Best Practical Joke You Played on Someone

Please describe your best practical joke.

A company where I worked had a toaster problem. There wasn’t a separate kitchen, just a screened of area with a coffee machine, a fridge and a couple of power points. A group of people got together to buy an electric toaster. They would toast bread every morning and on and of throughout the day. Eventually, the whole office stank of burning toast. This annoyed me intensely, even though I could live off toast and butter.

I hatched a cunning plan. For April 1st, I got the office manager to sign a memo. It addressed a letter that purported to be from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, or MAFF (the only headed stationery I could get hold of). It quoted a (fictitious) EU regulation that all industrial and agricultural toasters (had to include agricultural, otherwise why would MAFF get involved?) had to be shielded from microwave radiation. The letter, signed Olaf Lopir (work it out!), stated that unless a microwave screen was fitted or the toaster had a certificate of proof of low microwave emission, it would have to be removed. The memo instructed the toaster owning syndicate to either get a screen, get a certificate or get rid of the toaster. The memo and a copy of the letter were stuck on the wall next to the toaster.

Amazingly, despite the heavy hints, the syndicate fell for it! Even more alarming was the number of people who had a toaster-microwave panic.

Sadly, the manager came clean and he toaster survived.

On a trip to Italy a friend of mine got incredibly sick, with a raging fever, chills, and diarrhea that wouldn’t quit. I went with another friend to a pharmacist to buy a thermometer to keep track of his temperature while he took some antibiotics. When we returned to the hotel, my friend lay on his bed, sweating, shaking, and shitting something he described as looking like raw eggs.

I took out the thermometer, opened the package, and with a sad look on my face told him although we looked all over–in every pharmacist we could find–we could only find a rectal thermometer. He immediately shot out of bed, screaming “no way are you going to shove that thing up my fucking ass!” When he fell back into the bed, I told him it was, in fact, an oral thermometer. He threatened to kill me, then retracted it when the next morning he awoke fit as a fiddle, then reinstated it when he got sun poisoning from the combined effects of the antibiotic and SPF 8 lotion and his back erupted in little blisters. Good times . . .

I used to work at an air force base, where we all had G.I. tables. You know, the big, heavy grey ones. One nice thing about them is that they have a good-sized pen tray. I was in an “I got you last!” contest with one of my co-workers. A typical trick was to disconnect the telephone handset’s cord, but leave it in the jack. Then you call the victim and when she picks up the phone the cord falls out. She was wise to that one, of course. So…

I stretched some rubberbands across the pen tray in the centre drawer of her desk, constructed a paddle out of punch-cards (this was back in the mid-1980s), put more punch cards in the top of the desk to keep the paddle from catching, filled her pen tray with confetti, wound up the paddle in the rubber bands, and closed her desk.

Then I disconnected her handset.

When she came back from lunch I phoned her. I heard the click as she plugged the phone back in. “Ha ha ha, [Johnny L.A.]!” she said, “You’re going to have to try something else!” I replied, "I guess I will, " and we hung up.

Then she opened her desk.

Rattarattarattaratta! went the paddle. “Eeeeek!” went the co-worker as the confetti flew up at her and she jumped into the air.

Well, that’s it.

I’m known as a practical joker. Here are some of my more elaborate ones.

My friend Val and I were tooling around our hometown aimlessly one night when I mentioned that my sister Libby was at her friend Missy’s house watching movies with a bunch of her girlfriends. Val, who does not much like Missy, suggested we go over there and play a prank on them, just for fun.

So we get over to Missy’s house and creep around in the bushes for awhile. We peek in the window and see the girls, and what movie they’re watching. It’s almost over. We creep back to the car and talk about our plans.

Since I had the key to my sister’s car, parked conveniently on the street outside, we ended up buying a big knucklebone at the Hy-Vee and stabbed a paring knife into the knucklebone. This we deposited on the dashboard of the car–so it essentially looked like a big gory lump of flesh with a knife plunged into it. Then we wrote a note that said, “If you’re looking for the rest of your friend, take a peek in the back seat. Signed, the Phantom Menace.” This we taped to the steering wheel.

(Two notes here: one, we’d noticed in the time that it took us to go buy the knucklebone that one of the girls had left the party, and two, that was the summer the first Star Wars movie came out.)

We pile back into Val’s car and watch from down the street with a pair of binoculars that we’d retrieved from Val’s father’s basement.

And we wait.

And we wait.

Finally, the second movie ends and my sister comes out of the house. The street is dark and quiet. They don’t see us parked down half a block. All the girls are waving goodbye to Libby, and another girl…who is apparently getting a ride with my sister. Oops!

Libby unlocks the car and both girls get in.

And sit there with the doors hanging open.

Libby stares at the note on the steering wheel for what seems like an eternity.

Then the passenger points at the lump on the dashboard.

Both girls run SCREAMING back to the house.

All the lights in the house come on, and teenage girls spill out into the yard. The lights go on in Missy’s parents’s bedroom, and soon they’re on the lawn too, in slippers and robes. Everyone is screaming. Chaos reigns.

Val and I are laughing so hard that we can’t even breathe. We’re lying on the floor of the car in hysterics. Finally, I get the wherewithall to tell Val to drive over and tell them it was a joke, before someone calls the cops.

Seven pairs of eyes gave us the steely death glare, so we just drove off, laughing. I was pretty sure I was going to be dealing with angry parents and sister in the morning, but I didn’t really care. The moment was priceless, and c’mon, “The Phantom Menace”? That was MEANT to be a tell.

I waited up for Libby when I got home. She came in wanting to yell at me, but by then, she was laughing too hard herself. She admitted that this was a pretty cool trick, but she just wished I hadn’t done it at Missy’s house, because Missy’s parents thought it was “mean”. (They’re the type of folks who think everything is “mean”.)

The next morning at the breakfast table, my parents laughed their asses off. When they heard how mad Missy’s parents were, they told them to get a sense of humor. (After all, the trick wasn’t directed at them, their daughter, or their property.)

My baby sister, Mary, was incredibly jealous. She kept saying she wished that I’d play a trick that funny on her. So Val and I cooked one up.

Mary was working at the local amusement park that summer. She was only 15, so she couldn’t drive herself to work. One night, Val and I volunteered to pick her up.

Before we drove over, we made ourselves up heavily (think of the woman in the lavatory in the movie “Airplane” who was trying to put on her lipstick and kept smearing it all over the place during turbulence) and put on extremely bizarre clothing. We teased our hair to stick straight up in the air, doused ourselves in perfume, and hit the road.

When we got to the amusement park, Mary was sitting on a bench with all the other little kids who were waiting for rides home from Mom and Dad. Quickly, Val and I leap out of the car and go running over to her, screaming, “Mary! Your aunties are here to take you home!” Profuse hugging and kissing followed.

Mary, who is naturally terrified of embarrassment, jumped into the back seat and hid on the floorboards.

So we took her to the drive-throughs at McDonalds and Dairy Queen, where we knew her classmates worked, and announced to the order-takers, “Mary Mulcahey wants a hamburger. You know, the Mary Mulcahey who’s a junior at Arneby High School.” Mary alternated between screaming and hitting us and hiding under a blanket in the back seat.

Val and I didn’t have any money, so we paid for the hamburger and ice cream cone with Mary’s money. She didn’t want them, so Val ate them. Then we took her home.

Just like Libby, Mary wanted to be mad at me, but she just couldn’t stop laughing. (I did pay her back for the food, later. That seemed over the line to me.)

Though some of this stuff sounds borderline mean, I knew my sisters had good senses of humor and would laugh it off. (Know your victim, is my advice.) In fact, today they tell these stories with pride. (“Guess what my crazy sister did once…”)

and to all a good night-
okay, it’s a bit early in the year to be telling the annual christmas joke, but here goes (this is the joke that began a whole series of jokes that weren’t precisely a war, but definitely had the marks of armed conflict.)

my house at the time was occupied by my mom, me and a family friend ann, who was crashing upstairs- bear in mind that if my family were to go to extremes, environmentalism would be the way they go.

the whole house had been talking about whether to get a real tree or not that year and secretly mom and i had decided that yes, for any number of reasons it was okay, but the issue wasn’t closed yet, so we thought we could have a little fun.

the afternoon that mom and i got the tree, we drove up a long windy road to the tree farm that was littered on both sides with the discarded tops of much taller trees. apparently people can pick a 12 or 13 foot tree, but have the top lopped off so that it will fit inside. these “leftover” bits were anywhere from a foot to about 4 feet tall- we call them “charlie brown x-mas trees” for their bent, bare patheticness all over. that year though, they were sheer genius.

after we got a beautiful 8 ft. spruce, the tree guy tossed in the absolute saddest of all the charlie brown trees for free. when we got home, we tossed the REAL tree in the shower and started to invest in the sad one…we put it in a stand and i cut out stars and angels from radioshack ads…we went all out to bring to this tree the spirit of lonesome sadness.

when ann got home, we cheerfully shared that we really couldn’t stomach killing a live tree this year, so we thriftily used other people’s leftovers and wasn’t it cute, and cheerful, and didn’t the colored paper deco’s REALLY brighten it up (note: they did NOT by any means brighten this tree.) we hammed it up no end, and explained that for the carroling party we were going to host, we would just put it up on a little table and turn the bare spot to the wall (note: it was all barespot.) ann so completely bought it. she went from skeptic to TREE-FAN in about 10 minutes, and the joke last for hours.

when ann finally discovered the large tree, she got really confused, then laughed for an hour. she had fallen in love with the tiny one so much that we ended up with two trees that year. she wouldn’t let us disrespect the charlie brown even to put it on the porch. and i have to admit, it WAS a cool tree in a spindly sort of way…

Well, my roomie and I went for the classic “short sheet the bed” in Vegas on our co-roomies and I cannot remember laughing so freaking hard. It ruled, and the victim was very gracious and didn’t kill either of us.

I have a cousin who’s memory of the distant past is a few months ago. The effects of years of drugs and alcohol did a number on him, he is now clean and is really a good guy. When he got his first computer I even drove 250 miles round trip to help him set it up. I even set up his email account.

A few months later he received an email from the daughter of a former high school class mate. She claimed that her mother had recently passed on and one of the last things she was told that her father was not her real father, my cousin was. She wanted to meet her biological father and perhaps they could have a normal father/daughter relationship. She had also inherited quite a bit of money and thought is was right to share some of it with him. My cousin admitted that yes, he did have a relationship with someone with her mother’s name and that he very well could be her father.

For a 2 month period, weekly emails were traded, ‘Sherry’ wanting so much to meet her real father, my cousin wanting to meet his daughter and knowing him, getting his hands on some cash. Photos were exchanged (I lifted a couple from and stories about growing up in Spanaway, Washington were exchanged. My cousin started pushing for a meeting but ‘Sherry’ always had a good excuse.

‘Sherry’ did not answer any emails for a few weeks then dropped a bomb shell on my cousin. An email was sent telling my cousin that ‘Sherry’ had not told him something very important. She was a member of the Church of the Eternal Flame and that her church considered money as evil and it caused nothing but heartache. She in her heart could not let the money she promised him become a possible source of friction between them so she gave her whole inheritance to the church. Her and her fellow Flamers wanted to come meet with him and his SO and to help them become free of materialistic items, they will take with them all the things that they do not need in their lives, television, computers, cars, and jewelry. They will be shown how to have most or all of their paychecks forwarded directly to their church.

My cousin’s final email was very short.

“I don’t think we need to meet. Have a good life.”

He will kick my butt if he ever finds out. My brother said he fell for it hook, line, sinker, and fishing pole.

The last two times we did this:

The Most Memorable Practical Jokes You Ever Did


The World’s Greatest Reversible Computer Pranks
mine is still the best :slight_smile:

Zette, I’ve heard of that one before (‘short-sheet the bed’), but I don’t know what it actually entails.

Enlighten me?

I can’t recall anything really funny or orginal, but one of the great things is that I really hit the mark on my more mediocre pranks.

My mom is afraid of bugs. She is also irate about my messy room. Last year, as a joke, I borrowed about 100 fake rubber roaches from my best friend. I put a bunch in a pile over some oscillating toy, then put a shirt over the whole thing. Well, predictably, later that day she barges in and tells me to clean my room, I tell her things are just fine the way they are, and “do not alter anything here”. Well she sees the shirt on the ground kind of moving, and says, “Is the cat under there?” and picks up the shirt. She sees this pile of roaches that look like they are swarming over something. Shrieking, she backs up, right into another prank. You see, as a backup plan I hid some extra fake cockroaches in a picture that was deliberately hung crookedly (she hates that). When she was startled she backed up into it and more fell down her shirt, in her hair, etc. Suffice to say she ran off screaming crashing into things and locked herself in the bathroom until I assured her the whole thing was a joke. Then she got so mad she chased me out of the house.

In our house, all the male members of the household frequently get their breifs mixed up. That is because most of us are about the same size, and most of the white laundry is done in large loads to save time. My mom’s boyfriend (him and his kids live with us) commented we should label our underwear so it wouldn’t get mixed up. Now, my brother at the time had some sort of bowel problem, where he would poop his pants frequently at an age most kids do not (12-14). One day, I got so tired of both my brother and mom’s boyfriend bellyaching about the laundry that after they left for school/work, I took a bunch of my brothers clean underwear, wrote his name on the tag with a sharpie marker, then got a brown marker and scribbled long horizontal lines inside them. I then deposited about 12 of them in my mom’s boyfriend’s underwear drawer. Man, you wouldn’t believe the ruckus that was going on the next morning…

I used to be a theater techie in high school, where we were lucky to have an excellent huge theater with lots of dimmer capacity and a very big 24-pipe fly system (that’s the thing that hauls stuff up and down above the stage.)

A few of us techs were working late one night in the sound booth when we noticed some of the actors were messing around on the stage when they shouldn’t be there. We decided to have some fun. First thing we did was cut the power. All the power, except for the two amps which drove the main speakers. Now, this theater gets DARK when the power is cut. Pitch black. You can’t see your own hand in front of your face. They were running around giggling on the stage when all of a sudden, the lights go out.


They then started trying to feel their way around, apparently to avoid bumping into each other or the scenery that was sitting out. By this time, I had made it from the sound booth to the fly gallery and had climbed up the ladder without them hearing me. (Us techies can move around in pitch blackness in perfect silence, like ninjas.)

We had a daisy-chained set of three giant old Kliegl Brothers strip lights on one of the flies. One of the circuits was filled with nice rich red filters. I quietly lowered the fly until it was about six feet above the stage, so the lights were directly above their heads. By this time, they were making their way to the stairs in front of the stage to try and leave the theater.

I thought quickly, and dropped fly #1, whose counterweight was about half as heavy as it was supposed to be, for a good reason. Fly #1 was the front curtain. All of a sudden, the girls found themselves unable to leave the stage, having bumped into the very thick, heavy curtain that wasn’t there when the power was on.

At this point, my co-conspirator in the lighting booth brought up the glorious red strip lights directly above their heads. The whole stage was awash in eery blood-redness.

A second later, my other co-conspirator in the sound booth hits play on AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” with both channels at non-clipping maximum. (Did I mention we had really big amps?) So just as the bimbos were calming down from the curtain and bright red lights that had mysteriously showed up, they hear an incredibly loud, ear piercing church bell.

Music off, lights off, curtain and strip lights back to their original position. They turned the power back on and up came the houselights, with everything looking exactly as it did before. They ran out of there screaming.

We were very proud of ourselves that night.

White Lightning, short-sheeting a bed involves removing the sheets and taking the fitted sheet off completely. Then you re-make the bed with just the top sheet, but you tuck it under the mattress up top, take it halfway down the bed, and fold it back up to the top so that it looks like a regularly-made bed. Put the blanket, etc. back on the bed. When the person goes to get in bed, Whoa! Their legs can only go halfway down. It’s harmless, and it’s fun to cause that one or two seconds of total disoriented confusion.

My best practical joke was when I was in grad school. A friend and I had stayed up until about 5 a.m. drinking one night. When we were done I walked home and went to bed. Well, for some reason I woke up at 8 a.m., just a few hours later. I felt truly horrible, but I knew my mission:

I picked up the phone, covered my eyes to keep the horrible sunlight out, cleared my throat, and made my voice as vibrant and chipper as I could. Then I dialed friend’s number. When friend answered with a subhuman grunt, I brightly said, “Hi buddy! How ya doing?” He mumbled something about not feeling good (I later found out he was curled up on the bathroom floor). I said, “Really? That’s strange! I feel fresh as a daisy! I was thinking about going for a jog, you want to come with?” He grunted and hung up on me, and I moaned and went back to sleep.

But he believed me! He thought I was some kind of Superman. The experience so shook him that he quit drinking (for a month or so), and started going to a gym. It was about two years later that I confessed I’d been feeling as bad as he that morning; he seemed crushed by the news.

This week on The Sopranos, Tony pulled a prank on his wife that me and my college roommates use to do all the time. When someone’s taking a hot shower, you get a big cup of ice-cold water and pour it over the curtain/door on them. We called it “Stress Relief.”

Here’s another simple one you can do if you have a sink that has one of those spray nozzles off to the side of the regular faucet You know, the thing on the end of a retractable hose that when you squeeze the nozzle/gun the water flow is diverted to it. With the water turned off, of course, wrap some rubber bands around the spray gun so that the lever part is squeezed. Make sure the nozzle is seated normally as it is when not in use, but line it up so it will spray toward someone standing in front of the faucet. The first unsuspecting person who comes along and turns on the water, expecting it to come out of the faucet, will get quite a surprise and a very wet shirt.

aaah, friedo, i was working on my first ninja-techie belt awhile back, reminds me of good times!!

but to the point, in college, one of our traditions was to play junior ring week pranks on the juniors for the week prior to receiving their class rings. being a dumbass sophomore, i decided to express my love for my friend kate through trickery.

first, we newspapered the bed, similar to short-sheeting, but you just strip the bed, cover it with a layer of newspaper and make it back up military-style. hehe, crackle, crackle. then i went to work on her computer, i didn’t have a lot of time, but i managed to reset her wallpaper to an enormous man-ass. possibly the most disgusting pic on the internet. te-he, it took her a week to change it back.

and the grande triomphe was her undies- all of 'em. i hunted around and found every bra and pair of underwear that girl owned and tossed them in a trash bag. i left a lovely note of course, in lieu of the undies…and went sneaking off into the night.

3 days later, i mailed her underwear back via campus mail in a refrigerator box. she couldn’t get the whole thing back to her room so was forced to dash back with an armful of lingerie, it was NICE. wish i had recorded that one for posterity!!

I wired my mom’s toilet seat so that when she sat down a 100 db siren went off in her ear. She jumped a country mile.

One April Fool’s Day, when I was a kid, I spent the night at my cousin’s house. Her mother is notoriously fanatical about her carpets, and they had just had the house completely recarpeted, in off white. That day my cousin had been really clumsy, dropping everything in sight and my aunt was really fed up by the end of the day. That night my cousin and I were downstairs watching TV and having a snack. I dared her to go upstairs and tell her mother she spilled her orange crush on the carpet. She did. You could have heard the screaming from across the city. I was almost wetting myself I was laughing so hard. I could hear my cousin saying “Mom, mom it was a joke…MOM! It was a joke!” in between screams.

The links above are a laugh- It reminds of my particular take on the Soprano’s joke, Tangent’s “stress relief.”

It started when a bunch of friends all shared a 4 person dorm room (with 8 person shared bath.) One of the roomies was feeling a bit fiesty one day, and pulled the cold water gag- haha, laughs were had all round, but it didn’t stop there. The prankee became the pranker when she decided that a little post-shower powdering was in order. After the target got out of the shower the next day, she met a swirling (i mean a full 12 oz.) of Baby Powder. Again, laughing ensues, and STILL it does not stop. The final touch was to turn the tables and turn the 1st girl into an orange soda- A trip to Sam’s Club later we had a huge tub of Tang! to annoint our victim.

It had to have taken at least 30 minutes for her to get all the stickiness out of her hair (luckily, she was already in the shower, so she was more amused than homicidally revengeful!)