Pranks & Pranking – A History and How To Guide

Pranking has taken the 21st century by storm. A humorous act that has become so common, that when we hear the phrase “It’s just a prank” it provides us with a sense of ease, allowing us to relax and process the situation, regardless of how much of our underwear is in the freezer.

So what is a prank? It’s defined as a practical joke or mischievous act, also known as tricking or embarrassing someone. A prank can range from things such as a silly phone call, to embarrassing oneself in public to get a laugh out of other people. Especially since the rise of YouTube, pranking has become something where people will misguide, scare, startle, or put someone else into an awkward situation to give their audience a laugh. Pranking has also evolved to Television shows where people get put into awkward public situations, and once embarrassed, the prankster will then announce where the hidden cameras are and everyone will laugh about it. Regardless, the entirety of a prank is to laugh at the prankees’ situation.

Pranking has been around for a lot longer than people would actually think. April Fools’ Day (a day dedicated to playing practical jokes on other people) was popularized in 1700, but was celebrated for almost 200 years prior. Some historians might say that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian to Georgian Calendar. Some people who missed this, or were a little late receiving the news about how the new year had been moved to January 1st and continued to celebrate it through the end of March became quite the laughing stock. Which included them having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Pranking has always been somewhat of a magical event, everyone enjoys watching a good prank, but no one really likes to be on the receiving end of one. That’s what makes a prank funny. Naturally, we enjoy watching people endure situations that would make us personally feel uncomfortable. Which is what popularized now famous YouTubers such as Roman Atwood, Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, or Yousef Saleh Erakat (better known as Fousey Tube). Regardless of how people feel about them today, they were a few who grabbed the 21st century pranking movement by the horns and capitalized it. Their entire fame, and fortune is thanks to putting themselves, and other people into uncomfortable situations just to get a laugh from their audience. As this movement grew, millions of people began pranking others. Pranking became so popular that the term “It’s just a prank, bro” is said to entirely resolve a situation.

What’s important here, is that the Prankster always needs to jump out of the closet to tell others that it’s prank and take credit for it. Without someone taking responsibility for the funny act, it just becomes a coincidence. There are different types pranks where this is not necessary. When you swap out the Oreo cream filling for toothpaste, someone taking a bite will definitely know they’ve been duped. Though jumping out and laughing at them is not necessary, it might be worth your while to be around so you’re able to see their reaction when they take a bite of that fresh minty cookie. A good example of a great prank that you don’t need to be around to see, is when you leave a note on someone’s car explaining and apologizing for an accident that never happened. You don’t need to be around to know that’s going to drive them insane searching for the damage that isn’t there.

So let’s talk pranks. Here are 15 harmless pranks can you do to get a laugh at someone else’s expense:

– You can borrow a persons’ cell phone and change the language to something foreign. (Although this might turn out bad when you realize you don’t know how to change it back)

– You can change the language on their computer also!(This one’s a little easier to fix)

– Pop the keys off someone’s keyboard and replace them in random spots.

– Take something from their office and replace it with a ransom note. (Don’t forget to cut your letters out of a magazine for your ransom note)

– Sign them up for a spiritual group.

– Replace candy apples with candy onions.

– Place cups filled with water across the entire floor of a co-workers’ office before they get to work, or significant others bedroom floor while they’re sleeping so they wake up to an annoying, yet wet surprise.

– Fill their toothpaste with Orajel, when they brush their teeth their mouth will go numb in seconds.

– Make donuts for your friends, except fill them with mayonnaise.

– With an open water bottle on the counter, look inside it, say something like “oh wow, this is amazing. I can’t believe this actually works!” Then tell them to come over here and check this out. When they put their face close to the water bottle, you slap the sides of it causing a rush of water to come up and splash them in the face. (I’d move out of arms length after this one though)

– When someone is sleeping, put shaving cream on their hand and then tickle their face with a feather.

– Coat a bar of soap with clear nail polish so the soap doesn’t work when they’re having a shower.

– Replace the shampoo with hair die.

– Hide several alarm clock around the bedroom, and set them to go off in the middle of the night.

– Slip a couple raisins into their drink, so they’ll be in for a delightful surprise on their final sips.

Although pranking someone is… well intentionally all in good fun, remember that you’re doing is at someone else’s expense, and they’re probably not going to enjoy it too much. But, as long as you’re able to provide a solution, or not be around to feel the wrath of the person you’re pranking, we have a good feeling that everything is going to turn out great.


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