Category: Pranks

Bunny Burgers: Spy Magazine’s Real Satiric Bite

Filed Under Pranks

This was one of my favorite Spy Magazine pranks in print, but I never saw the TV version of it until somebody uploaded it to YouTube recently. It’s called Bunny Burgers, a pretty atrocious idea for fast food made worse by actively emphasizing that “Bunny” part at every possible moment.

Just a brilliant idea. And though it has lot of nice reaction shots from the general public, the real satiric bite isn’t on them. It’s a prank where one set of “victims” make fools of the real target - the PR firms who’d actually compete to represent it. A rare contrast that hasn’t been done since on television, despite the proliferation of prank shows in the past ten years on cable. (via Maximum Fun)

Previously: Interview with Spy co-founder Kurt Andersen

Posted by Todd Jackson at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Triumph at Comic-Con: A Peek Into the Sausage Factory of Insult Comedy

Filed Under Improv, Late Night, Pranks

The ubiquity of digital cameras may be a bane for some, but I kind of dig how you can see how thanks to web video you can see Robert Smigel at work as Triumph. Watching this you realize how much of a remote like this can come together in the editing.

First up, the actual piece as it aired on Conan:

Now, here’s some footage taken of Smigel while he looked for lines to lay on these guys. Turns out he wasn’t prepared for the guys dressed as Spartans from 300.

So, no gay jokes on his assorted pages of notes. I’m not sure how common it is that he needs those pages. Smigel may not have all that instantaneous knowledge of the fandom that makes for speedy recall of one liners. But he definitely would always be prepped with some pre-written lines based on whoever he expected to show up at any event Triumph was covering. Do you think he needs those notes on other Triumph shoots?

I’m sure it’s also pretty obvious from other remotes but the great thing about having a puppet character means that Smigel can drop in a better line later or, in the case of this clip, cut in the second time he told the joke. You can do that with coverage and editing with a live person, but so much easier here. No need to sync with Triumph’s lips whatsoever.

Next more of the Bomber-Man character.

And someone who didn’t make the cut of the finished piece (along with a piece at the beginning of a different big guy not in costume).

I love how he repeats the same “goo” punchline - he’s not going with laughs from con-goers. He’s going for laughs from the studio audience. So if it falls like a brick here, who cares? They’re cutting the next second anyway (if, or course, they had used that).

Posted by Todd Jackson at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

Hey, What’s Zach Galifianakis Been Up To Lately?

Filed Under Movies, Pranks, Print

Glad you asked. First of all, he’s gotten a book deal:

Writer/star of both his own Comedy Central special and the recent Live At The Purple Onion DVD Zach Galifianakis’s ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Comedians Of Comedy, a humorous sequence of essays and musings that shed some light on his magical beard, to Ben Greenberg at Grand Central, by Sally Willcox at CAA (World).

Hard to say how good that will be. Galifianakis material is mostly one-liners, briliant one-liner. He’s also highly improvisational. Will that work as a book?

Also, he’s staring in the upcoming Visioneers, which has cult written all over it. Zach stars as a mid-level office worker who’s worried he’s going to explode. And he appears to have dreams that he’s George Washington.

There’s a level of distance that’s all over this, but it’ll be interesting to see if that’s because of quirk or because that’s the only way to deal with the things George is feeling.

And, when he’s not doing those, he’s making college girls uncomfortable…

Posted by Todd Jackson at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Filming Bruno: The Audience is What Makes It Funny

Filed Under Movies, Pranks

The filming of Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat, recently made some news while shooting in Wichita, Kansas. Besides disrupting a local church Easter play, the crew also filmed a scene at an airport which was caught with this spectator’s video.

It’s a little fascinating to see in this context because though Bruno and his dance partner look silly and it is a funny dance, you don’t really have a joke. What’s necessary for that?

The reaction - the breathless gawking and confused stares. Thank goodness for local news media. Besides quoting anonymous witnesses as saying the antics “almost looked like pornography”, they also filed this somewhat ridiculous report, where they warn audience members that they might be offended, as if two men dressed very silly doing a funny dance was pornography.

Check out Ma and Pa Kettle smiling - smiling! - at 0:59. They sure like pornography, huh? The media doesn’t notice that older couple. Of course, I don’t think the Bruno movie will be showing them either. Maybe those are “look at the fruits!” smiles, but perhaps its genuine amusement at something outside the everyday. No matter what, the ambiguity of it wouldn’t be funny. (I certainly hope Sacha Baron Cohen proves me wrong.)

But it’s interesting how both that news report and, likely, Bruno will rely on the one version of America - that we’re offended or shocked, not that we’re amused and picking up our cell phone cameras. One’s doing it to enforce the status quo, the other to slam it.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

Bird Poop In Mouth Fake, Bob Odenkirk Genius

Filed Under Funny 2.0, Pranks

First there was this:

Which fooled quite a few people apparently. And today there was this posted to Bob Odenkirk’s blog:


If you look at the profile page for the poster of the original video it makes the prank go even deeper. They marked some of the web’s greatest hits as their favorites ( and re-uploaded a couple of them too to bolster the illusion.) Note the keyword stuffing on the original vid too. Who doesn’t mark a viral video “Britney Spears”, even if it has nothing to do with her?

Now, all we need is for Frumondah to become a real drink. Are you listening, Brawndo manufacturers?

Posted by Todd Jackson at 03:22 PM | Comments (3)

Huckabee and the National Igloo: In Politics is it Ever Just a Joke?

Filed Under Pranks, Satire

It’s interesting as Mike Huckabee became ascendant on the Republican side, that this video from the Canadian comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes surfaced. It features Arkansas governor Huckabee, among other Little Rock residents, congratulating our northern neighbor on its “National Igloo.” Here’s the bit:

Obviously no real traction here considering Huckabee handily won Iowa. One of the things comedians constantly assert is how what they do doesn’t necessarily have an impact. It’s practically a mantra by Jon Stewart when people ask about the weight of The Daily Show on politics. It’s part of the natural defense mechanism for comedians - saying “it’s a joke” gives you the room to work. Why cut out the flexibility that let you tell you joke in the first place?

Even so, people attribute some impact on a well placed barb or prank. A recent piece in the New Yorker on the Australian elections talked about why prime minister John Howard was not out-going prime minister John Howard. It related that Howard was “humiliated” at the APEC summit by the sketch group Chasers, which was “supposed to be the zenith of Howard’s premiership.” You may remember this bit as it was pretty ballsy - a prank where the team dressed up one of their own as Osama Bin Laden and put him in a motorcade to see how far into security they could penetrate. Here’s the televised result:

The story doesn’t necessarily put an excessive amount of weight on the event but it’s interesting how much humor is attributed to driving the discourse. Many viewers are doubtless thrilled at the return of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report tonight, even if they are disappointed by having to cross the Writers Guild pickets line. Feeling the absence of their voices during the primaries is something they value, a perspective that helps.

But in what way? I don’t think humor and comedy rarely have conversion abilities - it doesn’t necessarily change minds. But it’s ability to bind and connect further those who already see things one way, that’s the balm for when things don’t go your way and the fire to press your advantage. In other words, people who are laughing at Huckabee unaware that there’s no igloo are already not voting for him.

How much effect do you think humor and comedy will have on these year’s presidential campaign?

Posted by Todd Jackson at 05:06 PM | Comments (5)

Tim & Eric Call Apple iTunes, Re: Podcast

Filed Under Funny 2.0, Pranks

While cleaning some old files off my machine, I rediscovered this gem. It’s Tim and Eric looking for funding for their podcast from Apple. I love how long they’re able to stay straight faced in this.

One very funny details that’s not a part of the video: In the short series of podcasts available on iTunes for Tim & Eric, this one, part 5, is the only one that you can’t find on their site. No sense of humor Apple?

Posted by Todd Jackson at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)