Today is April Fool’s Day, but too often the joke is on us.
Will Smith’s Oscar slap was certainly no prank — although when he first took the stage on Sunday night and approached comedian Chris Rock, I thought that was a bit of a rehearsal. Based on Rock’s shocked reaction, he might be too.
And here’s another thing people wish was a joke: Country singer Eric Church has canceled his Saturday night concert in San Antonio. Instead, he will be at the Duke-North Carolina Final Four game in New Orleans.
His fans – many of whom built trips to attend the concert – are understandably upset.
Church said on social media that “As a lifelong Carolina basketball fan, I’ve watched Carolina and Duke fight over the years, but to see them face off in the Final Four for the first time in NCAA Tournament history is every sports fan’s dream.” That’s true, but it might also have been an Eric Church fan’s dream to see him perform in person. Bad luck, right?
People also read…
No pranks here
I’m old enough – and many of you reading this are too – to remember when the Kenosha News ran fake news stories on April Fool’s Day.
They were fun, creative tales – many of them written by the late, great Don Jensen – and, at times, people (including me) were fooled.
When people ask me why the newspaper doesn’t carry on this tradition, I tell them that our world is flooded all day, every day, with fake news. It’s no longer fun to “report” on a gorilla that escapes from the Milwaukee Zoo and is trapped atop a Kenosha radio tower. These days, online rumors and conspiracy theories lead to crowds gathering in Dallas for the second coming of John F. Kennedy Jr. (true story) or, worse, showing up with guns at a pizzeria ( again, true story).
So while we can’t partake in the fun tradition of April Fool’s Day pranks here in Kenosha News, we can enjoy some of these famous pranks from years past:
On April 1, 2000, The Independent newspaper reported that Florida researchers had developed a Viagra-like pill to treat sexually frustrated pets. The article pointed out that there are few things as sad as a pet suffering from feelings of sexual inadequacy, noting, “It is not uncommon for a guinea pig to sit in its cage thinking, “I haven’t had sex in months. Am I so unattractive? »
In 1998, Burger King enticed customers with a full-page ad in USA Today for the new “Left-Handed Whopper” – with all the condiments turned 180 degrees, especially for left-handed diners.
Happy Glasnost Day!
On April 1, 1988, the Soviet newspaper Izvestia reported that Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona was in negotiations to join struggling side Spartak Moscow. The Associated Press quickly picked up this story. The AP had believed the story because austere Soviet newspapers had never before published an April Fool’s Day hoax. The sudden display of humor was attributed to Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of “glasnost,” or openness, instituted the previous year.
It worked in ‘Jurassic Park’
The April 1984 issue of MIT’s Technology Review included an article that described an effort by Soviet scientists to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction through the use of mammoth DNA and surrogate elephant mothers. The story was reported as real news by the Chicago Tribune.
On April 1, 1933, the front page of the Madison Capital Times reported that the Wisconsin State Capitol building lay in ruins after a series of mysterious explosions, attributed to “large amounts of gas, generated over several weeks verbose debates in the Senate and the Assembly”. bedrooms “. The article was accompanied by a photo showing the Capitol building collapsing.
On April 1, 1992, National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” program revealed that Richard Nixon was running for president again. His new campaign slogan was “I did nothing wrong, and I won’t do it again.” This announcement was accompanied by audio clips of Nixon (actually comedian Rich Little) giving his candidacy speech. Listeners flooded the show with calls expressing their outrage.
Give me freedom or give me tacos!
In 1996, Taco Bell ran a full-page ad in six major newspapers announcing that it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the Philadelphia National Historical Park where the bell is located. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. He said the Lincoln Memorial was also sold and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
A joke come true
Not all April Fool’s Day stunts die after April 1st.
In 2021, Culver’s actually produced the Curderburger, which started out as an April Fool’s Day joke. Reaction to the idea of a Culver’s Butterburger with a “crown” of cheese curds was so positive that the company offered it that year in October on National Cheese Curd Day. Unsurprisingly, it was a huge success.
I encourage everyone to prank their families and friends today. Many studies show that laughter reduces pain, and psychologists have found that humor is the glue of good marriages. (I always assumed it was money.)
April Fool’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate laughter, so go ahead and tell your nephew that you’re going back to college and sharing a room with him next semester at Georgia Tech. And don’t forget to bring your old lava lamp. These things, like laughter, never go out of style.
Do you have a question or a comment? Email Liz at [email protected] or call her at 262-656-6271.