Up top: The kind of impressive, world-spanning prank whose success would send most comedians into a self-destructive spiral of attention-hounding and cruelty... if that weren't what the show's already about.
Last year, news and gossip outlets lit up with news of a bratty David and Goliath prank going down in LA: A lookalike coffee place called "Dumb Starbucks" that served "Dumb Ventis" and offered "Dumb Norah Jones CDs." The seeming audacity and self-evident humor of a corporate takedown, however vague, generated massive buzz, as did the reveal that it was the basis for an episode of Comedy Central's Nathan For You. For the uninitiated, it was a perfect introduction to the show's charms, leading into the show's second season, which has since become a smash hit.
Nathan For You is centered around the creepily/cutely striving protagonist Nathan Fielder's dedication to taking his jokes so far they end up through the looking glass. But another huge part of the show's success is its buzz outside the usual channels, as with this master stroke of a prank in which a simple coffee shop promotion becomes a meditation on pop art, satire and parody versus copyright infringement, the hollowness of modern art, the credulity of art-scene Angelenos and the ability of the fourth estate to take any football, no matter how self-indicting or humiliating, and run with it until exhausted.