Sunday, July 20, 2008

Practical Jokes

There is nothing funnier than a good practical joke. I'm talking about a really well thought out, convincing set up. As long as you are not the victim, practical jokes are usually very funny. Take this oldie-but-goodie as an example (Link to YouTube):




Now that is just a classic.

I've played a few practical jokes in my time. Like when my colleagues went out to lunch and I replaced their computer monitors with cardboard boxes on which I had drawn a "screen" and a knob. One guy returned to his desk and sat there laughing for about five minutes. The other fellow didn't bat an eyelid. He sat down to work, typed a few letters and then called me on the phone to say, "Hey, Yossi, something's wrong with my computer".

Problem with that joke was that I had to schlep the monitors back to the workstations from the meeting room where I had hidden them. But it was worth the trouble.

Then there are other types of practical jokes, like those played on poor, unsuspecting people by Candid Camera or copy-cat programs. Like the time they got a delivery man to pull up outside a house on the side of a hill. When he opened the double-doors at the back of the truck thousands of unstoppable balls of all sizes rolled out of the truck. Funny, harmless, messy.

Jeremy Beadle was one practical jokester who had a show called "Beadles About" where he would play all sorts of practical jokes on people, like destroying their house and then showing up laughing "Ha! Gotcha!". Of course, he wouldn't do that every week. Sometimes he would go lower-scale and blow up their car or have their boss fire them, just for the gag.

According to this Wikipedia article, at the peak of its popularity, Beadle's About had 15 million viewers. It got so popular that, according to the Wikipedia article, in 1993 a man was arrested for pulling a policeman's beard thinking that he was Jeremy Beadle in disguise. Yeah, right. Twenty five heavily armed and highly trained SWAT policemen come bursting into a cocaine refinery in a grotty warehouse at the back of a strip club, shattering glass windows all around the illegal Chinese workers. The chief crook drops his weapon, doubles over in laughter and pulls on the policeman's beard and goes, "Ho! Ha! Very funny! We've been pranked by Beadle!" Likely story.

Take a look at this example of "Beadle's About" from Funny-Videos.co.uk

Funny thing is, they never told the victim that it wasn't his van!

What happens if one day an elderly gentleman comes home to find the house his family has lived in for seven generations completely leveled to the ground? While writhing on the floor in the agony of a heart attack, Beadle pops his head out and goes "Surprise!" Then the victim looks up at the grinning Beadle and scratches into the microphone "I hid my life-savings in the walls of the dining room that you just burned to the ground". Better call two paramedics.

When Jeremy Beadle died on 25 January 2008 at the age of 59, nobody believed him. They still don't.