The World of the Prank

The artist as social provocateur and activist incorporates humor, satire, irony, political commentary and/or direct action to provoke critical thinking. Pranks challenge convention and the status quo and expose prejudices and biases.

Blog Posts

Mutant Giant Spider Dog

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

From SA Wardega

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Murder Evidence or Text Prank?

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

An unnamed 65-year-old Athens, Georgia woman who is probably not an accessory to homicide reported receiving an unusual text message.


“Athens woman possibly target of phone prank”
by Police Blotter staff
OnlineAthens.com
September 3, 2014

Crime SceneA 65-year Athens woman reported to Athens-Clarke County police that on Monday she received a text message from an anonymous person who said, “Hey baby I disposed the body. What do I do?”

Police said they traced the text message to a phone number belonging to a 61-year-old Colbert woman who claimed she knew nothing about it. Read the full story here.


6th Annual Air Sex Competition

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Filed under: Parody, Satire

You Cannot Unsee The Air Sex World Championships (NSFW VIDEO)
by Andy Campbell
Huffington Post
August 30, 2014

The 6th-annual Air Sex World Championships reached its climax in New York City Thursday, when a handful of New York’s biggest libidos drank enough beer to get on stage and simulate sex. Alone. With (most of) their clothes on. Read the whole article here.

Watch the video:



Jonathan Kluth: Auto Music

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Songwriter Jonathan Kluth performs not only in, but with his car.


Watch the video:

Hear more of his music on Soundcloud

via Digg


ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Best Fails So Far

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Publicity Stunts

The “Fight ALS (aka Lou Gehrigs Disease) with the Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign has been wildly successful, raising more than $94 Million dollars in just a few months to help raise awareness and find a cure for this debilitating disease. Millions of people all over the world have been videotaped letting someone pour ice water over their heads (or doing it themselves). And in their enthusiasm, there have been some spectacular fails:


World Class Literary Deception

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Literary Hoaxes

Celebrity biography readers beware. David Cay Johnston catalogs how one best-selling author, C. David Heymann, who wrote books of historical significance about world leaders and A-class celebs, filled his pages with inaccuracies and downright scurrilous fabrications.


C. David Heymann’s Lies About JFK and Jackie, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor
by David Cay Johnston
Newsweek
August 27, 2014

C. David Heymann’s Lies About JFK and Jackie  Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor-425

He had been dead for over two years, but he still had a magic touch with readers.

When best-selling author C. David Heymann’s latest (and last) book, Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love, came out in July, it received the kind of reviews most authors would kill for. The Columbus Dispatch called it an “engrossing portrait.” The Christian Science Monitor and the New York Post raved. Kirkus Reviews said it was “a well-researched story” revealing the “profoundly unethical behavior of the medical and mental health professionals who dealt with [Monroe].” The popular Canadian magazine Maclean’s praised Heymann’s research, finding “his sources credible.”

The publisher, a subsidiary of media behemoth CBS, says Joe and Marilyn tells “the riveting true story” of the lusty, tempestuous and brief marriage between the Yankees slugger and the iconic actress. In this and his previous 10 books, Heymann served up intimate details no other celebrity biographer could match. It was often titillating and sometimes shocking stuff. In Joe and Marilyn, Heymann wrote that DiMaggio beat Monroe, wiretapped her home and stalked her by skulking around in disguises, wearing a fake beard and for hours holding up a copy of The New York Times so no one would notice him in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

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What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts

Sal Cataldi, founder and president of Cataldi PR, reminisces for MediaBistro about early influences on his impressionable brain…


What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!
by Sal Cataldi
Media Bistro
August 25, 2014

What makes you want to be what you want to be when you grow up?

Joey Skaggs (right) in his Celebrity Sperm Bank hoax, 1976

Like many a person with eclectic interests (writing, music, art, travel and, yes, cash) and the fuzzy liberal arts degree to prove it, I ventured off into the world of periadulthood with nary a clue as to what I would do to house and feed myself, much less the wonderful children I would be fortunate enough to have.

My professional calling didn’t arrive until my late mid-20s, after a few years spent bumming around the animation and video businesses, playing in rock bands and writing record reviews for freebie vinyl. That’s when I stumbled into the broad world that goes by the narrow moniker of “public relations.” Read the rest of this article here.


Improv Everywhere: Black Tie Beach 2014

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


Black Tie Beach 2014   Improv Everywhere-425

For the Fifth Annual Black Tie Beach, hundreds of participants spent a day at the beach in black tie attire. We covered Coney Island with a diverse group of people of all ages laying out, playing games, and swimming in the ocean in formal wear. Agents were instructed to find cheap tuxedos and ball gowns at thrift stores for the occasion. The event also happened on the same day in several other cities around the world, including Boston and Jacksonville.

Watch the video:

See more photos and info here.

UPCOMING: The Mp3 Experiment Eleven will take place on Saturday, September 20 at a location to be announced in Brooklyn, NY. Once again we are staging the Mp3 Experiment TWICE this year. It will take place at 2 PM and 6 PM. Save the date! This event, as always, is free and open to all.


Get Off My Phone: A Toast to Scharpling and Wurster

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks

In the 21st Century, it seems that everyone’s a prospect, has something to sell, or both. To stay balanced, we need people who can mess with our minds in ways that leave us more savvy, more curious, and more creative. If such people make us laugh, that’s a bonus. This is a tribute to two of these from Emerson Dameron a writer, storyteller, and humorist searching for signs of mischief in a world plastered with ads.

All illustrations are by the inimitable Los Angeles artist John Hogan.


“I like anyone with a dream.”
– Tom Scharpling

Great radio theater envelops its listeners in a vivid alternative reality and compels them to examine their own worlds more closely when they return. The best great radio theater twists their assumptions about themselves and makes them laugh for reasons that may be hard to explain to the world outside their headphones.

Until late 2013, Scharpling and Wurster, one of the underground’s favorite long-form radio comedy duos, made a home for themselves on WFMU, an influential and beloved freeform radio station broadcasting from New Jersey. They made sport of poseurs, snobs, and sleazebags in an elaborate world of their own creation. They are missed.

Tom Scharpling

Tom Scharpling, via Flickr

Tom Scharpling published the zine 18 Wheeler, wrote for the TV show Monk, and clerked in a music store. Jon Wurster is the original drummer for the North Carolina indie-rock band Superchunk and has played with Robert Pollard, the Polyphonic Spree, and many others. For over a decade, they collaborated on a unique and uncanny brand of phone-prank magic.

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Purging The Purge

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Filed under: High School Pranks, Satire, Urban Legends

In the last two weeks, the Purge hoax has gone viral, causing alarm in numerous cities… again.

In July, 2014, after the premiere of The Purge 2 Anarchy (the sequel to The Purge, a sleeper hit movie in which for 12 hours all crime is legal without consequence), a humor website CreamBMP.com reported that “a group of teenagers re-enacting the plot of the film The Purge 2 in Chicago murdered over 112 people”. Read Chicago ‘Purge’ Murders on Snopes.com.

112-murdered-by-group-of-teens-425

Then last week, a Louisville high school student tweeted what he thought was a joke: “Whos (sic) trying to get a Louisville Purge Started With Me?” and all hell broke loose. See this article posted by the Crimson Student Press detailing the story: Teen responsible for “Purge” hoax speaks up.

Purge-Blacked-Out-Image-425

From there, both panic and humor have hit cities all over the country. See Additional Purge Warnings on Snopes.com.

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Art Car: Collaboration in Chalk

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Philip Romano invites bystanders to create art on his car:


“The Artmobile”
by Dan Lewis
Now I Know
August 18, 2014

“The license plate tells 90% of the story. It reads ‘DRAWONME.’ The other 10%? That’s alluded to by the three or four pieces of sidewalk chalk left on the roof of the car — by no means a coincidence.

From draw-on-me.tumblr.com/

“The car is owned by a 20-something Westchester resident named Philip Romano. He coated his 2004 Hyundai Elantra with chalkboard paint and then drove it around to strategic locations, making sure to provide the utensils of not-quite-graffiti. In the summer of 2013, for example, he parked it in front of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see if true art enthusiasts would take the license plate literally. It proved popular – one report claimed that the line went ‘around the block.'” Read more here.

image: DRAWONME Tumblr


Mugshot Gag

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Robert Burt, a 19-year-old Maine resident, showed up to serve a weekend sentence for DUI and, in the interests of gallows humor and career suicide, sported a t-shirt with his mugshot from his original arrest.


Robert Burt

Read the full story here.

Statue Selfies: If Marble Could Tweet

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Reddit user Jazus ur lookin well starts new selfie trend:


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slide_362799_4083615_free-425

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Post-It Pay-Back

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief

KSLA 12 News reports a Kansas City cop was somewhat surprised to find his cruiser covered in colorful Post-It notes.

Post-It Cop Car

via KSLA.com

The lengthy suspect list does not include anarchists, demonstrators or dissidents. It appears he pulled one too many stunts on his colleagues and they got him back… off the clock, KC’s police chief emphasizes.

Something Bubbling at Home Depot

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

A trip to Home Depot can be disorienting, with confusing organization, high ceilings, and aggressive ventilation systems.

With an old-fashioned bubble wand, Youtuber Ernijs 12 attempts to add to the confusion. For maximum effect, he has to be slick. The dramatic musical stings emphasize the gravity of the situation.

Home Depot bubble prank


Watch the video