Ever since the first caveman tricked his buddy into thinking that a pile of mastodon poop was some kind of exotic food, mankind has been in search of the perfect prank. Today, we don’t have mastodons to enjoy for various poop related pranks, but we do have the internet to offer us tidbits of wisdom in building and executing the perfect prank. In today’s lesson into the nether world of prank humor, we will offer step by step guidance in the mechanics of becoming a prank expert. It might not help get you in to Harvard, but it might earn you a lot of extra likes on your Facebook page. So let’s sharpen our pencils, sharpen our wits and sharpen our claws as we prepare to master the age old art of building the perfect prank. There will be a quiz at the end, so pay close attention.
WHERE SHOULD WE BEGIN IN LEARNING ABOUT PRANKS?
Well, my friends, we shall begin in the beginning – with the set up. Let’s begin with a classic concept, which is hiding and waiting for a reaction when the hidden person is revealed. Although in concept this isn’t much more than a toddler saying “boo”, it can reach classic comedic proportions.
The set up was the moron interviewer (we shall call him Moron number one) interviewing the dude, while his co-conspirator, who we shall call Moron number two, waits in a recycle bin. Moron number two of course planned to jump out and say boo to the dude. This is known in the world of pranking vernacular as the set up.
Here’s another set up. A dude walks into a room and finds another person (who we shall refer to as Moron number 3) suddenly jump up with a chainsaw. There are no trees nearby, so the only logical explanation is that Moron number 3 is planning on carving up the dude into small pieces. Hilarity ensues and the collective IQ of mankind drops several points. At least we have now mastered the set up, which is the trunk on which all branches of a prank must live off of.
Back to our original example though. The dude though, rather than being scared, is more annoyed and does what some people and nearly all professional wrestlers might do in such a situation – he pounds Moron number two with a well-deserved knuckle sandwich. This is a classic example of another key example from the pranking world, the backfire.
HEY, THAT BACKFIRE PRANK WAS AWESOME. CAN I SEE MORE PLEASE?
You sure can, but first we must move on to another important element of the prank world. The revenge prank. Usually this would involve some need for cognitive power, meaning that a “person” would need to be getting revenge for something. While this is technically true, perhaps the universe does have a higher meaning after all, and even inanimate objects can get revenge. We can leave such existential debates alone for now and simply use the litmus test of whether or not it is funny. This for sure is:
In theory, the swing was sick of all the jerk kids putting their butts on it over the years. Ask yourself this: if thousands of kids put their butt on you, wouldn’t you want to get revenge too?
THAT WAS GREAT BUT YOU PROMISED ANOTHER BACKFIRE PRANK, BUT DIDN’T DELIVER. ARE YOU PRANKING ME RIGHT NOW?
That’s a very good question, and shows you are learning quickly another key lesson of the prank – that exactly how and where the prank will end up might not always be apparent at first blush. So, let’s recap. We have examined the set up, the backfire and the revenge prank. Our fourth key topic in mining comic gold from a simple prank is the reaction shot.
In this lesson, we can see the great set up. A grown up prepares to show a child a classic “maze prank,” which is a seemingly innocuous video that ends up being hugely scary. As we can see in our example, the reaction shot is what makes it such a classic prank video. Then again, it is borderline child cruelty depending on how you look at it. So, if we can use our crystal ball, the backfire is that the kid either grows up to kill the adult or at the very least bankrupts the adult due to the extensive costs of psychotherapy. We can take this a step further and the revenge prank comes when the kid ends up at age 18 marrying a 74 year old alcoholic named Cletus who likes whittling, sodomizing hedgehogs and laughing at hurricanes. Check back in in about 10 or so years for an update.
OK, I THINK I’VE GOT IT. CAN WE START THE TEST NOW?
Sure! Here’s a classic prank video. See if you can identify the various elements.
If you said that the set up was waiting until the guy (we shall call him Moron number 4) was asleep, and that the reaction shot was Moron number 4 being traumatized and shaking like an extra in a low budget war movie, you are correct. Now, here’s the next example:
If you said the set up was the kid trying to launch missiles into Iraq, you would be incorrect. He was just trying to be a jerk, and at that he succeeded. The backfire is pretty clear though, as his would-be missile ended up attacking him. Extra credit if you realized that the revenge element was the potato trying to make up ground against the human race for all the terrible things McDonald’s has done to it over the years in the name of fast food. Our third quiz question involves this video:
If you guessed the set up was The Republican party trying to run an incredibly stupid human being (we shall only refer to her as Moron number 6) as its Vice Presidential candidate, you were right. The backfire was that they lost and alienated millions. The revenge part was the turkey allowing itself to be ritualistically slaughtered in the name of fighting injustice against “the man.” Unfortunately, we can only dream of seeing the reaction shot of a family of 16 idiots (we can call them Morons 7-23) eating the turkey not realizing that it had been contaminated by so much stupidity.
HEY THAT WAS MEAN AND OFFENSIVE TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE! WILL YOU PLEASE APOLOGIZE?
Certainly. Sorry bird.
COOL. APOLOGY ACCEPTED. NOW, CAN WE SEE MORE PRANK VIDEOS?
You sure can.
The set up goes back to the classic hiding and jumping out, but with the added bonus of a gorilla costume. There is an age old adage, sometimes attributed to Confucius, that states that everything is better with a gorilla costume and it’s hard to disagree. The reaction shot is also pretty easy to identify, as the girl is clearly freaked out and acts as though an actual ape is about to pick her up and climb on top of the Empire State Building. The backfire is that the guy (we shall call him Moron in ape suit number one) thought he was going to get laid with his suave moves, but he might be out of luck. The revenge is that the poor people in the third world who sewed the ape suit by hand for 3 cents a week can finally feel some semblance of justice, as anyone too busy with his simian shenanigans to give a hoot about their plight didn’t deserve to score in the first place.
ANY OTHER KEY ELEMENTS OF A QUALITY PRANK WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
That last one offered one more tidbit of info when creating a good prank, and that is bringing a hot chick into the equation. There is another age old adage, sometimes attributed to Confucius’ son, Confucius Junior, that states that hot chicks make everything better.
A good prank indeed, and much better than if it had been done on, for example, an ugly old man. This video does indeed have a follow up, giving us a perfect example of a revenge prank.
The title of the video itself, “Hot Chick Gets Nutshot Revenge,” does a nice job of summing up the artful work inside. The set up is almost non-existent, the reaction nothing to write home about, and the backfire really only happened before, when the dude pulled the prank on her. This prank is a perfect example of how you can defy all the rules and still make it funny. Yep, the secret to a great and utterly foolproof prank? The nutshot.
We hope you have learned something today. Remember, do try these at home and then make sure to post them online, and always wear a cup when you’re around anyone who likes pulling pranks. Try to be kind to others though, as the person who laughs last, laughs best. Unless that person has no sense of humor. If so, screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
Written by Daniel Bernstein