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

Westboro Baptist Church Pranked with Fake Turkey Recall

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Pranksters

Turkey hoax targets controversial church
by Andy Warren
Chron.com
November 28, 2014

Fred Phelps Sr. of Westboro Baptist in Kansas displays one of his infamous protest signs, Photo by Capital-Journal File Photo/MBO

Fred Phelps Sr. of Westboro Baptist in Kansas displays one of his infamous protest signs, Photo by Capital-Journal File Photo/MBO

National Report, the satirical website that immediately jumped on the Ebola hoax wagon, has done it again for the holidays.

Millions of Thanksgiving turkeys have been recalled because of a mutated form of the avian flu virus.

It seems no form of preparation, whether baked or deep fried, will make them safe for human consumption, the article alerts.

“Consumers should call the Turkey Safety Hotline … for safety updates.”

That’s the hoax part. Then there’s the big finish:

The phone number provided is for Pastor Fred W. Phelps at the Westboro Baptist Church, the anti-gay Kansas-based congregation infamous for picketing at military funerals that recently tried to out-yell Texas A&M students over the school’s inclusion policies.

Cross Fit by Jesus

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Filed under: Parody

From the Kloons: The NEW Cross Fit WOD. With our patented 100% mahogany Holy Cross, all you have to do is strap it to your back and the cross does the rest!

Watch the video:

thanks Mark Borkowski

MAD Takes on CNN Coverage of Flight 370

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Filed under: Satire

Here’s an early look at “Dumb Item #13″ in MAD magazine’s upcoming issue, “The 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2014″, hitting iPads December 5 and newsstands later.


CNN’s endless Flight 370 coverage, by Timothy Shamey

via Jim Romenesko and HuffPo

Snow Art

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Satire

When people up north get creative…

Winter follies

thanks Cheryl

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under: Satire

Illegals

thanks Erin

Improv Everywhere: The Pirates of Central Park

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


The Pirates of Central Park

For our latest mission, we staged a pirate invasion on the Central Park Lake, converting a rowboat rental into a pirate ship. Actors dressed as pirates from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction set sail on the lake, searching for the keys to their treasure chest. The pirates interrogated the New Yorkers and tourists on other rowboats and by the shore, much to their delight.

Enjoy the video and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.

Created and Directed by Charlie Todd / Produced by: Deverge / Music by Tyler Walker

Catching Up With Serial Fabulist Stephen Glass

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Literary Hoaxes, Media Literacy

Hanna Rosin attempts to square up with her former bestie, one of American journalism’s most notorious bullshitters.

Bonus: Longform.org has a confounding collection of essays on frauds in journalism.


“Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry”
By Hanna Rosin
The New Republic
November 10, 2014

He nearly destroyed this magazine. Sixteen years later, his former best friend finally confronts him.

shattered-glass2

The last time I talked to Stephen Glass, he was pleading with me on the phone to protect him from Charles Lane. Chuck, as we called him, was the editor of The New Republic and Steve was my colleague and very good friend, maybe something like a little brother, though we are only two years apart in age. Steve had a way of inspiring loyalty, not jealousy, in his fellow young writers, which was remarkable given how spectacularly successful he’d been in such a short time. While the rest of us were still scratching our way out of the intern pit, he was becoming a franchise, turning out bizarre and amazing stories week after week for The New Republic, Harper’s, and Rolling Stone—each one a home run.

I didn’t know when he called me that he’d made up nearly all of the bizarre and amazing stories, that he was the perpetrator of probably the most elaborate fraud in journalistic history, that he would soon become famous on a whole new scale. I didn’t even know he had a dark side. It was the spring of 1998 and he was still just my hapless friend Steve, who padded into my office ten times a day in white socks and was more interested in alphabetizing beer than drinking it. When he called, I was in New York and I said I would come back to D.C. right away. I probably said something about Chuck like: “Fuck him. He can’t fire you. He can’t possibly think you would do that.”

I was wrong, and Chuck, ever-resistant to Steve’s charms, was as right as he’d been in his life. (more…)

Faking out the Foodies

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Food prank!


“Idiot Foodies Pranked Into Lovin’ McDonalds”
by Tara McGinley
Dangerous Minds
October 22, 2014

mcdonalds-happy-meal-mascotTwo Dutch pranksters from Life Hunters TV decided to hit up the annual culinary food convention in Houten to see if they could deceive foodies and “high-end food experts” with their supposed restaurant’s new “organic” alternatives to fast food. All these two guys did was go to a local McDonald’s to buy some artery cloggin’ fixins, chopped up the Mickey D’s into neat little squares and then stuck some toothpicks into the food. That’s all.

So were the foodies impressed with this duo’s new line of organic fast food? You betcha! One “expert” remarked:

“I feel some warmth releasing in my mouth. There a lot of different tastes!”

Yes and all of those different tastes swirling around your palette have names that sound like something you heard in chemistry class…

You’ll be pleased to know that at least one of the “experts” tasting the McDonald’s fare thinks it:

“Tastes like chicken.”

Several thought it tasted even better than “real” McDonald’s!

Watch the video: Before hitting “play” on this video, please click on “settings” and then select “subtitles.”

Chainsaw Massacre Hoax

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Filed under: Parody, Practical Jokes and Mischief

Watch the video:

Read about the hoax here

How’d they do that?

Watch Behind the Scenes with Vitaly Zdorovetskiy:

Reinflating the Balloon Boy Hoax

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, The History of Pranks

Reality-TV-obsessed Richard Heene, whose theatrical Balloon Boy hoax transfixed the nation back in 2009, is back in the media. His son Falcon (the one everyone thought was accidentally in the homemade “flying saucer” when it took off) and his brothers have formed a band and written a song called “Balloon Hoax No Hoax.”

When you’re out of helium, try hot air…


Watch the video:

Read an interview with the family from qz.com, “Catching Up With Balloon Boy and His Family, Five Years Later”

Banksy Bust Bomb

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Media Pranks

Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist’s identity has been revealed
by Ella Alexander
20 October 2014
Independent.co.uk

Banksy has not been arrested, despite a report stating the contrary.

Banksy, AKA Paul Horner, seen here being taken into police custody.(AP Photo/Dennis System)

Banksy, AKA Paul Horner, seen here being taken into police custody.(AP Photo/Dennis System)

“The Banksy arrest is a hoax,” the street artist’s publicist, Jo Brooks, told The Independent.

However, the prank seems to have duped the internet, with his name quickly trending on Twitter.

A false story, published on US website National Report, alleged that the identity of the British street artist had finally been revealed and he had been arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police and is being held “without bail on charges of vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting”.

The story claimed that Banksy’s London art studio had been raided, where “thousands of dollars of counterfeit money along with future projects of vandalism” were found, along with ID thought to belong to the famed anonymous street artist, which allegedly identified him as Liverpool-born Paul Homer.

However, a quick Google search shows that the quotes were originally published in 2013 on hoax website on PRLog. Read the rest of the story here.

Online Video Game Shooter Gets Swatted “Live on Camera”

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

UPDATE: A more indepth look, via Emerson Damerson, at “swatting” in the online gaming sphere — The dark side of livestreaming entertainment, by Richard Lewis, The Kernel, October 12th, 2014.


Live Stream Captures SWAT Team Charging Into Gamer’s Office
by Cate Matthews
The Huffington Post
August 28, 2014

When YouTuber Jordan Mathewson began his live stream Wednesday, playing a first person-shooter video game, he wasn’t expecting to end his session on the floor with real guns trained on him.

Watch the video from local Denver news:

Mathewson and the rest of his gaming collective apparently fell victim to a prank known as “swatting,” where hoaxers force an armed police response by calling in a false report on rival gamers.

Kootra Gets Swatted News Report YouTubeMathewson was about two hours into a game of “Counter-Strike” at the collective’s office in Littleton, Colorado, when he heard a commotion outside his door. A SWAT team was searching the place, and they were about to charge into his office. As seen in the video, he quickly picked up on what was happening. (more…)

Barbie Iconography

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Filed under: Parody, The Big One

Two Argentinian artists, Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini, will present their take on popular culture with “Barbie, The Plastic Religion” on October 11 in Buenos Aires. Read more here.

Plastic prophets: Barbies become religious icons 5

Plastic prophets: Barbies become religious icons 3

via BoingBoing

True Detective’s New Cast Has Big Shoes to Fill

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Filed under: Parody

From Funny or Die: Tiny Detectives with Kate Mara and Ellen Page


The internet was unhappy with the casting of ‘True Detective’ season 2, so the creators have started from scratch with an entirely new show.

Watch the video:
True Detective new cast

via digg

Fame on a Budget

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Instructionals, Media Pranks, Pranksters

From Mark Borkowski:


How to become internet famous for $68
by Kevin Ashton
Medium.com

The secret of online celebrity Santiago Swallow.

1-bW2OsYaSSmgVV9TObfFCQA

Santiago Swallow may be one of the most famous people no one has heard of.

His eyes fume from his Twitter profile: he is Hollywood-handsome with high cheekbones and dirty blond, collar-length hair. Next to his name is one of social media’s most prized possessions, Twitter’s blue “verified account” checkmark. Beneath it are numbers to make many in the online world jealous: Santiago Swallow has tens of thousands of followers. The tweets Swallow sends them are cryptic nuggets of wisdom that unroll like scrolls from digital fortune cookies: “Before you lose weight, find hope,” says one. Another: “To write is to live endlessly.”

His Wikipedia biography explains why: (more…)