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Arts & Culture

April Fool's! Exploring Pranks and Practical Jokes


I'll be honest: I hate April Fools' Day, and I'm not a big fan of practical jokes. I hate it the way that some people hate Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve. I think merriment and foolishness should be spread across the year. That's why most of our shows, even pretty serious ones, start with a comedy sketch, because life is so much better when you think of it as a comedy.

April Fool's Day is also about pranks - which are either the lowest form of comedy, or a species completely distinct from comedy. Pranks have victims and thrive from misunderstandings. One thing I can tell you from years in the satire business is that people are incredibly easy to fool, even when you don't mean to.

But I live for the thrill of having my mind changes, so on this show, we're going to meet people who have tried to raise pranks to an art form. We'll go far, far beyond the whoopee cushion to talk to some of the nation's most devoted and ambitious hoax artists.

Have you ever been pranked? Pranked someone else? Tell us about it by writing below, emailing Colin@wnpr.org, or tweeting @wnprcolin.


  • Jeff Pinsker is the president of Klutz and the vice president of Scholastic, Inc.
  • Martin Wainwright is the author of The "Guardian" Book of April Fool’s Day
  • Tom Mabe is a professional prankster living in Kentucky
  • Joey Skaggs is a multimedia artist in New York City called The World’s Greatest Hoaxer