Dumb Starbucks

  • Season 2, Ep 5
  • 07/29/2014

Nathan makes use of parody law to open up a coffee shop nearly identical to Starbucks in its branding and appearance.

BUT JUST NO ONE KNOWSWHAT THIS PLACE IS.

- CORRECT.- NO ONE--

YOU DON'T HAVE A BRANDTHAT PEOPLE RECOGNIZE.

- ABSOLUTELY.- BUT MAYBE THERE'S A SHORTCUT

TO ACTUALLY HAVINGBRAND RECOGNITION,

USING A LITTLE SOMETHINGCALLED PARODY LAW.

- PARODY LAW.

- OFTEN USED BY ARTISTS LIKE"WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC

AND SHOWS LIKE SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE,

PARODY LAW ALLOWS YOUTO USE TRADEMARKS

AND COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS LONGAS YOU'RE MAKING FUN OF THEM.

SO IF ELIAS COULD FIND A WAYTO MAKE FUN OF STARBUCKS,

HE'D BE FREE AND CLEAR TO BORROWTHEIR VALUABLE CORPORATE NAME

AND IMAGE FOR HIS STORE.

THE PLAN:TURN THE HELIO CAFE

INTO THE WORLD'S FIRSTPARODY STARBUCKS.

- SO HOW DO YOU MAKE THATA PARODY WITHOUT IT--

YOU JUST NOT MIMICKINGTHEIR BRAND?

- LIKE, THE COFFEES COULD BE"DUMB GRANDE," "DUMB VENTI"...

- YEAH, I GOT YOU.- "DUMB FRAPPUCCINO."

- GOTCHA.OKAY.

- I MEAN, AS A WHOLE, THE STORECOULD JUST BE CALLED

"DUMB STARBUCKS."- RIGHT. THAT'S--

OKAY, I SEE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING.RIGHT.

- BUT THE "DUMB" COULD BE SMALLSO PEOPLE COULD COME IN

THINKING IT'SAN ACTUAL STARBUCKS.

- HUH.IT'S SMART, I JUST DON'T KNOW

IF PEOPLE WOULD GET IT.YOU KNOW.

I DON'T KNOW IF PEOPLE ARE,YOU KNOW...

- WELL, DO PEOPLE GETWHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW?

YOU'RE NOT THAT POPULAR.- RIGHT.

- YOU HAVE NO MENU.- THAT'S TRUE.

- I MEAN, WHAT DO YOU HAVETO LOSE BY TRYING?

- I MEAN, WHAT DO I HAVETO LOSE?

I...I DON'T KNOW ACTUALLY.

- ELIAS WAS ON BOARD, BUTHE DID HAVE ONE MAJOR CONCERN.

- I DEFINITELY COULD NOT AFFORDA LAWSUIT FROM STARBUCKS.

DEFINITELY NOT.

- BASED OFF WHAT I READ ONWIKIPEDIA,

IT SEEMED LIKE MY APPROACHWAS LEGAL.

BUT JUST TO BE SURE,I RETAINED THE SERVICES

OF ATTORNEY PETER J. MARXTO GUARANTEE WE WERE PROTECTED.

- "DUMB STARBUCKS"?

- BUT THE "DUMB" WOULD BESMALLER SO PEOPLE

WOULD STILL THINKIT'S A STARBUCKS.

- IF PEOPLE THINK IT'S ASTARBUCKS, YOU'VE GOT A PROBLEM.

IT'S NOT REALLY A PARODY THEN.

- APPARENTLY, MY LEGAL FOOTINGWASN'T AS SOLID AS I THOUGHT.

BUT THEN PETER BROUGHT UP ONEWAY I COULD COVER MYSELF.

- LET'S SAY YOU HAD A REPUTATIONAS BEING A--

- YEAH.

- SOMEONE WHO DOESLOTS OF PARODY.

THEN THEY KNOW, OH, HE'S JUSTMAKING FUN OF STARBUCKS,

BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT HE DOES.

- SO I HAVE TO BECOMEA PARODY ARTIST.

- IT WOULDN'T HURT.

- IT SEEMED LIKE I STILL HADSOME WORK AHEAD OF ME.

BUT BEFORE LEAVING, I NEEDEDTO BE SURE I WAS PROTECTED.

SO IF I DO ALL THIS,THEN STARBUCKS CAN'T SUE ME?

- THIS IS AMERICA.

PEOPLE FILE LAWSUITSAT THE DROP OF A HAT.

- BUT IF THEY SUE,YOU'RE LIABLE TOO, RIGHT?

- WHO'S LIABLE?- YOU.

- ME PERSONALLY?- YEAH.

- NOT UNLESS I'M INVOLVEDIN--IN VIOLA--

IN INFRINGINGTHEIR TRADEMARK, NO.

- YEAH, THE APPEARANCE RELEASEYOU SIGNED BEFORE HAD A CLAUSE

THAT YOU WOULD BE LIABLE TOO,IF STARBUCKS SUED.

- I DON'T AGREE TO THIS AT ALL.

I DO NOT AGREE TO PAYALL LEGAL FEES AND DAMAGES FROM

LEGAL ACTION BECAUSEI HAVE NO CONTROL

OVER WHAT'S BEING RELEASED.

- WELL, WHY DID YOU SIGNTHAT, THEN?

- YEAH, I SIGNED IT. AND ISIGNED IT BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE

A CHANCE TO READ ITAND I THOUGHT--

- BUT YOU'RE A LAWYER.DON'T YOU READ THINGS

BEFORE YOU SIGN THEM?- I DO READ THINGS--

I TRY TO READ THINGS BUT YOUWANTED ME TO SHOOT AND I GLANCED

AT IT AND THIS WAS MY MISTAKE.I'LL ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.

- OKAY. WELL, YOU SIGNED IT SO IGUESS YOU CAN GIVE THAT BACK.

- WELL, I-I'M NOT GONNA GIVE ITBACK BECAUSE I'M GOING TO--

- WELL, I HANDED IT TO YOU JUSTTO LOOK OVER, BUT YOU ALREADY--

- NO, I'M NOT GONNAGIVE IT BACK TO YOU.

I'M PROTECTING MYSELF AND,FRANKLY, YOU FROM A NIGHTMARE.

- WELL, YOU SIGNED IT.

WE HAVE YOU ON CAMERASIGNING IT.

SO IT STILL HOLDS UP IN COURT.

- YOU DON'T HAVE ME ON CAMERASIGNING IT.

- YES, WE DO.

- WHAT KIND OF LAWYER AM I?SIGNING [...] I HAVEN'T READ.

WELL, IF YOU DO, THAT'S FINETHEN YOU--THEN YOU'LL KNOW

HOW THE TERMS--I'M GONNA PUT ITIN MY POCKET.

- WELL, NO, WE DON'T WANT ITIN YOUR POCKET.

- I--WE DO WANT ITIN MY POCKET.

- PLEASE.PLEASE, YOU'RE IN MY OFFICE.

I'M VERY SERIOUS. AND I DON'TKNOW IF YOU'RE REALLY TRYING

TO DO THIS JUST FOR THE SHOW,BUT I'D LIKE YOU

TO GET OFF MY DESK AND I'M GONNAASK YOU TO LEAVE THE OFFICE.

- I WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT PETERWAS TRYING TO BACK OUT

OF THE DEAL HE SIGNED.

BUT OUR PRODUCERS WEREEVENTUALLY ABLE TO CALM HIM DOWN

ENOUGH TO KEEP SHOOTING.

- THEY JUST SAID THEY NEED TOGET A SHOT OF THE--AN INSERT

OF THE DOCUMENT.LIKE A SHOT OF IT.

- [laughs] IT'S STAYING--IT'S STAYING IN MY POCKET.

IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE.- WELL, WE JUST NEED TO GET

A SHOT OF THE CLAUSEFOR THE SCENE.

- I-I--- IN THE DOCUMENT.

YOU CAN HOLD ON TO IT.

JUST HOLD IT OUTLIKE YOU'D HAD AND THEN--YEAH.

THIS CAMERA NEEDS TO GET ITOUT HERE.

- OKAY, THAT'S HOW I HAD IT.

- AND THEN YOU CAN--

JUST MAKE SURE YOU GET AN INSERTOF THE ACTUAL--

- YOU KNOW, I'M ABOUT TO--IDON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE PROVOKING

ME OR NOT, BUT I'M--I'M NOT--I'M GETTING TIRED OF THIS.

I'M NOT GONNA BE RESPONSIBLEFOR YOUR CONDUCT, OKAY?

- MY PLAN TO HAVE PETER SHARELIABILITY DIDN'T WORK.

SO IT WAS MORE IMPORTANTTHAN EVER THAT ELIAS AND I

TAKE HIS GUIDANCETO PROTECT OURSELVES.

IT WOULD JUST BE HELPFUL,LEGALLY, IF WE HAD A HISTORY

OF BEING PARODY ARTISTS.

- OKAY.

TO MAKE AS BIG OF A SPLASHAS POSSIBLE.

SO WE GOT TO WORK COMING UPWITH SOME SONGS

THAT WE COULD PERFORMAROUND TOWN.

- SO THE EASIEST THING THATANYONE WOULD RECOGNIZE

IS A STONES SONG,A ZEPPELIN SONG.

- YEAH, MAYBE WE COULD, LIKE,SKEWER THEM FOR BEING OLD.

- RIGHT.

- I CAN'T GET AN ERECTION,BUT I TRY, BUT I TRY.

OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW.

- WE HAD OUR FIRST SONG,AND AFTER FINISHING THE LYRICS

I BOOKED US A SPOTAT A LOCAL OPEN MIC NIGHT

SO WE COULD BEGIN BUILDINGOUR LEGAL DEFENSE.

ELIAS AND I ARE BIG FANSOF THE ROLLING STONES.

BUT, YOU KNOW, WE WERE TALKINGLATELY AND WE THOUGHT

"YOU KNOW, THESE GUYS ARE KINDAGETTING A LITTLE OLD," SO...

[strums guitar]

♪ I CAN'T GET NO-HO

♪ E-E-RECTION

♪ I CAN'T GET NO-HO

♪ E-E-RECTION

OUR FIRST PERFORMANCE ACTUALLYWENT PRETTY WELL.

BUT AFTER OUR SET, ELIASEXPRESSED SOME RESERVATIONS.

ARE YOU NOT CONFIDENTIN THE LYRICS?

- OKAY.

HE WAS TOO NERVOUSTO GET ON STAGE AGAIN.

SO AFTER WRITING MORE SONGS,

I HAD TO DO THE NEXT OPEN MIC,ON MY OWN.

♪ I'M NOT AFRAID

♪ TO GRAB MY BALLS

♪ EVERYBODY

♪ COME GRAB MY BALLS

♪ DON'T LET THE CHECKS RUN DRY

♪ ROYALTIES

♪ SHAVE TONIGHT

♪ LET'S GET THAT BEARDALL GONE ♪

♪ TOO MUCH STUBBLE

♪ LET'S GET THAT HAIRALL GONE ♪

I THOUGHT THE SHOW WENT OKAY,

BUT UNFORTUNATELY,THE AUDIENCE DIDN'T AGREE.

- I DIDN'T REALLY LIKE THATAT ALL.

- IT'S NOT REALLY MY CUP OF TEA.

- HE [...] SUCKED.

THAT WOULD SERVE AS THE LOCATIONFOR THE FIRST DUMB STARBUCKS.

THIS REMINDS ME OF THE METALIN MY HOUSE.

- YOU HAVE METAL IN YOUR HOUSELIKE THAT?

- YEAH.- OH.

- CONSTRUCTION BEGANIMMEDIATELY,

AND IT WOULD TAKE AT LEASTA WEEK TO BUILD THE SHOP.

SO IN THE MEANTIME,I POSTED AN AD ON CRAIGSLIST

SEEKING BARISTASWITH STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE.

AND AFTER RECEIVINGSOME RESPONSES,

I MET WITH THE APPLICANTSTO SEE IF THEY'D BE A GOOD FIT.

- WHEN YOU'RE INTERACTING WITHCUSTOMERS, YOU KNOW,

IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A GOODSENSE OF HUMOR.

- MM-HMM.

- DO YOU HAVEA GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR?

- YEAH, I THINK SO.

- SO, LET'S SEE SOME OF THAT.

HI.

- HEY, HOW'S IT GOING?HOW'S YOUR DAY?

- GREAT.YEAH, IT'S GOING WELL.

- IT'S GOING WELL?HOW'S THE WEATHER?

YOU ENJOYING THE WEATHER?- YEAH.

- YEAH, THAT'S COOL.I'M NOT.

IT'S JUST TOO WARM.

AND I'M GETTING OVERA SICKNESS TOO,

SO IT'S EVEN MORE WARMTHAN I'D LIKE IT TO BE.

- THAT WAS FUNNY.- YEAH, THANKS.

- JEREMIAH WAS PERFECTFOR THE JOB.

I ALSO HIRED AMBER SINCE WESEEMED TO HAVE A LOT IN COMMON.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAYIS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?

- MY GREATEST WEAKNESSIS THAT I'M TOO NICE.

- THAT'S SO FUNNY, THAT'S--IT--THAT'S MY GREATEST WEAKNESS TOO.

- REALLY?- YEAH.

AND WITH THE STORE SET TO OPENIN LESS THAN 24 HOURS,

MY CREW AND I PUTTHE FINAL TOUCHES ON MAKING

MY PARODY STARBUCKSLOOK AS AUTHENTIC AS POSSIBLE.

- WITH OUR SIGN NOW ON DISPLAY,MY PLAN QUICKLY BEGAN TO WORK,

AS PEOPLE STARTED COMING IN

THINKING IT WASAN ACTUAL STARBUCKS.

- OH, DUMB STARBUCKS.OKAY, OKAY.

- OH, YOU THOUGHTIT WAS STARBUCKS.

- I DID.

- BUT THE FEW CUSTOMERS WE DIDGET SEEMED TO HAVE TROUBLE

UNDERSTANDING WHAT WE WEREALL ABOUT.

I MEAN, LEGALLY SPEAKING,

THIS STORE HAS TO BE CATEGORIZEDAS AN ART GALLERY,

SO WE DON'T HAVE TO ABIDEBY THE SAME HEALTH REGULATIONS

AS A STARBUCKS WOULD.

I MEAN, WE DON'T WANT ANY OFOUR CUSTOMERS TO GET SICK.

BUT IF THEY DO,TECHNICALLY,

THAT'S PART OFTHE ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE.

THINGS WERE OFFTO AN OKAY START.

BUT AS THE DAY PROGRESSED,I BECAME FRUSTRATED

WE WEREN'T GETTING THE AMOUNTOF CUSTOMERS I EXPECTED.

SO I HEADED OUT TO A NEARBYCOFFEE SHOP

TO TRY AND SPREAD THE WORDABOUT MY NEW BUSINESS.

JUST SO YOU KNOW,THERE'S A DUMB STARBUCKS

THAT'S OPENED UPDOWN THE BLOCK.

- OKAY.- OKAY.

IT'S BASICALLY THE SAME COFFEE.CHEAPER PRICES, AND--

- DUMB STARBUCKS?- YEAH.

TODAY, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN HAVEA FREE COFFEE ON ME.

- I UNDERSTAND YOU'RE TRYINGTO PROMOTE YOUR COMPANY.

- RIGHT.- I ADMIRE THAT.

BUT THAT'S GREAT.YOU CAN'T DO IT ON

STARBUCKS' PROPERTY.- AND I ADMIRE YOU.

AND I WILL BE--- AND EVERY TIME I STEP BACK,

YOU KEEP TAKING A STEP FORWARD.- NO, I HAVEN'T MOVED.

- YOU HAVE.WE STARTED OVER HERE.

- NO, WE STARTED RIGHT HERE.

- BUT YOU NEED TO WALK THAT WAY.- OKAY, I WILL.

- UNFORTUNATELY, MY MARKETINGEFFORTS WERE CUT SHORT.

BUT I WAS AT LEAST ABLETO GET SOME FREE SUPPLIES.

WITH AN UNDERWHELMINGLAUNCH DAY,

I BEGAN TO FEEL LIKE I PUT INALL THIS EFFORT FOR NOTHING.

BUT THE NEXT MORNINGTHINGS CHANGED.

JEREMIAH CALLED ME TO SAYTHERE WAS A LINE

OF OVER 15 PEOPLE AT THE STORE.

THEN I SAW PHOTOSOF MY SHOP POSTED

ON A STRAIGHT BODY BUILDINGMESSAGE BOARD.

BUT I COULDN'T HAVE FORESEEN WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.

- A NEW COFFEE SHOPWITH A FAMILIAR NAME

CREATING QUITE A STIRIN LOS ANGELES.

THE COFFEE SHOP--GET THIS--IS CALLED DUMB STARBUCKS.

- THAT LOOKS EXACTLYLIKE A STARBUCKS.

THE LOGO, THE LETTERING,THE GREEN COLORING--

HOW DO THEY GET AWAYWITH THIS?

- BECAUSE THEY PUT THE WORD"DUMB" ON TOP OF STARBUCKS,

SO THEY'RE PARODYINGSTARBUCKS.

- A COFFEE CHAIN NOTORIOUSFOR SUING IMITATORS

MAY HAVE FINALLYMET IT'S MATCH.

- AT THE COUNTER, CUSTOMERSCAN ORDER A "DUMB VENTI"

OR BUY A CDOF "DUMB NORAH JONES DUETS."

- SOME PEOPLE WAITED IN LINEFOR UP TO AN HOUR.

- IT'S AN ART GALLERY WHERECOFFEE IS CONSIDERED ART.

- WHAT'S THE POINT OF THE ART?I MEAN, WHAT'S THE MESSAGE?

- I DON'T KNOW.- [speaking Spanish]

- [speaking Korean]

- I WAS STUNNED.

WE HAD MORE CUSTOMERSTHAN I EVER DREAMED OF.

AND WITHIN 24 HOURS,DUMB STARBUCKS

HAD BECOMEA WORLDWIDE SENSATION.

- YEAH, THERE'S ABSOLUTELYARTISTIC VALUE HERE.

- TO ME, THIS IS A PROTEST.

THIS IS A PROTESTAGAINST THE BIG FISH.

THE LEVIATHANS OF STARBUCKS.

- IT WAS COOL THAT PEOPLECOULD DRAW THEIR OWN MEANING

FROM A BUSINESS THATWAS JUST THERE TO MAKE MONEY.

- THERE'S A RUMORTHAT IT MIGHT BE BANKSY

AND WE'RE ALL REALLY EXCITEDABOUT THAT.

- I HAD INADVERTENTLYCREATED SOMETHING

THAT WAS ON PAR WITH ONE OFTHE WORLD'S GREATEST ARTISTS.

- SOMETHING TIED TO AN ARTINSTALLATION.

MAYBE THIS IS BANKSY.

- BEFORE I KNEW IT,CUPS FROM MY SHOP

WERE SELLING ON EBAYFOR $500 A PIECE.

AND SWINDLERS WERE EVEN TRYINGTO CASH IN ON THE HYPE

BY HOCKING FAKE MERCHANDISEOUTSIDE THE STORE.

BY THE END OF THE WEEKENDI REALIZED THAT DUMB STARBUCKS

WAS A BIGGER IDEATHAN I EVER THOUGHT IT COULD BE.

SO I GATHERED THE WORLDWIDEMEDIA TO ANNOUNCE

THAT WE WERE EXPANDING.

[cheers and applause]

HI.

I'M PROUD TO ANNOUNCETHAT WE'LL SOON BE OPENING

A SECOND DUMB STARBUCKS LOCATIONIN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK,

WITHIN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.

[cheers and applause]

MY BUSINESS WAS NOT ONLYA BONA FIDE SUCCESS,

BUT FOR THE FIRST TIMEIN MY LIFE

IT FELT LIKE PEOPLE ACTUALLYWANTED TO BE AROUND ME.

WHATEVER I HAD DONERESONATED WITH THE ENTIRE WORLD.

AND THE ATTENTIONWAS LIKE SUNLIGHT ON MY SOUL.

MY ENTIRE MARKETING PLANDEPENDED ON USING

THEIR CORPORATE LOGOTO GET ATTENTION.

AND THE ONLY WAY TO LEGALLY DOIT IS BY USING "DUMB."

- EVERY MAJOR NETWORK IN AMERICAWANTED TO KNOW MY STORY.

- NATHAN FIELDER.

- I WAS INVINCIBLE.

AND I HAVE TO ADMIT, THE VIEWFROM THE TOP WAS PRETTY NICE.

WE'RE ALSO FAMOUSFOR OUR PASTRIES.

I BROUGHT YOU SOME, ACTUALLY.- OH, OKAY. YEAH, GREAT.

- I BROUGHT SOMEOF OUR PASTRIES, YEAH.

- OH, THOSE LOOK GREAT.[audience laughs]

WHAT DO YOU CALL THESE?ARE THESE THOSE--

- I BROUGHT MUFFINS TOO.- OH, LOOK AT THAT.

- THESE ARE OUR FAMOUS PASTRIES.- ISN'T THAT WEIRD.

IT SAYS VONS ON THE SIDE.[audience laughs]

- I WAS ALL SMILESAND MY HEAD WAS IN THE CLOUDS.

THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN,REALITY HIT.

Loading...