Practical Jokes and Mischief

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New York’s Bad Boys

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Practical Jokes and Mischief, The World of the Prank

3 Notorious April Fools Day Pranks Played by Notable New Yorkers
by Nicole Levy
DNAInfo New York
March 31, 2016

Literary journalist George Plimpton, pop star David Bowie and career prankster Joey Skaggs have all set up hoaxes that fooled the media and the masses. Getty/Evan Agostini, Bryan Bedder; Flickr/Andres Rodriguez

Literary journalist George Plimpton, pop star David Bowie and career prankster Joey Skaggs have all set up hoaxes that fooled the media and the masses. Getty/Evan Agostini, Bryan Bedder; Flickr/Andres Rodriguez


April Fools’ Day is this Friday, and we sincerely hope you don’t get taken for one.

Concern for your own dignity doesn’t, however, exclude you from enjoying the pranks played on others. We’ve culled three of our favorite gags from the annals of recent history, all orchestrated by notable New Yorkers:

Literary journalist George Plimpton, pop star David Bowie and career prankster Joey Skaggs have all set up hoaxes that fooled the media and the masses. Getty/Evan Agostini, Bryan Bedder; Flickr/Andres Rodriguez

► The 15th Annual New York City April Fools Day Parade
On April 1, 2000, television crews from CNN and the Fox affiliate WNYW arrived at the intersections of 59th Street and Fifth Avenue at noon, expecting to cover a non-existent parade.

According to the press release they’d received, the 15th Annual NYC April Fools Day Parade would march down the avenue to Washington Square Park. It would feature “Beat ’em, Bust ’em, Book ’em Floats created by the New York, Los Angeles and Seattle Police Departments, portraying themes of brutality, corruption and incompetence,” and a “Mayor Rudy ‘Doody’ Giuliani” lookalike throwing elephant dung at passersby.

Longtime media prankster Joey Skaggs had been issuing fake news releases for the non-event recognizing “the day designated to commemorate the perennial folly of mankind” since 1986.

(Last year, he hooked the Chinese news agency Sinovision, which ran a 4-minute preview before April Fools’ Day.) The tradition continues this year, with an announcement of the 31st annual parade.

Read the rest of the article here.


Long May Your Refrigerator Run

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters, Sociology and Psychology of Pranks, The History of Pranks

Gadgetary advances be damned, phone pranks endure in both old- and new-school iterations and seem to be intertwined with the human drive to communicate.

The Atlantic publishes a thinkpiece on the history and uncertain future of the artform.


“Do People Still Make Prank Phone Calls?”
By Julie Beck
The Atlantic
April 1, 2016

phonepranksOnly a rube or possibly an alien would pick up an unknown phone call, hear the question “Is your refrigerator running?” and answer in the affirmative. And so only the luckiest of amateur mischief-makers would get the satisfaction of getting to drop the “Well, you better go catch it!” before cackling away into the sunset.

And yet, amazingly, this doesn’t seem to be the oldest trick in the book when it comes to telephone pranks. In her 1976 paper “Telephone Pranks: A Thriving Pastime,” Trudier Harris reports that people “over 50 years old” remembered the old refrigerator gag, which, if they pulled it as teens, means it could’ve been around in the 1930s or earlier.

But other corny jokes were also around before the ‘30s, according to another paper, ones like:

“This is May.”
“May who?”
“May-onnaise.”

Most middle-class families had home phones by the 1920s or so, according to Claude Fischer, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. And in the early days of the residential telephone, it was taken very seriously, as a tool for serious business, and so “children could trick unsuspecting adults fairly easily,” writes Marilyn Jorgensen in her paper “A Social-Interactional Analysis of Phone Pranks.” Read more.


The Return of Sweden’s Giant Snow Penis

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Filed under: Not for Kids, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters
This post may not be suitable for everyone. Please proceed at your own risk!

Snow Penis

“Sweden’s Giant Snow Penis Was Erased, So This Man Created an Even Bigger One”
by Ed Mazza
Huffington Post
January 22, 2016

BIgger Swedish Snow Penis

The giant snow penis cannot be stopped.

Emilian Sava, one of the workers who had to clear a giant snow penis from a park in Sweden, felt so guilty about the act of phallic vandalism that he erected his own giant snow schlong, according to The Local.

And in what may be the world’s greatest display of penis envy, the new snow penis is much more massive than the old one.

The original penis was carved into the snow over a frozen moat in Kungsparken (King’s Park) in the city of Gothenburg. It quickly aroused complaints from members of the community. Read more.


Improv Everywhere: Global No Pants Subway Ride 2016 – This Sunday!

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

We’ve posted the full details for the The 15th Annual No Pants Subway Ride, taking place on January 10, 2016 in New York and dozens of cities around the world. Participate!

Improv Everywhere No Pants Subway 2015

Details for NYC
Details for other cities around the world

How Actors Cry

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Filed under: Parody, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters, The World of the Prank

I got your motivation right here, cubby!

The Facebook-based entertainers of My University speculate on theatrical method.

WhyActorsCry
Click image to watch.

Thanks Andrea!

Happy Halloween!

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Satire

Pumpkin problem

thanks Erin


Aladdin Magic Carpet Prank

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Filed under: Instructionals, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Aladdin in Real Life: Behind The Scenes

See how we did it
Directed by Casey Neistat
PrankvsPrank Facebook

thanks Andrea

April Fools’ Day 2015 Prank Round-up

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News

April Fools’ day is upon us and the Internet is awash with well-funded corporate pranks, with Google once again leading the pack. For example, check out Google reversed at http://com.google. And, the Google Japan Panda product launch here. Or, you can play Pac-Man on your very own street at http://maps.google.com.

And, oh… Google says Australia is moving north

Beyond the all-seeing, all-knowing world of Google, there’s much, much more funny stuff all of which will be updated throughout the day on The Telegraph’s Best Spoofs and Pranks in Pictures; LifeHacker’s April Fools’ Day 2015 Spoilers: All The Fake Stories And Pranks Revealed; and Gamespot’s Video Game Joke Roundup.


College Rejection with a Sense of Humor

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Filed under: High School Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

Somebody Give This High Schooler An Award For Her (Fake) Harvard Rejection Letter
by Ryan Grenoble
Huffington Post
March 6, 2015

The “Harvard rejection letter” that went viral earlier this week? Yeah, it’s fake. But you should still read it.

Molly McGaan, the letter’s author and a student at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, wrote the cheeky piece of satire for her school’s humor publication, “Citizen Poke,” and it viral — for obvious, hilarious reasons:

Fake Harvard Rejection Letter

Read more about this here.


A Chat With Bob Schriner, the Prankster Behind the Wendy’s Deep-Fryer Call

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Full disclosure: I, Emerson Dameron, am a proud contributor to various Chunklet projects. My dividends from Chunklet’s revenue-sharing plan can be counted on one middle finger. I consider many in the Chunklet braintrust, including Bob Schriner and Henry Owings, my friends.


Henry Owings launched Chunklet as a zine in the ’90s in Athens, Georgia, after becoming disillusioned with proper music journalism. It drew in a range of writers, musicians, music-industry laborers, and comedians who wanted to poke fun at the commercial punk- and indie-rock establishment. Since then, it has released a range of entertainment products, taken full advantage of the internet, and showcased the savvy of phone pranksters including Earles and Jensen, erstwhile affiliates of The Best Show on WFMU.

In one of Chunklet’s prouder moments, contributor Bob Schriner achieved some minor digital notoriety by screwing with a Wendy’s fry cook.

Many, including our publishers, have expressed some skepticism about what really went on with this call. We gave Schriner an opportunity to explain himself. (more…)

Improv Everywhere: No Pants Subway Ride 2015

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

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


No Pants Subway Ride 2015

On Sunday, January 11th, 2015 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in over 60 cities in over 25 countries around the world. In New York, [the] 14th Annual No Pants Subway Ride had over 4,000 participants, spread out over seven meeting points and eleven subway lines.

no pants subway 2015

Watch the video:

More photos and info here.

Michigan Porta-Potty Takes Flight

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Screen shot 2014-12-17 at 8.45.30 AMIt takes a special sort of engineer to look at a common port-o-let, think “this brave soul longs for flight,” and make it happen. Bob Bylander is that engineer.

On Saturday, December 13, a Porta-Potty took to the skies over Southwest Michigan courtesy of Bylander and his compatriots in the Michiana Rocketry Club, a/k/a the Throne Thrusters.

 

Watch the video:

via HuffPo

New York Teenager Confesses to Not Being a Millionaire

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Media Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

The December 15, 2014 issue of New York magazine reported that 17-year-old Mohammed Islam brought down $72 million swapping stocks between classes, but the story quickly dissolved into a mixture of journalistic credulity and outright bullshit. After a cancelled TV appearance and protests from his fellow members of the high school Leaders Investment Club, Islam comes clean in a chat with the New York Observer.


“New York Mag’s Boy Genius Investor Made It All Up”
by Ken Kurson
The New York Observer
December 15, 2014

fullsizerender4It’s been a tough month for fact-checking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is—to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview — ”not true.”

Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the ‘high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”

And now it turns out, the real number is… zero.

In an exclusive interview with Mr. Islam and his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov, who also featured heavily in the New York story, the baby-faced boys who dress in suits with tie clips came clean. Swept up in a tide of media adulation, they made the whole thing up.

Speaking at the offices of their newly hired crisis pr firm, 5WPR, and handled by a phalanx of four, including the lawyer Ed Mermelstein of RheemBell & Mermelstein, Mr. Islam told a story that will be familiar to just about any 12th grader—a fib turns into a lie turns into a rumor turns into a bunch of mainstream media stories and invitations to appear on CNBC.

Here’s how it happened. Read more.

Roman Atwood’s “Killing My Own Kid” Prank

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Filed under: Instructionals, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

In what appears to be normal for this family: Just for fun, to scare the living shit out of his wife, Roman Atwood throws his son over the balcony. He succeeds in scaring the living shit out of her, and 10+ million people tune in.

Watch the video

How did he do it? Watch his behind-the-scenes video:

Snow Art

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Satire

When people up north get creative…

Winter follies

thanks Cheryl