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

James “The Amazing” Randi, RIP

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Filed under: Illusion and Magic, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, The History of Pranks, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction, Urban Legends

The world of social activism has lost another warrior.

I had the pleasure of meeting James Randi, a magician and great debunker of fake psychics and other charlatans, in 1986 when we both appeared on The Afternoon Show, a San Francisco TV talk show on KPIX. We both performed magic tricks. He removed the male host’s watch from his wrist. I removed the female host’s panties. (Having prepared ahead of time to appear on the show along with him, I had hidden a pair of female panties in my pocket and pulled them out to top Randi’s magic trick.) Riotous laughter ensued.

He later was the narrator of an Arts & Entertainment documentary called Scams, Schemes and Scoundrels which covered numerous dead scoundrels and me. You can watch the clip here.

Read his Obit in The New York Times

The Art of Protest, a New Film by Indecline

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

Check out Indecline’s new film in Rolling Stone. h/t Dino


From: Indecline Debuts ‘The Art of Protest’ Documentary, Rolling Stone

In activist-artist collective Indecline’s new documentary, protest art is shown as not only relevant, but necessary for change

When Indecline started work on their documentary The Art of Protest in late 2018, they wanted to tell the history of resistance art. Over the previous two years — since they broke onto the national consciousness with their naked-Trump, guerilla-art instillation The Emperor Has No Balls, the activist-artist collective has staged numerous pieces of public art in protest of the Trump presidency. To tell the story, they reached out to Colin Day (director of Saving Banksy) and started shopping around the idea to streaming services. But as the pandemic unfolded, and the Black Lives Matter movement reignited across the streets of the nation, their mission changed. As a representative for Indecline puts it: “What was once set up to be a deep dive into the history of resistance art, soon became a ‘call to action.’”

Now, the 45-minute film — executive produced and distributed by Zero Cool films and premiering here on Rolling Stone — traces the history of protest art, from the Civil Rights movement through the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. It does so in a way that is equal parts gut-wrenching and exhilarating, illustrating how despite the passage of time, little has changed. To this end, they were careful in their curation of who to talk to: not only did they bring in the heavy hitters most associated with the modern protest-art movement — like Shephard Fairey, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Tom Morello, and Dave Navarro (who also helped to finance the film) — they were careful to incorporate a wider range of voices. Leaders from youth-run 501(c) The Sunrise Movement talk about uniting movements, while the Yes Men discuss bringing absurdity to Capitol Hill. Atlanta’s Ash Nash remembers organizing the “Kaeperbowl” in Atlanta in 2019, spurring artists across the city to paint images of Colin Kaepernick in public places as the Super Bowl rolled into town. Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, speaks to being literally saved from death row by protest art.

At the heart of the film is Indecline’s work over the past four years. Read the rest of this article here.

As Bugs Bunny would say: Comment Ca Va, Doc?

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters

Whether you’re raising awareness about food waste or trying to keep people from smoking, tons of carrots seem to be the way to do it…


32 tons of carrots dumped on London street for art installation, by Ben Hooper, September 30, 2020

Angry French tobacconists dump tons of carrots on Paris streets, by Robert Myles, July 24 2015

The Writing’s on the Wall

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Filed under: Creative Activism, First Amendment Issues, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Propaganda and Disinformation

Read a Trump lie on air at Radio Free Brooklyn and help promote voter registration.


Wall of Lies

A public art project displaying more than 20,000 Trump lies with voter registration drive

October 3rd – October 4th noon to 7pm
at Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street, Bushwick

Independent community radio station Radio Free Brooklyn (RFB) announces “Wall of Lies,” a groundbreaking visual art project one month before the presidential election of 2020. The project demonstrates the unprecedented lack of honesty from our current Commander-in-Chief.

Wall of Lies is a 50-foot by 10-foot outdoor mural with the 20,000+ lies told by Donald Trump (so far) while in office, documented and fact-checked by The Washington Post. Wall of Lies will be on public view on Grattan St from noon Saturday Oct 3rd until 7p Sunday October 4th.

“The countdown to Election Day is underway and Americans are already beginning to vote across the nation, in this time where misinformation is rampant, we feel it’s vital to use our voice to call out these untruths in a visually-provoking way,” says RFB Executive Director Tom Tenney.

The socially-distanced live event accompanying the mural includes a voter registration drive, and a live Radio Free Brooklyn broadcast on Sunday from 3-6 pm, Radio Free Brooklyn will be inviting members of the public to read some of Trump’s most egregious lies on the air.

“The original idea of the project was for a radio marathon, 24/7 on-air reading of all of Trumps’ lies on Radio Free Brooklyn for a full week before the election,” said Tenney, who has been in touch with The Washington Post and granted access to its database of Trump’s false and misleading statements. “However, once the pandemic hit and our operations moved to remote locations, the project was shelved. It was artist Phil Buehler who suggested reviving it as a visual art project.”

“It was just too good an idea not to happen somehow,” Buehler added, “since I’ve been making large-scale panoramic photographs of political events, a gigantic mural of all the lies seemed the perfect match to Tom’s original idea. Seen from a distance, it looks like chaos – perhaps an apt metaphor for this presidency, but when you step closer, you can read the individual lies, which are in chronological order color-coded by categories like coronavirus, Russia, immigration, the environment and jobs. Then when you step back, you can recognize patterns in Trump’s lying.”

The final piece of the project came together when Heather Rush, the owner of Pine Box Rock Shop, coordinated with grassroots voting activists Rep Your Block to set up voter registration next to the mural.

Read more in the Bushwick Daily: “Wall of Lies” Mural in Bushwick Will Display Over 20,000 Donald Trump Lies.

Political Activism as Publicity Stunt

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Satire

Sacha Baron Cohen congratulates Donald Trump on the occasion of his massive, very great victory over Joe Biden in the first presidential debate of 2020.


Sacha Baron Cohen capitalizes on debate with fake ‘Borat’ Trump endorsement, by Ian Mohr, Page Six, September 29, 2020

Sacha Baron Cohen used the debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday night to seemingly drum up buzz for his expected “Borat” sequel by releasing a fake Trump endorsement from Kazakhstan.

It was reported earlier in the day that Amazon had bought the new “Borat” film.

Baron Cohen has in the past stolen the spotlight at events from the Cannes Film Festival to the MTV Movie Awards to promote his films in character. This time, he released a video on a Twitter feed purporting to be the Republic of Kazakhstan. The clip also included a logo for the fictional group, Kazakhs Against Foreign Meddling.

The trailer posted to Twitter proclaims, “Vote for Trump or you will be crushed.” It also calls Trump the “strongest premier in history,” and makes fun of the president’s stands on the coronavirus pandemic, Black Live Matter, #MeToo and other hot-button topics.

But the clip says as a disclaimer, “This ad may contain false information.” Baron Cohen has been a vocal Trump opponent in Hollywood.

Read the whole story here.

Shining a Light on Worker Protests at the Guggenheim

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Media Pranks, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

Guerrilla projections highlight workers concerns.


“Open for Exploitation”: Artists Project Messages on Guggenheim Museum Ahead of Reopening, by Hakim Bishara, Hyperallergic.com, September 29, 2020

The artist-activist groups Artists for Workers and the Illuminator organized the projections in solidarity with the Guggenheim’s unionized workers and workers of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

A guerrilla projection on the Guggenheim Museum’s facade, reading “Seeking New Management” (all images from Illuminator)

Yesterday, September 28, the artist-activist groups Artists for Workers (AFW) and the Illuminator descended on the Guggenheim Museum in New York for a series of guerrilla projections on its facade. The action was held in solidarity with the Guggenheim’s unionized workers and workers of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi ahead of the museum’s New York reopening this week (September 30 for members and October 3rd for the general public).

Traffic was scarce on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue when an old white van parked in front of the Guggenheim at 7:40pm last night. The vehicle, retrofitted to raise a large projector through an opening in its roof, belonged to the Illuminator. This is the third time that the group directed its projector at the Guggenheim’s spiral structure: It did it with the group Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) in 2016 and 2014, and with Visual AIDS in 2015.

Members of the Illuminator setting up their projector in front of the Guggenheim

Read more here.

Internet Reflections: The World Helps Wife Prank Husband

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

Wife’s prank on sleeping husband goes viral. Read the whole story on CNN here.

The Mouse That Roared Reboot

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Parody, Prank News, Pranksters

Meet the man, His Excellency President Kevin Baugh, who runs his own country, the Republic of Molossia, inside the U.S.
h/t Eli Gesner

Click to watch a video on Instagram from @cnn

Alternative animated video about The Republic of Molossia

Always Check Your Sources Before You Get Outraged

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Propaganda and Disinformation

“Ghostwriter” global disinformation campaign takes aim at NATO


Hackers post fake stories on real news sites ‘to discredit Nato’, BBC News, July 30, 2020

Hackers have broken into real news websites and posted fake stories stirring up anti-Nato sentiment, a cyber-security firm has warned.

The disinformation campaign, nicknamed “ghostwriter”, has been ongoing since 2017, according to FireEye researchers.

It is designed to “chip away” at support for Nato in Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland, they said.

While the false stories are “aligned with Russian security interests”, it is not known who is behind the attack.

The disinformation campaign uses “falsified news articles, quotes, correspondence and other documents designed to appear as coming from military officials and political figures in the target countries,” FireEye said.

In some cases, false news stories were posted on real news websites without permission.

The attackers apparently gained access to the CMS of the target website and replaced old articles with their own content, or posted entirely new false articles.

They would try to spread the fake stories on social media before they were taken down.

In one example from last year, a Lithuanian news site published a fake article claiming that German soldiers had desecrated a Jewish cemetery.

In another, a fake message was posted to the Polish War Studies Academy website, claiming to be from the organisation’s commander. It called for troops to fight against “the American occupation”. Read the rest of the story here.

Throwing Money Around Can Lead to Jail Time

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters

Bank Robber Prank yields fun for some and felony charge for others. Pretending to rob a bank is a YouTube prank “genre”. These guys had fun…

Bank Robber Prank, September 20, 2019 (Over 10M views on YouTube)

These guys, not so much. Stokes twins BANK ROBBER PRANK (gone wrong), March 30, 2020

And, then…

Twin YouTube Stars Alan and Alex Stokes Charged with Felonies After Staging Bank Robbery Pranks, by Ashley Boucher, People, August 5, 2020

Twin YouTubers have been charged with felony counts after they pretended to be bank robbers for prank videos filmed in California last year.

Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, are each facing a felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced in a press release Wednesday.

The twins are accused of dressing in all black and wearing ski masks while carrying around duffel bags of cash last October.

According to the DA’s office, Alan and Alex ordered an Uber driver while posing as bank robbers on October 15, beginning the caper around 2:30 p.m. The driver refused to drive them, and a bystander believed they were trying to carjack the Uber driver.

When police arrived, they ordered the Uber driver out of the car at gunpoint, releasing him when they realized he was not involved. Read the whole story here.

New Listing!

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Political Pranks, Satire

Vote and evict him! h/t DJD

Statues That Should Be Torn Down

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

“There shall be no golden idols…”


Golden ‘Statues’ Memorializing Donald Trump’s Most Divisive Moments Have Popped Up Around Washington, DC, Courtesy of an Ad Guru, Sarah Cascone, ArtNet News, July 21, 2020

Bryan Buckley hopes to remind voters of just how poorly Trump has handled the challenges of 2020.

Bryan Buckley, Now Go Back to School. Photo courtesy of the Trump Statue Initiative.

Big, shiny, gold statues of Donald Trump sound like they would be right up the president’s alley—but a new art project, titled the “Trump Statue Initiative,” uses the figures to instead memorialize his worst moments of 2020.

Street performers painted head-to-toe in metallic gold paint posed as still as stone atop massive plinths that hailed Trump as the “destroyer of civil rights and liberties.” The trio of “statues” appeared over the weekend in sites across Washington, DC.

Filmmaker Bryan Buckley decided to stage the project in part because of the way public statues have made headlines all summer, with activists outraging Trump with their efforts to remove memorials to Confederate leaders and other problematic historical figures. In response, the president has not only beefed up the law against vandalizing statues, but also issued an executive order to create a “National Garden of American Heroes.”

Bryan Buckley, The Bunker. Photo courtesy of the Trump Statue Initiative.

“I noticed that Trump was obsessed with statues,” Buckley told AdAge. “I felt like the best thing we could do was to create these very honest statues of the legacy he’s living right now, that let the world see exactly who he is.” Read the whole article here.

Essential TikTok: Dead Fish Dating Photo Ratings

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Filed under: Parody, Satire, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

Would there be life without TikTok?


The Men of Fish Tinder Are Still the Internet’s Favorite Punching Bag, by Logan Mahan, InsideHook, July 22, 2020

If there’s a photo of you proudly hoisting up a dead fish on the internet, beware

The TikToks utilize the video-sharing app’s green-screen effect that allows users to upload screenshots and photos as a background, along with a distorted voice filter (a popular format used for “rating” anything on TikTok).

While the fish Tinder TikToks are becoming more popular now, the trend initially started back in May, when 29-year-old Cala Murry posted the first fish ranking video to the app. She has since spawned an entire subgenre of imitators. Watch Cala Murry’s Tinder Fish Rating here.

Read the whole article here.

We Are The Worst!

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Filed under: Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

Founders Sing says, “The worst among us have come together to record a charity single to benefit… themselves!”

Watch the video:

John Lewis, RIP

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

From @rebecca.solnit: “John Lewis, bigger than Robert E. Lee, Richmond, VA, last night.”