List of April Fools' Day jokes

  (Redirected from List of April Fool's Day jokes)

By tradition, in some countries, April 1 or April Fools' Day is marked by practical jokes. Notable practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites, and have even been done in large crowds.

HistoryEdit

  • In February 1708, satirist Jonathan Swift issued an almanac titled Predictions for the Year 1708 by a pseudonym "Isaac Bickerstaff", in which he predicted the death of astrologer John Partridge on 29 March of that year.[1][2]
  • In January 1749, London newspapers published that a showman would squeeze his entire body into a wine bottle at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. However, the story was a bet between Duke of Portland and the Earl of Chesterfield, in which the former wanted to fool the public who filled the house but no performer ever showed up, which eventually led to riots.[3]
  • In 1956, a rhinoceros called "Cacareco" (Portuguese for "rubbish") won a city council seat in São Paulo, Brazil with 100,000 votes, due to a campaign led by students who were tired of the city's mismanagement.[1]

Television stationsEdit

  • Spaghetti trees: The BBC television programme Panorama ran a hoax in 1957, purporting to show the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. They claimed that the despised pest, the spaghetti weevil, had been eradicated. A large number of people contacted the BBC wanting to know how to cultivate their own spaghetti trees. It was, in fact, filmed in St Albans.[4] The editor of Panorama at the time, Michael Peacock, approved the idea, which was pitched by freelance camera operator Charles de Jaeger. Peacock told the BBC in 2014 that he gave de Jaeger a budget of £100. Peacock said the respected Panorama anchorman Richard Dimbleby knew they were using his authoritativeness to make the joke work. He said Dimbleby loved the idea and went at it with relish.[5] Decades later CNN called this broadcast "the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled".[6]
  • In 1962, Swedish national television broadcast a 5-minute special[7] on how one could get color TV by placing a nylon stocking in front of the TV. A rather in-depth description on the physics behind the phenomenon was included. Thousands of people tried it.
  • Smell-O-Vision: In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of a new technology allowing the transmission of odour over the airwaves to all viewers. Many viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial's success.[8] In 2007, the BBC website repeated an online version of the hoax,[9] as did Google in 2013, in tribute.
  • In 1969, the public broadcaster NTS in the Netherlands announced that inspectors with remote scanners would drive the streets to detect people who had not paid their radio/TV tax ("kijk en luistergeld" or "omroepbijdrage"). The only way to prevent detection was to wrap the TV/radio in aluminium foil. The next day all supermarkets were sold out of their aluminium foil, and a surge of TV/radio taxes were being paid.[10]
  • Great Blue Hill eruption prank: On April 1, 1980, Boston television station WNAC-TV aired a fake news bulletin at the end of the 6 o'clock news which reported that Great Blue Hill in Milton, Massachusetts was erupting. The prank resulted in panic in Milton, where some residents began to flee their homes. The executive producer of the 6 o'clock news, Homer Cilley, was fired by the station for "his failure to exercise good news judgment" and for violating the Federal Communications Commission's rules about showing stock footage without identifying it as such.[11][12][13]
  • In 1989, on the BBC television sports show Grandstand, a fight broke out between members of staff directly behind Des Lynam who was commenting on the professionalism of his team. At the end of the show it was revealed to be an April Fools joke.
  • In 2008, the BBC reported on a newly discovered colony of flying penguins. An elaborate video segment was even produced, featuring Terry Jones walking with the penguins in Antarctica, and following their flight to the Amazon rainforest.[14]
  • Netflix April Fools' Day jokes include over-detailing categories of films,[15][16] and adding original programming made up entirely of food cooking.[17][18]

Radio stationsEdit

External audio
 
  New England Suffers Maple Woes, 7:49, April 1, 2005, NPR[19]
  • In 1963, the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs featured a spoof theatrical manager, Sir Harry Whitlohn[20][21][22]
  • Jovian–Plutonian gravitational effect: In 1976, British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told listeners of BBC Radio 2 that unique alignment of two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull making people lighter at precisely 9:47 am that day. He invited his audience to jump in the air and experience "a strange floating sensation". Dozens of listeners phoned in to say the experiment had worked,[23] among them a woman who reported that she and her 11 friends were "wafted from their chairs and orbited gently around the room."[24]
  • The National Public Radio reported that Richard Nixon would run for president in 1992.[25]
  • Death of a mayor: In 1998, local WAAF shock jocks Opie and Anthony were discussing April Fool's Day hoaxes, and sardonically stated that Boston mayor Thomas Menino had been killed in a car accident. Menino happened to be on a flight at the time, lending credence to the prank as he could not be reached. The pair repeated that the mayor was dead several times throughout the broadcast, however listeners who tuned in late to the broadcast did not hear that they were repeating a bit, and when they pretended to tell the "news" to an unsuspecting listener (the listener thought she was calling a different show), the rumor spread quickly across the city, eventually causing news stations to issue alerts denying the hoax. The pair were fired shortly thereafter.[26]
  • In 1998, UK presenter Nic Tuff of West Midlands radio station pretended to be the British Prime Minister Tony Blair when he called the then South African President Nelson Mandela for a chat. It was only at the end of the call when Nic asked Mandela what he was doing for April Fools' Day that the line went dead.[27]
  • Archers theme tune change: BBC Radio 4 (2005): The Today Programme announced in the news that the long-running serial The Archers had changed its theme tune to an upbeat disco style.[28]
  • National Public Radio in the United States: the respective producers of Morning Edition or All Things Considered annually include a fictional news story.[29] These usually start off more or less reasonably, and get more and more unusual. A recent example is the 2006 story on the "iBod," a portable body control device.[30] In 2008 it reported that the IRS, to assure rebate checks were actually spent, was shipping consumer products instead of checks.[31] It also runs false sponsor mentions, such as "Support for NPR comes from the Soylent Corporation, manufacturing protein-rich food products in a variety of colors. Soylent Green is People".[32]
  • Canadian three-dollar coin: In 2008, the CBC Radio program As It Happens interviewed a Royal Canadian Mint spokesman who broke "news" of plans to replace the Canadian five-dollar bill with a three-dollar coin. The coin was dubbed a "threenie", in line with the nicknames of the country's one-dollar coin ("loonie" due to its depiction of a common loon on the reverse) and two-dollar coin ("toonie").[33]
  • Country to metal: Country and gospel WIXE in Monroe, North Carolina does a prank every year. In 2009, midday host Bob Rogers announced he was changing his show to heavy metal. This resulted in numerous phone calls, about half from listeners wanting to request a song.[34]
  • U2 live on rooftop in Cork: In 2009, hundreds of U2 fans were duped in an elaborate prank when they rushed to a shopping centre in Cork believing that the band were playing a surprise rooftop concert. The prank was organised by Cork radio station RedFM. The band was a tribute band called U2opia.[35]
  • In 2000, the Triple J breakfast show hosted by Adam Spencer announced that the International Olympic Committee had stripped Sydney of its right to host the 2000 Summer Olympics, including a phone conversation with then-New South Wales Premier Bob Carr.[36]
  • In 1993, a radio station in San Diego, California told listeners that the Space Shuttle had been diverted to a small, local airport. Over 1,000 people drove to the airport to see it arrive in the middle of morning rush hour. There was no shuttle flying that day.[37]
  • In 1988, Capital Radio in London gave all their breakfast-show time-checks one hour early, panicking listeners who needed to get up for work. The following year, when 1st April fell on a Saturday, they broadcast the usual weekday programme, together with rush-hour travel news, again worrying people into thinking they should be getting up.

Newspapers and magazinesEdit

  • The German newspaper Berliner Tageblatt reported in 1905 that thieves had tunneled beneath the U.S. Federal Treasury and stolen all its silver and gold.[25]
  • Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner wrote in an April 1975, article that MIT had invented a new chess computer program that predicted "pawn to queens rook four" is always the best opening move.[38]
  • In The Guardian newspaper, in the United Kingdom, on April Fools' Day, 1977, a fictional mid-ocean state of San Serriffe was created in a seven-page supplement.[39]
  • A 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated, dated April 1, featured a story by George Plimpton on a baseball player, Hayden Siddhartha Finch, a New York Mets pitching prospect who could throw the ball 168 miles per hour (270 km/h) and who had a number of eccentric quirks, such as playing with one barefoot and one hiking boot. Plimpton later expanded the piece into a full-length novel on Finch's life. Sports Illustrated cites the story as one of the more memorable in the magazine's history.[40]
  • Associated Press were fooled in 1983 when Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University, provided an alternative explanation for the origins of April Fools' Day. He claimed to have traced the practice to Constantine I's period, when a group of court jesters jocularly told the emperor that jesters could do a better job of running the empire, and the amused emperor nominated a jester, Kugel, to be the king for a day. Boskin related how the jester passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day and the custom became an annual event. Boskin explained the jester's role as being able to put serious matters into perspective with humor. An Associated Press article brought this alternative explanation to public's attention in newspapers, not knowing that Boskin had invented the entire story as an April Fool's joke itself, and were not made aware of this until some weeks later.[41]
  • Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in 7 major newspapers[42] announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell". When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.[43]
  • In 2008, Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine both reported that Toyota had acquired the rights to the defunct Oldsmobile brand from General Motors and intended to relaunch it with a line-up of rebadged Toyota SUVs positioned between its mainline Toyota and luxury Lexus brands.[44][45]
  • In 2010, the UK newspaper The Independent reported that the Circle line of the London Underground was being considered as a new location for a particle accelerator by CERN.[46]
  • Every April until 2007, as an April Fools' Day prank, Gamepro printed a 2-5 page satirical spoof of the magazine called Lamepro, a parody of Gamepro's own official title. The feature contained humorous game titles and fake news similar to The Onion, though some content, such as ways to get useless game glitches (games getting stuck, reset, or otherwise), was real. The section parodied GamePro itself, as well as other game magazines.[47]
  • The National Geographic announced via Twitter in 2016 that they would no longer be publishing photographs of naked animals.[25]
  • In 2021, The Guardian UK newspaper reported that UN officials would review plans to construct a new canal called "Suez 2" along the Egypt-Israel border, prompted by the obstruction caused by the Ever Given running aground.[48] The story was picked up by media in Turkey, before it was marked as a fool at noon by the newspaper.[49]

InternetEdit

 
Wikipedia's Main Page on April 1, 2007. The featured article write-up deliberately confuses US President George Washington with an inventor of the same name.
  • Kremvax: In 1984, in one of the earliest online hoaxes, a message was circulated that Usenet had been opened to users in the Soviet Union.[50]
  • April Fools' Day Request for Comments: Almost every year since 1989, the Internet Engineering Task Force has included an April Fool in their Request for Comments publication, including a "Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol" and "Electricity over IP".
  • College Mascots: For decades, printed college newspapers have run stories about their respective institutions changing to a ridiculous or silly new athletics mascot. In the internet age, the practice has moved to online editions and then to the social media pages of fanbases and alumni associations.[51]
  • Dead fairy hoax: In 2007, an illusion designer for magicians posted on his website some images illustrating the corpse of an unknown eight-inch creation, which was claimed to be the mummified remains of a fairy. He later sold the fairy on eBay for £280.[52]
  • Google (including YouTube, Gmail, etc.): Google is well known for their annual April Fools' jokes, which they have done in 2000, 2002, and every year from 2004 to 2019. They’ve since taken a break from them.[53]
  • Bing: In 2015, Bing launched a pretend new product called the "Cute Cloud", which acted as a hub for cute animal videos and gifs.[54]
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts: in 2016, Comptroller Glenn Hegar sent a message on Twitter that Texas would issue its own currency for the first time since 1845.[55]
  • Hotelicopter: In 2009, a flying hotel was purportedly about to take off from New York. The hoax was organised by a marketing company for a hotel search site.[56]
  • Pornhub: In 2016, one of the largest pornography sharing sites Pornhub changed its name to Cornhub and displayed suggestive videos featuring corn.[57] The site used a similar prank for 2018's April Fools Day - this time changing its name to Hornhub and displaying videos about women blowing horns instead of pornography.[58]
  • Rickrolling: The meme grew out from a similar bait-and-switch trick called "duckrolling" that was popular on the -4chan website in 2006. The video bait-and-switch trick grew popular on 4chan by the 2007 April Fools' Day, and spread to other Internet sites later that year. The meme gained mainstream attention in 2008 through several publicized events, particularly when YouTube used it on its 2008 April Fools' Day event.[59]
  • Royal Canadian Air Force: Researchers may encounter references to a Canadian MiG-21 variant called the CF-121 Redhawk. The story is fiction, but written to such a high standard that it could easily be mistaken for the truth.[60]

OtherEdit

Serious events mistaken for April Fools pranksEdit

The BBC and other outlets like The World have published lists of serious stories they feel might be confused with April Fool's Day jokes.[65][66][67]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "9 Outrageous Pranks in History". History.com. March 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "Happy All Knaves' Day". The New York Public Library.
  3. ^ "London's Most Ridiculous Riot?". londonist.com. September 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Still a good joke – 47 years on (BBC News, April 1, 2004)
  5. ^ BBC TV News interview with Michael Peacock 1/4/14...
  6. ^ Saeed Ahmed CNN. "A nod and a link: April Fools' Day pranks abound in the news". CNN. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "Instant Color TV, 1962". museumofhoaxes.com. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "April Fools' Day, 1965". Museum of Hoaxes. Archived from the original on November 27, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
  9. ^ BBC (April 1, 2007). "BBC Smell-o-vision". Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Geslaagde 1 aprilgrappen in Nederland". December 24, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  11. ^ Loohauls, Jackie (March 30, 1984). "These practical jokers didn't fool around". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Volcano joke ends in firing". Bowling Green Daily News. April 3, 1980. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  13. ^ Piot, Debra K. (April 4, 1980). "TV station fires producer for airing April-fool prank". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  14. ^ Midgley, Neil (April 1, 2008). "Flying penguins found by BBC programme". London: Telegraph. Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  15. ^ Kleinman, Alexis (April 1, 2013). "Netflix April Fool's Day Prank: Implausibly Specific Categories". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  16. ^ Gupta, Prachi (April 1, 2013). "Netflix's April Fools' Day categories". Salon. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  17. ^ Kolodny, Carina (April 1, 2014). "We Would Actually Watch These Delicious Netflix Prank Shows". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  18. ^ Molina, Brett (April 1, 2014). "Netflix may have won April Fool's Day". Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  19. ^ "Happy Birthday To Us: Listeners Inspire A Deep Dive Into Our Archives". NPR. February 27, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  20. ^ Moss, Stephen (September 13, 2012). "Desert Island Discs: 70 Years of Castaways by Sean Magee – review". The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  21. ^ "Desert Island Discs - Castaway : Sir Harry Whitlohn". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  22. ^ Blau, Rosie. "Island nation". Financial Times. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  23. ^ Fooling around, book extract in The Guardian dated March 30, 2007, online at books.guardian.com (Retrieved March 29, 2009)
  24. ^ "Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity – April Fool's Day, 1976". Museum of Hoaxes. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  25. ^ a b c "Gotcha! History's Most Outrageous April Fools' Jokes". National Geographic. April 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Opie and Anthony: WAAF April Fools Day Prank Part 1". Youtube.com. October 14, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  27. ^ "Millennium TimeLine". April 1998. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
  28. ^ "New Archers Theme Tune". Latest Reports. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  29. ^ Zwerdling, Daniel (March 27, 2016). "NPR's Past April Fools' Day Pranks". National Public Radio, Inc (US). Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  30. ^ Weekend Edition Saturday (April 1, 2006). "www.npr.org IBOD story". Npr.org. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  31. ^ Gagliano, Rico (April 1, 2008). "IRS making sure your rebate gets spent | Marketplace From American Public Media". Marketplace.publicradio.org. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  32. ^ "Letters: April Fools!". Weekend Edition Sunday. NPR. April 8, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  33. ^ As It Happens - 2008: Three-Dollar Coin Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Mark Washburn, "Fewer Tuning in for Most Local News", The Charlotte Observer, April 4, 2009[permanent dead link].
  35. ^ "No U2 on the horizon as fans rattled by hoax". Irish Independent. April 2, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  36. ^ "30 Years of Triple J - April Fools 2000". Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  37. ^ GRANBERRY, MICHAEL (April 2, 1993). "April Fools' Hoax No Joke in San Diego" – via LA Times.
  38. ^ Braunlich, Tom (May 28, 2010). "Martin Gardner, Mathematician and Lifelong Chess Fan, Dies at 95". The United States Chess Federation. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  39. ^ "Top Ten April Fools' Day Jokes". Metro. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  40. ^ Plimpton, George (April 1, 1985). "The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch". Sports Illustrated. 62 (13): 58. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  41. ^ "Origin and History of April Fools' day". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  42. ^ Kopp, John. "Two decades ago, Taco Bell convinced America that it had bought the Liberty Bell". Philly Voice. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  43. ^ "Entry at Museum of Hoaxes". Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  44. ^ Gall, Jared (March 31, 2008). "Oldsmobile Returns!". Car and Driver.
  45. ^ "Oldsmobile Brand Returns to Market - Latest News, Features, and Reviews". April 1, 2008.
  46. ^ "Hadron Collider II planned for Circle Line". The Independent. April 1, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  47. ^ "GamePro". Wikipedia. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  48. ^ "'Suez 2'? Ever Given grounding prompts plan for canal along Egypt-Israel border". The Guardian. April 1, 2021.
  49. ^ Jankowicz, Mia (April 2, 2021). "Turkish media outlets - including the BBC - fell for an April Fools' news story that said the UN was planning a second Suez Canal for Egypt". Business Insider. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  50. ^ Raymond, E. S.: "The Jargon File", Kremvax entry, 2006
  51. ^ Glenn Arthur Pierce (2016). "I Need a Spring Break from April Fool's Day Mascots". goodreads.com.
  52. ^ " April fool fairy sold on internet" from BBC News. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
  53. ^ Hollister, Sean (March 31, 2021). "Google cancels April Fools". The Verge. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  54. ^ "The NetElixir Blog: Digital Marketing & Retail Industry News, Tips and Insights". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  55. ^ Texas Comptroller [@txcomptroller] (April 1, 2016). "Press Release: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Announces New Texas Currency. #txlege #txcurrency" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  56. ^ Shaer, Matthew (March 31, 2010). "Top five online April Fools' pranks". The Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Publishing Society. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  57. ^ "Pornhub Becomes Cornhub, the Internet's Definitive Source of Hardcore Shucking Videos". Complex.
  58. ^ "Pornhub Is Offering Some Very Different Videos After Changing Name To Hornhub". April 1, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  59. ^ "An Oral History of Rickrolling". Mel Magazine. January 10, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  60. ^ https://theaviationgeekclub.com/cf-121-redhawk-program-the-true-story-behind-canadas-purchase-of-30-soviet-built-mig-21-fishbed-fighters/
  61. ^ "The origin of the WOM – the "Write Only Memory"". Archived from the original on April 28, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
  62. ^ "April Fools' Day, 1993". Museum of Hoaxes. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  63. ^ "King's College Choir announces major change". Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  64. ^ "Bennetts BSB to get Down and Dirty in 2021". Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  65. ^ "April Fools' Day: 10 stories that look like pranks but aren't". April 1, 2021 – via www.bbc.com.
  66. ^ "April Fools' Day: 10 stories that look like pranks but aren't". April 1, 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  67. ^ "6 stories that sound like April Fools' Day hoaxes but aren't". The World from PRX.

External linksEdit