Blog Posts

Veteran Crank Yankers Celebrate the Lost Art of the Prank Call

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks

In the ’90s, Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers showcased popular comedians and kept alive the hallowed cultural tradition of the phone prank. Here, stars Adam Carolla and Jim Florentine reminisce and reflect.


“Crank Yankers’ Adam Carolla and Jim Florentine on the ‘Lost Art’ of the Prank Call”
by Jake Lauer
Paste
June 1, 2017
There's something nostalgic about prank phone calls. They're the product of a bygone era, and if you were born before the invention of caller ID, they were likely a part of your childhood.

"Maybe there's a nostalgic feel to them because you can't do them anymore, says Jim Florentine, one of the stars of Comedy Central's Crank Yankers and the voice of fan-favorite character Special Ed. "Now you get harassment charges. It's really a lost art."

It's been 15 years since comedians Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel introduced the world to Crank Yankers, the hilariously offensive show where puppets, voiced by comedians, harass unsuspecting people with prank phone calls. The show was a huge hit, running for four seasons-three on Comedy Central and one on MTV 2.

Crank Yankers featured some of the biggest names in comedy, including Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan and Dane Cook (before he became a household name). Carolla, who produced the show with Kimmel, voiced Mr. Birchum, a crotchety Vietnam War veteran who berated anyone who spoke with him.

Paste spoke with Carolla and Florentine about Crank Yankers's 15th anniversary, the art of the perfect prank call and the unaired calls that went too far. Read more.


How a Pig Rescues a Goat To Promote a New TV Series

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts

Editor’s note: Media literacy alert!

  • Stunt went viral in September of 2012 and is reported in the NY Times the day before the TV series for which it was created premieres,
  • Producers avow that the media was never their target and they did nothing to promote the fake video,
  • This is a great example, in the evolution of marketing, of guerilla hoaxing tactics being co-opted for commercial purposes

  • From Nancy:


    Really Cute, but Totally Faked
    by Dave Itzkoff
    New York Times
    February 26, 2013

    It seemed too adorable to be fake, but it was too good to be true.

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    On Sept. 19 a 30-second video appeared on YouTube, depicting a baby goat that had become stuck in the pond of a petting zoo and that was heroically rescued with a helpful nudge from a pig that swam out to it.

    Within hours the video had been posted around the Web; it had been shared with the Twitter followers of Time magazine and Ellen DeGeneres; and it had been broadcast on NBC”™s “Today” show and its “Nightly News” program, ABC”™s “Good Morning America” and Fox News, where the “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade said of it, “You couldn”™t do this at Warner Brothers as a cartoon and make it seem more realistic.”

    But the video was thoroughly staged. It was created for a new Comedy Central series, “Nathan for You,” with the help of some 20 crew members, including animal trainers, scuba divers and humane officers, and required the fabrication of a plastic track to guide the pig to the goat (which was never in jeopardy).

    Video by jebdogrpm

    That a faked video had been so rapidly disseminated by unskeptical news outlets was both surprising and dispiritingly familiar to professional experts on the news media. (more…)