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Happy April Fools' Day! 5 Pranks That Went Horribly Awry

April Fools’ Day is upon us, and you know what that means. It can be a day of glorious humor–or it can be a time for bullies to shed their inhibitions and embrace their shitstain personalities, and for corporations to put on their practiced face in the name of jokes. “Google, you’re so funny.” It’s a day where we sit and read about April Fools’ pranks stone-faced, the bluish glow of our devices dancing off our crows’ feet and growing senility.

Let’s face it. Once you escape the gum-riddled halls of high school, the soul of April Fools’ is all but dead. In the adult world, trolling isn’t a day, it’s an eternity. Remember when the Macy’s Day Parade rickrolled us? Or when rapper B.o.B. returned to the fray by arguing that the world was flat? As Shakespeare said, “In the face of the 24/7 news cycle, we are all made fools.”

But sometimes, a dickish joke becomes a roaring cock-up. In these rare moments, April Fools’ becomes something bigger, capturing what the Germans refer to as shadenfreudepleasure derived from the suffering of others. So join us as we turn back time and recall the biggest failed pranks of them all.

Texas honored the Boston Strangler

During his tenure, senator and humorist Al Franken made a name for himself by calling out other senators who failed to read the bills on the day of their hearing. But, on April 1st, 1971, Texas Representative Tom Moore took that fact and ran with it when he introduced a resolution to honor Albert de Salvo–better known as his alias, the Boston Strangler. The bill was meant as a dark joke, emphasizing de Salvo’s “unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.” Yikes. Depressingly, the resolution passed without resistance. Moore was able to pull the resolution before the Strangler was officially commemorated, but the story still made headlines and revealed how little review goes into some of the bills that reach legislature. See? Congress has been lazy for decades.


TV Show ‘Happy Endings’ ends terribly

Do you remember the TV show Happy Endings? We wouldn’t blame you if you shook your head no. The show’s pitch, following a group of friends “rocked when the couple that brought them together break up,” sounds about as generic as CVS brand ibuprofen. But the show went off the rails, becoming gut-bustingly hilarious, achieving critical acclaim, and accumulating a passionate cult fanbase. It was sadly canceled in 2013. But then, two years later, the Happy Endings Twitter account awoke from the dead to send out a link to a countdown clock. “A new day,” promised the accompanying hashtag. The countdown led the handful of fanatics to April 1st, before reaching its hilarious conclusion.

Ha-ha. “How germane,” the writers must’ve said aloud, while fiendishly twiddling their vaudevillian moustaches. The backlash was swift. Taunting your fanbase with false hope isn’t a path to goodwill. Isn’t that right, Firefly fans?

We thought so.
We thought so.

Shock Jocks Opie and Anthony are assholes

Contrary to the belief of assholes everywhere, April Fools’ Day does not grant ass-ylum to practice their assholery. This isn’t some slapstick version of The Purge. For proof, just ask professional jerks Opie and Anthony, who lost their radio show in Boston after they “jokingly” announced that its mayor, Thomas Menino, had been killed in an automobile crash. The mayor, who was aboard an airplane at the time of the report, wasn’t able to pick up his phone for hours, leading many, including family members, to take Opie and Anthony at their word. Needless to say, the two hosts were fired the next week, and took their life lessons with them to NYC, where they mellowed out and became thoughtful journalists. Just kidding, they doubled-down on their brash humor and their show became a national megahit. I guess bad taste wins out in the end. That is, until their callousness reared its head again in 2014, when Anthony was fired for a flurry of ugly, racist tweets against a woman he claimed hit him in Times Square. 

Opie and Anthony: laughing to your actual grave
Opie and Anthony: laughing to your actual grave.

Newt Gingrich is a comedic kingpin

A lot of comedians today, such as Zach Galifianakis, Maria Bamford, and Reggie Watts, hone in on the craft of anti-humor, playing off of an established comic structure with jokes so premeditated and absurd that they elicit a laugh for seemingly no reason. But those aforementioned comedians are but worms wriggling in the muck in comparison to world-famous anti-humorist Newt Gingrich. There’s no telling what the future holds, but I hope that Gingrich finds his rightful place in the comedy pantheon.

Bravo, you marvelous man.

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It’s the absolute worst. Every year.

Can you get lower than rock bottom?
Can you get lower than rock bottom?

For more rofl lol lmao, stay tuned to Milk.

Images via Texas Legislature, Giphy, Vox, Buzzfeed.

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