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

RIP Jim Walton (1941-2021)

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Prank News, The History of Pranks

I’ve lost another dear friend and co-conspirator to the great cosmos.

Jim Walton in 2019:

Jim Walton in 1987:

Jim was with me for my Vietnamese Christmas Nativity Burning in 1968. Although I had attained a Film Permit for the event in Central Park, the police refused to honor it and arrested numerous “actor” friends including Sam Reeves (left) and Jim Walton (right) for “littering”.

He also, among other things, helped me hang my Fifty Foot Brassiere across the U.S. Treasury Building on Wall Street in 1969.

Watch the video:

A man of many talents and passions from the terrestrial to the celestial, he was always ready to engage in the absurd. A painter, sculptor, jeweler, photographer, astronomer and more, he shared his life with and was greatly loved by a wide swath of creative souls. I will forever miss him.

Joey Skaggs, Jim Walton, Jerry Ida, 1968. Photo by Tetsu Okuhara

“Joey Skaggs: Bad Guys Talent Management Agency” to Screen at Maui Film Festival

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks

From November 17 to December 8, 2021, ANYONE, ANYWHERE can stream the 3rd episode of the new Joey Skaggs oral history series, “Joey Skaggs: Bad Guys Talent Management Agency”, at the Maui Film Festival Speed of Light Virtual Cinema, in Short Film Program #2.

In this short doc, Joey tells a hilarious story about helping his friend Verne Williams become an actor.

Tickets are available here

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Flush the Toilet Hats by Joey Skaggs

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Filed under: Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

Tired of mentally torturing yourself? Flush the toilet.

Watch the video:

Activists Tanked CBS’s “The Activist”

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Creative Activism, Hype, Political Challenges, Spin

Reality TV got caught trying to be real. CBS was casting for a new reality TV show called The Activist where social issue crusaders would be pitted against each other. h/t Naomi

POSTSCRIPT: The loud outcry against this pathetically bad idea resulted in a complete reconfiguring of the show.


Inside ‘The Activist’ Meltdowns as the Entire Shitshow Spiraled Out of Control, by Cheyenne Roundtree. The Daily Beast, September 15, 2021

The backlash against “The Activist” continues, with an open letter and response from host Julianne Hough. The Daily Beast spoke with two activists who were approached by the show.

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway

It took just a few hours for CBS’s new reality competition The Activist to be globally panned. A Frankenstein mashup of a Hunger Games-style dystopian world mixed with hints of Survivor and The Apprentice, the show places six activists into teams and pairs them with a “high-profile public figure” to duke it out in challenges to promote their various causes. At the end of the five-episode series, they will have the chance to pitch their cause at the G20 Summit in Rome. Whoever secures the most funding wins the show.

Instead of world leaders or any sort of mission-driven experts being tapped to host the show, Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough will serve as co-hosts and offer up advice to the contestants.

The Daily Beast reviewed the six contestants’ social media accounts—including TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram profiles—which were all created in August. One posted, “Help me win by commenting and liking my posts through the next few missions!” Another contestant thanked his followers for donating to his GoFundMe, which went towards covering the unpaid time off he took as an elementary teacher in order to compete on the show.

Needless to say, the announcement of a show that pits serious causes against one another and then relies on superficial social media metrics to determine which campaign is more successful—in the middle of global pandemic—did not go over well.

Read the rest here.

Apparently, Reality is a Spectrum

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Media Pranks, Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Spin

Fictional ‘influencers’ with millions of followers are taking over TikTok, by Andrew Court, New York Post, October 12, 2021

“Sydney,” “Tia” and “Ollie.”

Some social media influencers appear to lead lives that seem too good to be true — and now it turns out that that’s actually the case.

Over the past eight months, entertainment startup FourFront has created 22 fictional “TikTok influencers,” hiring writers to craft their scripts and real-life actors to play them.

Each day, the actors upload new videos to the respective TikTok accounts, detailing their characters’ latest fictional exploits for hundreds of thousands of followers.

Collectively, the characters have amassed a whopping 281 million video views, Insider reports, with FourFront creating a new frontier in scripted storytelling on the social media app.

Read the rest of the story here.

It Was In The Cards…

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks

39 years after JoJo, the King of the New York Gypsies and leader of Gypsies Against Stereotypical Propaganda (G.A.S.P), launched a media campaign calling for the renaming of the Gypsy Moth, The New York Times reports that the Entomological Society of America is removing gypsy moth as its recognized common name (pdf of NY Times article).

The full story is on joeyskaggs.com.

Brilliant Anti-Gun Violence Activism

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

Former NRA President David Keene, and gun rights activist John Lott neglected to do their own background checks when they were invited to speak at the graduation ceremony of a non-existent high school in Las Vegas.


A Parkland Victim’s Dad Tricked A Former NRA President Into Speaking At A Fake Graduation, by Amber Jamieson, Buzzfeed News, June 23, 2021

Instead, the 3,044 empty seats represented the students who did not graduate this year because they were killed by gun violence.

In a speech to the James Madison Academy 2021 graduating class, David Keene, a former NRA president and current board member of the gun rights group, called on the teens to fight those looking to implement tighter gun restrictions.

“I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent those from proceeding,” he said, to a Las Vegas stadium of thousands of socially distanced chairs on June 4.

“An overwhelming majority of you will go on to college, while others may decide their dream dictates a different route to success,” said Keene. “My advice to you is simple enough: follow your dream and make it a reality.”

In a speech to the James Madison Academy 2021 graduating class, David Keene, a former NRA president and current board member of the gun rights group, called on the teens to fight those looking to implement tighter gun restrictions.

“I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent those from proceeding,” he said, to a Las Vegas stadium of thousands of socially distanced chairs on June 4.

“An overwhelming majority of you will go on to college, while others may decide their dream dictates a different route to success,” said Keene. “My advice to you is simple enough: follow your dream and make it a reality.”

The full article and more videos are here, complete with former NRA President David Keene’s, author and gun rights activist John Lott’s self-righteous perspective on the prank.

A Culinary Triumph with Wool

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

Behind the scenes video showing how Andrea Love’s latest Cooking with Wool installment came together.

Find more of Andrea Love’s incredible stop motion with wool videos here.

The Guerrilla Girls Are Asking:

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Literacy, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

“Are there more naked women than women artists in museums?”
The Male Graze


ACTIVISM: Does art imitate life or life imitate art?, by Anne Douglas, Morning Star Online, June 25, 2021

That’s the question posed by no-holds-barred activists The Guerrilla Girls in their latest assault on male behaviour in the arts

Pic credit: Rob Melen, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea

GUERRILLA GIRLS, the anonymous group of US feminist female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world, are bringing their unique form of “culture jamming” to billboard displays across Britain.

They formed in New York City in 1985 with the mission of highlighting gender and racial inequality in the visual arts community and, to remain anonymous, members don gorilla masks and use pseudonyms referencing deceased female artists.

Their latest project involves large-scale billboards across Britain in iconic locations from Glasgow Barrowlands to London Bridge, countryside locations and seaside towns until July 18.

They are part of The Male Graze which explores bad male behaviour through the lens of art history.

“What art historians call the male gaze, the masculine, heterosexual perspective in European and American art, mostly by white men, that depicts women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer, we call The Male Graze,” The Guerrilla Girls said.

“Lots of women are naked in post-colonial Western art. Some are idle: sleeping, splayed out on beds and couches, lounging around with their friends, bathing and maybe even dancing.

“When active, there is usually a sexual element present — voyeurism, seduction, harassment, assault, rape and sometimes murder.

Read the full article here.

Proof You Can Fool Some of the People Most of the Time

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Urban Legends

Russian official admits staging bogus yeti sightings to attract tourists to Siberia, by Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post, April 9, 2021

Aman Tuleev with Vladimir Makuta (right) and a man dressed in yeti costume.

It was an abominable Russian snow job.

Aman Tuleyev — one of President Vladimir Putin’s longest-serving regional leaders — has copped to arranging bogus sightings of the yeti to attract tourists in Siberia, East2West News reported.

Tuleyev, 76, who was governor of Kemerovo Oblast from 1997 to 2018, ordered a tall bureaucrat to wear an Abominable Snowman outfit so he could be spotted in the bushes by visitors to the cash-strapped Siberian region.

Read the rest here.

Join Us at New York City’s 36th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade!

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, Urban Legends

NYC April Fools' Day Parade jester

The New York April Fools’ Committee Is Proud to Announce:
NEW YORK CITY’S 36th ANNUAL APRIL FOOLS’ DAY PARADE

“DENY, DENY, LIE, LIE!”

The only New York City parade dedicated to conspiracy theorists!

New York’s irreverent April Fools’ Day Parade, poking fun at the past year’s displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright stupidity, is back for the 36th year!

The public is invited to create outrageous floats and dress up as look-alikes in colorful costumes to reflect the folly of the nuttiest politicians, crooked corporate leaders, silly celebrities, and whoever else has proved to be a total fool in the past year.

Floats should be no wider than 10’ and no longer than 30’. They can be self-propelled, towed, pushed or pulled. Customized bicycles, tricycles, baby carriages and helium balloons are welcome. The Parade Committee assumes no liability for damage caused by satire.

The theme of the parade this year is “DENY, DENY, LIE, LIE!” The parade’s Grand Marshall is Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a sombrero dragging a rolling suitcase. He’ll be followed by the QAnon Marching Band singing the Village People’s “Macho Man.” Color commentary will be provided by former Fox News commentator Lou Dobbs. Security will be provided by the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who will be standing back and standing by.

The parade will lead off with Donald Trump Jr. driving a Trump 2024 Campaign Bus. Anyone voicing opposition to his dad’s claims of voter fraud will be promptly thrown under the bus. Next up is the Georgia Republican Election Officials Float waving 11,780 Biden votes they’ve miraculously found for Trump. This will be followed by a float with a Scale Model of Mount Rushmore with Trump’s Face Added, an Exhibition of Displaced Confederate Statues, and a Shipping Container brimming with Stolen Podiums, Flags, Computers, Important Papers, and Cell Phones from the January 6 Capitol Insurrection. All of these and some Spin Art attached to a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) on the Mobile Ethereum Mining Float will be auctioned by Christie’s to help fund next year’s event (Cryptocurrency only).

Visit http://aprilfoolsdayparade.com for more details.

Banksy’s Prison Escape

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

A new bold and evocative public work of art from Banksy


Banksy Scaled the Prison That Once Jailed Oscar Wilde to Paint His Latest Mural, by Sarah Rose Sharp, Hyperalleric.com, March 5, 2021

Banksy confirmed the artwork in a clever video stitched together with a Bob Ross tutorial.

Blockbuster street artist Banksy has laid claim to his latest work of public art — an olde tyme prison escape stenciled on the wall of the defunct HM Reading Prison in Reading, Berkshire, England. The prison, also known as Reading Gaol, was built in 1844 and operated until early 2014. Until this week, it was perhaps most famous for housing writer Oscar Wilde during a two-year imprisonment (1895-1897) after a conviction for “gross indecency.” Following his release, Wilde published The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a poem that narrates the 1896 hanging of Charles Thomas Woodridge, convicted of murdering his wife.

The Banksy mural features a figure in prison stripes and a cap. He appears to be climbing down the exterior brick wall on a rope ladder instead of a ream of paper, anchored by a typewriter. The image is likely an allusion to Wilde as Reading’s famous inmate and his subsequent poetic work that both documents Woodridge’s hanging while also identifying with him as a fellow prisoner.

Watch the Instagram video:

The artist left his work open to speculation for a few days before taking to Instagram with a video documenting the mural’s clandestine application, with narration supplemented by overlay from Bob Ross’s famous public access painting program, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. The audio selections first seem to merely narrate the creation of the mural, details of which are captured in the tight halo of the artist’s headlamp, but once we cut to shots of the mural in full view the following day, the audio clips telegraph the artist’s statement on the work. Read the whole article here.

Oregon Documentary Film Festival Director Interviews Director Judy Drosd

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

From Mikel Fair, “We had an opportunity to catch up with director of the independent film documentary film Joey Skaggs: Bad Guys Talent Management Agency, which screened at Oregon Documentary Film Festival Winter 2021. The screening on February 28, 2021 was a live drive-in theater screening on the Film Festival Circuit.

Judy Drosd Interview, Film Festival Circuit, March 1, 2021

Ted Cruz Pinata: You CAN Beat It With a Stick.

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Filed under: Political Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters

He’s the life of the party now..


Sen. Ted Cruz Piñatas Created at Dallas Party Store, by Holley Ford, nbcdfw.com, February 22, 2021

First. it was former President Donald Trump, then U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Now, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has his own piñata courtesy of a Dallas party store.

Last week, Cruz sparked widespread outrage for flying from Houston to Cancun, Mexico for a family vacation as millions of his fellow Texans endured historically low temperatures, widespread power outages and water losses. Read the whole article here.

Where Were You on Valentine’s Day 52 Years Ago?

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks

In 1969 on Valentine’s Day, artist Joey Skaggs satirized male chauvinist Wall Street workers by stretching a fifty foot brassiere across the U.S. Treasury building on Wall Street in New York City. He called it his Big Bust.

Read the whole story here.

50′ Bra Video (no audio)

The back story on Francine Gottfried (from Wikipedia)

Francine Gottfried (born 1947) is a clerical worker in New York City’s Financial District who acquired sudden brief celebrity when, in the space of two weeks in September 1968, increasing numbers of men began watching her as she walked to work. Newspapers dubbed her “Wall Street’s Sweater Girl” as her curvaceous figure seemed to be the sole reason that crowds formed spontaneously around her whenever she appeared in the financial district.

Gottfried started working at Chemical Bank in the financial district on May 27, 1968. By late August, a small band of creeps had noticed her, and that she always followed the same route. They timed her daily arrival and started spreading the word to their colleagues and co-workers. For three weeks, the band of gawkers grew exponentially larger until on September 18 there were 2,000 people waiting for her. (more…)