’t meet their delivery goal, but then the pizza is the size of a quarter. He inspires an ice cream place to create a disgusting flavor to get people in the door. In one truly inspired episode, he creates a rebate for gasoline that is so impossible to redeem that it ends up being a hike and sleepover in the mountains with lunatics.

The joy of Nathan For You is in the moment that you realize everything has escalated beyond what you thought could be possible. How intense can the process for redeeming a gas rebate be? It involves impossible riddles and your own spirit journey. How could it? Really, how could it?

This is clearly — on some level, though surely not entirely — the best possible ad for Nathan For You. There will be more reveals and Starbucks will sue them to death and this will end up being all about getting you to watch season two of a weird show that you might not know about. It’s a pretty great joke by itself, but if it gets you to at least click on Comedy Central’s site and watch a few Nathan For You bits, then it’s even better.

Nathan For You will return to Comedy Central Summer 2014.