Secretly, I’m not a huge fan of April Fool’s Day. It’s the only holiday where being kind of mean to somebody counts as “celebrating” and, quite frankly, I don’t like jerks. Snopes.com collected several theories on the origin of the holiday, most having to do with old calendars and spring– nothing too exciting there. Fast Company, a magazine dedicated to creative business practices, included an article on how a company’s creative use of April Fool’s Day and humor can improve brand image.
This year there is lots of concern about a malevolent April Fool’s Day computer worm (Conficker)– nothing funny about that. Still, the Internet is an especially great place to play jokes on people and many of the big-name websites have gotten in on the April Fool’s action: Google almost always does something and YouTube did Rickroll all the videos on their front page last year.
In honnor of April Fool’s Day, actually my least favorite holiday, I thought it’d be nice to do a round up of some great hoaxes/pranks/jokes. I’m going to leave out things like ponzi schemes and the Nigerians trying to give away $10,000 since those aren’t really “funny” or lighthearted. This list is hardly exhaustive and not even really all that scientific, just some of my favorite jokes or tricks.
- The BBC’s infamous “Spaghetti Harvest” segment on “Panorama” (video above).
- Internet “Spring Cleaning” in 1997.
- The Yes Men and others distribute a fake New York Times, November 11, 2008.
- YouTube flipping its videos so the Autralians can see them better.
- Sarah Palin prank called by a Canadian comedy team.
- The Mooninite Boston bomb scare in 2007.
- F-ck You Penguin’s fantasy animal week (technically not a hoax, but great nonetheless).
If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you might also want to check out the Museum of Hoaxes. Leave your favorite tricks and jokes in the comments! Good luck out there, April Fool’s Day requires constant vigilance people!