Phone Pranks

Blog Posts

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…)

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.

(more…)

Swatting Ringleader Meets His Demise

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Phone Pranks, Pranksters

People do a lot of things with phones. Some are harmless and potentially amusing. Others can get you tossed in the slammer.

Photo by Eric Richardson

Swatting falls into the latter category. It involves providing an emergency service like 911 with a false tip that provokes an armed police raid on the home of an innocent (and likely terrified) person, be it a personal enemy, a celebrity, or just some guy. These hoaxes are a particular menace for the LAPD, since they happen so often to Hollywood stars.

On Tuesday, Jason Allen Neff pled guilty to running a ring of swatters in various locations. Neff, as it happens, has a long and storied career of hacking activities dating back to the ’90s. He awaits sentencing and faces five years in federal prison. The hostage faker seems poised to become a hostage of his own making.

photo: Eric Richardson, Creative Commons

Toilet Talk In the News

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

For some mischief-makers of the old school, the internet will never compete with the thrill of a phone prank on a befuddled TV newscaster.

When a Los Angeles water main broke and drenched the UCLA campus, ABC7 News wanted answers. To that end, they fielded a call from one “Louis Slungpue,” who may have traced the flood to either a flushed cherry bomb or “a very large dump.”

Watch the video here:

This would be run-of-the-mill local-news tomfoolery were it not for anchor Ellen Leyva’s insistence on dragging it out, keeping her composure, and not getting it.

The sort of people who still make prank calls often share an affinity for poop.

Tom-Cipriano-200In a related item, the Washington Post has an in-depth interview with Tom Cipriano, a/k/a “Captain Janks,” long-term member of an old phone-pranking pantheon based around alpha shock jock Howard Stern and his “nether regions.” After 10,000+ calls, Cipriano is still at it.

“They don’t just give you the news,” he says, “they give a dramatized presentation of the news. All I’m doing is ruining their sensational moment with my sensational moment.”




Movie Guy Prank Call

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Filed under: Parody, Phone Pranks

From Andrea:


Outrage Grows Over Australian 2DayFM UK Hospital Prank

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

Pregnant Kate: Radio Station Faces Backlash
Sky News
December 8, 2012

The CEO of the radio station behind the Duchess of Cambridge hoax call says his DJs are “shattered” by the death of a nurse.11:09am UK, Saturday 08 December 2012

Video: Prank Radio Station Faces Backlash

Two DJs are being offered counselling after the nurse duped by their prank call to the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospital died in a suspected suicide.

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead days after taking the hoax call and putting it through to a nurse on Kate’s ward, who divulged private information about her treatment.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge led tributes to the 46-year-old mother of two, saying they were “deeply saddened” by news of her death.

Flowers have also been left outside the hospital’s nurses’ block, just around the corner from the building where Kate was treated for acute morning sickness.

Major advertisers have dumped 2Day FM and presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian have been taken off air as the station faces a backlash over the disastrous stunt.
(more…)

C-SPAN Gets Hammered with Prank Calls about Romney’s Pennis

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

From “Big Penis” Jon:


Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur of Current TV’s “Young Turks” show discuss C-SPAN’s prank calls about Mitt Romney’s penis size:

Monkey Nuts Prank Caller Gets Rocks Off Live on CNN

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

CNN anchor interviews prank caller live
by ninemsn staff
news.ninemsn.com.au
November 29, 2011

A red-faced CNN anchor was fooled on live television by a prank caller impersonating a US student who had been arrested in Cairo.

The prankster phoned the studio on November 27 pretending to be Gregory Porter, a real 19-year-old student from Philadelphia who was arrested while participating in protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and then released.

Anchor Fredricka Whitfield appeared completely fooled by the caller, who sounded legitimate at first.

He said returning to the US was like “an early Christmas present”.

But the exchange came to a bizarre end when Ms Whitfield asked the caller what he had been doing the night he was arrested.

The man claimed he was “just down there looking” at the protest when the group was “grabbed by police”.

He then thanked his lawyer, his mother, the US embassy in Cairo, the North shore Animal League and Baba Booey’s monkey nuts. (more…)

Yes Man

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

Submitted by Gerant Johnston: I video myself talking to telemarketers. I do it for laughs and I do it to keep them occupied so they have less time to bother other people. I have this joke where I try to see how many times I can consecutively say ‘YES’… and yesterday I beat my record of 27 with a whopping 35. I’m quite proud.


A Prank Call Instructional

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Filed under: How to Pull Off a Prank, Instructionals, Phone Pranks

Proud art of prank calling still worth mastering
by Adrian Lahola-Chomiak
The Gateway
March 28, 2011

These days, with the invention of caller ID and text messaging, it seems that prank calls have more or less fallen by the wayside. But I’m not ready to surrender this classic joke just yet; too many hours in my life have been spent trying to decide who to call and which prank to pull. So for all you wide-eyed, greenhorn, wannabe pranksters out there, here are a few tips on how to transform yourself from a refrigerator runner to a master.

First, let’s review the tools of the trade. There’s the phone, and, well, that’s pretty much it — but you do have to worry about how you use it. You’ll want to mask your voice with a modulator app, like Funny Call from iOKi. This will make you sound like anything from Rebecca Black to a chipmunk. Now that your voice is anonymous — and hilarious — you’ll need to know three simple rules before you call. (more…)

Wisconsin Legislators’ Next Frontier? Stop Those Damn Prank Callers!

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Filed under: First Amendment Issues, Phone Pranks, Prank News

Wisconsin legislature pushing for prank call ban
by Laura Donovan
The Daily Caller
March 2, 2011

A week after Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker received a prank call from blogger Ian Murphy, who posed as conservative billionaire David Koch, two Wisconsin legislators introduced a bill Monday that would ban prank calls, reports the Badger Herald.

Republican state Sen. Mary Lazich and Republican state Rep. Mark Honadel said their measure would forbid deceiving the call’s recipient into believing the caller is someone he or she is not.

“While use of spoofing is said to have some legitimate uses, it can also be used to frighten, harass and potentially defraud,” Lazich and Honadel told the Badger Herald. (more…)

Editor Ian Murphy Masquerading as David Koch Prank Calls Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Political Pranks

Update from Huffington Post 2:28pm: Buffalo Beast Website Goes Down Following Walker, Koch Prank Call. But you can listen to the prank call here or watch the 2 part video below.


Blogger Pranks Wisconsin Gov
Daily Beast
February 23, 2011

Wisconsin’s public workers are still deadlocked in a fierce battle with Gov. Scott Walker, but one blogger has his number—literally and figuratively. Ian Murphy, a writer for the Buffalo Beast, says he posed as businessman David Koch, a major funder of conservative and libertarian causes, and managed to get through to Walker, engaging him in-and recording-a somewhat embarrassing conversation. The ersatz Koch offers favors, draws Walker into an objectifying remark about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, and gets him to tip his hand on a procedural trick to draw Democratic senators back to the state after fleeing to Illinois. Walker’s office confirmed the recordings are genuine on Wednesday. Read it at Buffalo Beast.

Here’s video in two parts of the phone call:

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, part 1

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, part 2

image: dailynews-update.net

Additional links:

  • Scott Walker Gets Punked By Journalist Pretending To Be David Koch, Huffington Post, February 23, 2011
  • Governor Walker’s office confirms prank Koch call, Washington Post, February 23, 2011
  • Unicorn Farm

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    Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

    From Be Nice Art Friends, because prank calls are still funny:


    Bart Simpson, Crank Yankers, your Mom, everyone loves a good prank call, but I feel like no one does it better than Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. The geniuses behind classic American comedy shows* such as, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Steven and Stephen, and of course, the ever beloved Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, have done plenty of pranks in their time, but personally, I’m loving the following:

    *They WILL be.

    Cell Phone Eavesdropping by Tom Mape

    posted by
    Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

    From CMT Comedy Stage – Tom Mape in “Mape in America”


    Click here to watch a video of a Tom Mape phone prank called Cell Phone Eavesdropping

    thanks Linda

    Check out more prank calls from Tom Mabe here and here.

    President Obama Makes Prank Call

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    Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

    Incognit-O phone prank
    by Lukas I. Alpert
    New York Post
    December 23, 2009

    obamaphone-200Move over, Vinny from Queens. There’s a new radio call-in king — and he’s dialing from the White House.

    President Obama played a prank on his friend, outgoing Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, phoning Kaine’s radio show as “Barry from DC” to gripe about traffic.

    The ruse didn’t last long, as Obama quickly said, “Well, Governor Kaine, this is actually the president of the United States calling. I have some questions about traffic in northern Virginia. But rather than go there, I’d just like to say how proud we are of your service.”

    A stunned Kaine said his happiest moment as governor came when Obama was elected president with Virginia’s help.

    photo: dailymail.co.uk

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