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Practical Jokes

Obsession with Practical Jokes

A Joker From the Beginning

The first practical joke that I can recall playing was dealt to my own kin. I was a very young boy, probably 7 or 8. Every school day my father would wake me from my glorious slumber by opening the door, turning on the dreaded bedroom light, shaking me a little, and saying “Jeff, time to get up.”

Image of Smidge Boyter

Smidge Boyter

One day I woke up before my father came into stir me. A great idea came to mind. When I heard him coming down the hall, I stood by the door and when he opened it to reach for the light switch, I grabbed his hand and shouted using a massive guttural snarl.“GRRRRRAAAHHHHH!” I screamed as I attacked and yanked on his hand. My father yelled out the first profanity I ever heard from him. I really scared the hell out of him.

Unfortunately, he dropped dead of a heart attack right there and then. Although it killed him, I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear on my successful practical joke. This was the beginning of a never-ending parade of pranks and my fascination with homemade humor. From a very early age I have always felt a great desire to deceive, frustrate, fool, and trick people so that I could watch their reactions to my pranks. Still to this very day, I can recall the almost euphoric feeling I felt waiting to scare my father; tiptoeing down the hall to the living room waiting in anticipation to hear signs of his coming, and scurrying back to my room just to prepare and get in place for the upcoming prank.

According to my mother, even before this memory of my first practical joke, I would frustrate my parents using a special type of torment, which I still like to practice. I did, do, and will always love to push peoples’ buttons. I love to take people right up to the point that they are about to yell at me, hit me, or really get pissed off and then completely back off.

For instance, whenever we went to the doctor’s office, I would run around the waiting room trying to get my mother to catch me before the doctor came in. While avoiding her, I acted as if I were going to break the glass jars sitting next to the room’s sink or I picked up the medical equipment and acted as if I were going to throw the instruments against a wall. With a devil’s gaze and smile, I would grab a tongue depressor and hold it close to my mouth, watching my mother’s dismay, and then stick the almost contaminated depressor back into the jar. Always listening for the doctor’s footsteps or the rattling of the doorknob, as soon as I heard the doctor about to come in, I would stop immediately and sit down as if I were waiting there quietly, like an angel, the whole time. This almost evil temptation to amuse myself by fooling others has spawned many pranks that both entertain and frustrate those around me.

As I grew older, I became aware and disappointed that most humans did not share the same passion I had for comedy and practical jokes. However, I was thrilled to see people making a profession at it on television. As I’m sure many youth who grew up watching Saturday Night Live did, I dreamed of becoming an actor or comedian and making large audiences laugh. However, realizing that my odds of making it as a thespian or stand up comic were not so great, I decided to focus on bringing comedy to a smaller audience: my group of friends, family, coworkers, the occasional unlucky stranger, and most importantly, myself.

My group of friends continuously looks forward to the next gag that I will come up with (or at least in my mind they do). The humor we derive from pulling pranks on one another helps to keep our lives interesting and helps us to keep in touch with one another. As far as my family, well they are stuck with what they get, so if they don’t like it, tough luck.

The Need for Practical Jokes and April Fools

What makes us derive so much pleasure from seeing others startled, confused, slightly upset, in momentary pain, or in shock? I have been thinking about this question a great deal lately. The answer is probably slightly different for each of us but I believe it comes down to the basic fact that humans like to be entertained. We like to watch the reactions of our fellow humans when placed in precarious, uncertain, and odd circumstances in the chance that it will produce something out of the ordinary or amusing to our character. When humans are recreating, being entertained, or laughing we relax and forget about our troubles. Our minds are at ease and at peace. These breaks from the everyday toils and hardships of life are useful aids in helping one achieve overall happiness. If life was all work and no play it would indeed be a very sad existence.

T.V. studios have long realized that seeing practical jokes played on complete strangers appeals to North American mass audiences. One of the very first hidden practical joke shows, Candid Camera, started in 1948 and is still in production today. This is testament to how the practical joke has remained a part of our culture and is an important tool in our lives. Recently there has been a surge in the number of television shows that entertain their viewers through the use of practical jokes. In many cases, they feature sophisticated scams, hidden cameras, paid actors, and of course, unsuspecting victims. Some newer hidden camera shows include: Trigger Happy TV, The Jamie Kennedy Experience, Women Behaving Badly, MTV’s Punked, and a most recent addition, the SciFi channel’s Scare Tactics.

While these shows are at times very humorous, they are not exactly practical for the everyday person to carry out. Most of them have elaborate schemes and setups, which you can do when you have a large budget, but when you don’t have the capital that T.V. production studios have, you are forced to turn to a more practical means of satisfying your demand for entertainment; namely seeing others around you suffer. This book contains practical jokes that anyone can pull off with a minimal outlay of cash and in many cases the resources needed are those already laying around the house or your work environment.

The Science and Art of Practical Jokes

When we play jokes on others we have in mind an idea of how they will react to the given situation and we put that idea to the test. There is something very enthralling about performing your own social experiment on a fellow human. In a way, practical jokes are akin to conducting your own research using the scientific method. You predict the outcome of how your specimen will respond to certain stimuli (a thesis, if you may), devise the plan, provide the proper environmental conditions, and then sit back and watch your experiment unfold.

Sometimes, planning and anticipating the reaction of your prank can be even more exhilarating than the actual outcome of your efforts. For me, the best practical jokes are those that are well thought out, carefully planned, take several days to unfold and in the end everyone is able to have a good laugh. The reason I like the joke to play out over several days is that over this period you get to imagine what the person’s face will look like when the joke has reached its pinnacle. There are times when the scene as played out in my mind is reward enough for the labor and time involved in preparing a joke.

That’s not to say I don’t like playing jokes that take no planning and those where the reaction of your victim(s) are instantaneous. At times, you just need the immediate gratification of seeing someone’s mouth turn blue from the fake chewing gum you handed them a few minutes ago.

To be truly dedicated to the art of pulling off the practical joke, you must have patience and let your victim suffer until exactly the right moment, when you can finally let them in on the joke you have played. Watching your victim’s reaction to the prank at hand, not claiming responsibility until you have gotten the last laugh, and stopping before you push your friends over the edge can sometimes be a balancing act. On one hand, it is only human nature to be curious to see how far you can push a person and on the other is the fact you may actually turn your friend into an enemy.

There are also jokes where you don’t need to worry about upsetting someone because you will never let your friends’ know that it was you, for example you may want to anonymously mail them a greeting card during the middle of summer being sure to include a few words of discouragement and perhaps a few other treats. I like to place pieces of Wrigley’s chewing gum, small amounts of change, or dirt in with the card. Other odds and ends you may want to send include dirty magazines, beef jerky, candy wrappers, trash, or old clothes. You may even want to make up friends to play jokes on. My girlfriend calls these people “complete strangers,” but in my mind they are my good friends or at least they could be someday.

When you have a great joke, you should try to maximize the fun derived from the gag by playing your joke to small audiences. Try to separate your victims into small groups so you can pull the same prank many times. If you have a great joke and pull the prank while everyone is watching there may be no one left to victimize. By playing pranks on people individually you can get the best return on your humor investment. Additionally, once a friend has fallen for a prank, they will want to see someone else placed in the same precarious position that they were just in to see how this new person will react. In this way, you can gradually build an audience to share and watch the fooling or humiliation of others with you.


Practical jokes and April Fools come in many shapes and sizes. Some require no planning and are performed spontaneously, while others can span days, weeks, or months. There is even an industry that caters to the desires of pranksters by selling ready-to-go-gags that can be found on the Internet or in novelty stores. While out of the box, prepackaged jokes can be great, some of the most rewarding shenanigans are often original pranks that have been developed while keeping in mind a specific person that you want to fool.

On this site you will find an excellent variety of jokes that run the gamut from very easy to pull off gags to more complex practical jokes that require a significant time investment, but all are feasible. Many of the jokes you will read about are either original pranks or use old gags in new ways. A fair amount of these pranks have also been played on me. In some instances I have changed names to protect the innocent and in others I have left them unchanged because I seriously hate their guts or don’t really care what happens to them. While not complete, these are some of my more favorite pranks, gags, and jokes that I have used to frighten, intimidate, harass, make fun of, shock, torture and torment my most loved (and hated) friends, roommates, family, coworkers and even the occasional stranger.

As you read through the jokes, please keep in mind that I have never deliberately set out to cause permanent psychological suffering on any of my prankees and avoid, if possible, creating enemies out of existing friends and acquaintances. In fact, I purposely avoid playing pranks on people who I do not believe would eventually appreciate the joke (again, except for strangers). Additionally, I try to save the best practical jokes for my good friends. I have found that one of the greatest rewards for having pulled off a fabulous prank is that you are able to reminisce with an old friend who was once your victim. Reminiscing with an old friend is hard to do if they no longer desire to speak with you. That is not to say you have to follow this path; if you want to humiliate your enemies or those who have done you wrong, I can understand that. Just remember that if a majority of the people you play jokes on can’t look back and laugh, you probably aren’t a practical joker, you are just a prick.

For those hardcore jokers that feel some of these pranks don’t go far enough to aggravate their victims (and I might agree with you), understand others who read it could feel some gags are too bastardly. In some cases, I had to tone down the description of the prank for decencies sake; in other words, my grandmother will be reading this. However, in other cases I may have slightly dressed the gag up because otherwise you wouldn’t laugh or cringe as hard as I want you to. My hope is that overall this will satisfy both tastes.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessie November 27, 2010 at 6:33 am

How the hell could you laugh ‘from ear to ear’ when you have just killed your father! Are you CRAZY!


jocelynn November 29, 2010 at 4:03 am

hi im justin bieber i got ur stuff and will u come over my house and we con talk


Squirt April 9, 2011 at 4:02 am

hi my name is zoe and i dont think that you are justin bieber because i didnt even know that he would do something like that so if you get this send one back


Colt December 3, 2010 at 5:13 am

dude u sound jus like my dad. he can tell me any bullshit he wants, an i wana believe him. he recently told me he was a werewolf. i knew he was joking, but he can act so serious. he also loves scaring people, but he is impossible to scare. he tells the best stories


girlygirl March 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm

omg seriously you need to grow up ‘ killed ur own dad’ yeah yeah bullshit – overgrown kid u are SERIOUSLY so childish …


randomchic March 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

wow you are a child


Khaotica March 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Sounds as though you’ve got heart, soul, madness and method! Enjoyed the science/art portion with regard to humans needing to observe reaction. Ironically, there’s something altruistic AND sadistic to it all. To entertain and laugh along with everyone but also to create the joke itself AND control a situation involves much of what people need in life but too many have rejected from theirs.

Anyway, I can relate… What I don’t understand is people coming to a practical joke site and not getting or taking offense at an obvious joke. To demand someone to grow up?! This person has either not grown up herself and/or WAY TOO SERIOUS and is in desperate need of a pranking to. I would be more than happy to pants this girlygirl! ; )

Instead of a pile of videos, you have given some insight. Rather than just jumping out at victims, you’ve given some other good, creative jokes. In lieu of elaborate props you’ve shared real PRACTICAL jokes. Thank you.


Jeffas July 5, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I like your style. But what is it with the fools calling you a murderer? Guess most people have lost their sense of humor along with their minds!


mason March 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm

its awesome


Anna Taylor March 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Oh my Goodness!! You killed your dad!? If I had done that I would be disturbed and ashamed of myself for the rest of my life! I can’t believe that you still grin form ear to ear at the thought of your dad’s reaction!!! You are, what they call, evil.


Jeffas July 5, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Are you serious? How foolish can you be? I doubt he actually did kill his dad. Even if he did he’s an evil genius.


kira January 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

wow that was amazing


Catrina March 31, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Do you not have any compassion at all? You caused your dad’s heart attack, according to what you say (which I don’t totally believe), and yet you smile about it? Seriously, that is just sick. You seriously have some mental issues…no sane person would still be smiling had they been in your shoes. It’s people like you that need to be in a mental institution.


watupinthehauseyall January 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I totally agree. I wouldn’t be happy if i killed my dad(but i bet he didn’t). He is sick but awesome!


Your Mom April 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

YOU ARE SERIOUSLY DISTURBED!!! How could you kill your own dad and smile! you are crazy! i would probably go andhide for the rest of my life. that was technically murder.


Jeffas July 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm

There is something wrong with people like you.


The kid next door : ) August 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Are you serious … !


Italian chick April 3, 2011 at 2:53 am

F you! Ur a murderer!!! U should b ashamed of yourself!


Italian chick April 3, 2011 at 2:55 am

WWJD?!? Shame on you.


Anna April 5, 2011 at 10:38 am

ARE YOU CRAZY??????? You killed your dad?!?!?!?!?!


that guy August 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

LOL you guys/chicks are gooses (well the ones that think he killed his dad) don’t you think he would be in for man slaughter, grow up and use some common sence for fk sake people seriously?


that girl December 1, 2011 at 4:19 am

Hilarious! I thought the practical joke intro (dad dead of heart attack) was perfect. My 11 year old caught on…but he still has his sense of humor.


Michael Muryn January 3, 2012 at 5:11 am

I ended up on this page looking if I can say “play jokes” in English to include in my new Twitter profile’s bio (@mickoz). I’m glad I ended up reading it, very nice text.

Those of us who like to joke around (or at a more high level entertain ourself and/or other) and want to do it for the good reasons, we are also often fighting with the fact that we might end up pissing off people. It is sometime hard to deal with this as we do it for the fun of it (our fun, but also other’s fun), but there will always be someone who will disagree, have no sense of humor, or react very badly (even after we explain to them it was a prank, they might stay mad and cannot appreciate the genius being the work). We might even end up feeling really bad (if you are like me and do care). Of course, we have to be carefully, but then we so want to go a bit further (just like a junkie that need just a bit more to experiment a new feeling, or even just to get the same feeling as the low dose used to provide). But that is the risk and usually your good friends on which you do play prank on them, appreciate you a bit for this… they do, right? 🙂

The good moments way overcome the bad moments. Still there are bad moments/reactions no matter how hard we try to avoid them (even if at first we want to somehow shock/frustrate, we do not want to hurt in the end). I guess that is life, and we cannot always control how these humans will react. 🙂

Let me tell you one of my small success stories that come to mind. I was at a very good friend wedding. A very nice guy. He is asian (Khmer/Cambodian) and it was therefore kind-of traditional/conventional. As usual, I did a couple of stuff to entertain (like when people at my table insisted that I execute our table’s game for the bride and the groom; hey even if I tried to bail-out because of shyness, they insisted for it; and people still remember it too…). Later, when it was time to leave, my friend’s sisters were greeting me (the crazy white friend) at exit, and they had their traditional good-bye move which I somehow imitated when saying good bye. It was a pure “on-the-fly” innocent moment mixed with some good wave to spice it a little bit. One of his sisters told me right after something like “you got my grandpa to laugh; it is maybe the last time he will laugh in his life.” (I think she was also under-meaning that he does not laugh much anymore…)

That is a very little moment (where I did not do anything “very shocking”), impacting only a small amount of people, but that is the kind of magic moments that I appreciate about entertaining and fooling around. It might not mean much for some, but for me it is a priceless award! It reminds me of why I do this (beside entertaining myself) and encourage me to continue!

Lately, I have been defining some my humor as “street humor” (that goes well with “complete strangers” or like you call them “[potential] good friends”). You know, you go on street, or when you are with a very small group of people, and you entertain them. Of course you do not create an impact on millions of people as you would do by doing it on SNL… however it is a kind of humor that is very interesting to practice and you can do stuff that you cannot necessary scale or play with the same flexibility in front of a larger audience (you can translate of course the same logic, but you can more easily adapt and “optimize” the situation with a small amount of people as you can analyze them all and tailor your play specifically for them).

Finally, last year I thought to adopt this motto: “make them laugh one at a time”. So even if it is a small audience, if it entertain, then I am happy and also if I do something “stupid” and at least one person laugh around, even if some are clueless/emotionless about it and/or think it is “stupid”, then I can say it worked.


china lee March 7, 2012 at 7:14 am

it’s incredible!it’s genuine that you grin when kill your dad?


Abi June 26, 2012 at 3:22 am

Notice the horrible grammar and the clear inability to see mental patterns of those criticizing a man who is creating a website for practical jokes and gags…. Jesus, is the world as rampant with idiots as it seems? Keep up the good work you douche. You are feeding the mind of millions too stupid to think of their own ideas. Haha. I like the way you described finding the perfect moment, and duration you can push a person. I am also looking to create a space of time to laugh about with a friend 🙂 Any ideas on how to prank a shy girl with a focus on something sight related? She’s a visually bases person. Thanks!


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