Friday, September 14, 2007

An inspired practical joke

First a word from our sponsor -- me... and then today's post. Video testimonials from the first Sitcom Room are now on line and available here. I look like a dork on this thing but the other people come off cool.

Just a couple of slots remain open for Sitcom Room II. Details here. Thanks.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog.

After writing all those Bar Wars practical jokes episodes of CHEERS, no one loves a good practical joke war more than me. I found a real one recently that is truly great. Two guys from have been going at it for about a year now.

In this installment, one of them goes to Yankee Stadium with his girlfriend and is in for quite a shock.

Watch it here.


Bill said...

It's really funny, but the girlfriend should've been in on the joke, since it's mostly cruel to her. It'd be like that Bar Wars with Gary's fake death, and no one let Gary's family in on it.

R.A. Porter said...

Don't worry Bill. She was upset at the boyfriend that night, but according to this interview with Deadspin, she's mostly gotten over that and is now targeting Amir. I can only imagine that prank #7 will be co-authored by the woman scorned.

Ken, you don't look like a dork in the video, but you would have looked cooler if you'd put on the fake mustache. And a big sombrero. Or maybe a beret. Berets are cool.

We were all so exhausted by that point we look like POWs. In my case, a POW who'd eaten his platoon in captivity, but a POW nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

I reckon Streeter (sp?) should take the hint and get out now.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. The revenge prank should involve a Turkish prison.

A "friend" of mine proposed to a girlfriend at a game once - she said grumpily, "Well, I can't say no now, can I." Wedding never happened.

Anonymous said...

very funny, but obviously planned out by all involved. the acting was horrible.

estiv said...

I look like a dork.

But you're a writer. And believe me, I should know.

That practical joke is classic, and to me in its way as beautiful as the Mona Lisa. But I agree that poor Sharon got used. This clip could not honestly post a disclaimer saying "No one's feelings were hurt during the performance of this gag." Yeah, Sharon, track down Amir.

But for someone to spend all that time, energy, and money setting it all up...I'm in awe. And then the couple's seen but unheard argument, culminating in that slap--I guess the best comedy timing is found in real life.

Alex Epstein said...

Yah. That's just mean.

Anonymous said...

I looked at this and a couple more... so staged. Seemed to me to be structured improv games, not actual pranks.

Steve Peterson said...

Yah -- thinking about it a bit more, I've never seen a person in real life get slapped, and it seems even less likely in this situation. Why would she slap him if he's, as I assume a real person would, simply saying that it wasn't him who put it up there?

Anonymous said...

This is an improvement over the original. In 1993, I did something similar at the old Ballpark In Arlington.
Two actor acquaintances sat in the designated seats and, when the time came, the Rangers showed them on the diamond vision with the super: Amy, will you marry me? Love, Billy. "Amy" then pulled off her wig, revealing short hair. She held up a sign: I can't I'm a boy.
"Billy" then pulled off his wig, shook down his long hair and held up a sign: That's ok, I'm a girl." The couple embraced and jumped up and down as the whole crowd laughed and applauded.

estiv said...

Do any of the people here saying it's fake have any proof of that at all? Have they clicked on the link that r.a. porter provided and looked at Amir's interview? Or looked at any of the first five pranks, also available for easy viewing? Jeez.

Unknown said...

If it wasn't so funny, I'd probably feel more sorry for her.

For those wondering why she slapped him, I'm guessing she thought he chickened out and denied the whole thing. Looking at her, and then looking at him, I would have just gone with it if I were him.

It would have been the story of the night for everyone who saw it, though.

Steve Peterson said...

This is the internet. I don't need proof to believe that something's fake. I need proof to believe that something's not fake. : )

Steve Peterson said...

And after reading the Deadspin interview I'm even more suspicious. She says "yes" -- he says "I don't wanna fucking marry you!" -- and now she's still with him?!

They pranksters have a clear vested interest in playing this up as being real since it gets them so much media attention and that can translate into paying gigs.

Unknown said...

The problem with this is that the two of them (sans the girlfriend) are employees of the website the video is on. They are part of other videos that are "original content" of that site.

So why on earth should their "prank war" be real? I mean they got Human Giant to help them in Part 5. How real can that be?

By Ken Levine said...

This has turned into a whole cool thing. Is this video real or fake? I'm going to try to find out for sure one way or another.

In the meantime, happy speculating.

My seminar is real though.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see a brillian ballpark improv/prank, look no further than the good folks at Improv Everywhere and their awesome Rob! prank:!/

Alto2 said...

The girlfriend should have cold-cocked them both. This was a horrible thing to do. And, she should have been in on it. Dumb jerks.

Anonymous said...

I'm still really surprised at the number of people who look at this and believe it to be true.

Here's the giveaway... Look at the open-mike prank. First this experienced open-mike standup is totally unprepared to move on to other topics/material when something tanks.

Second, "Spontaneously" several people in the audience begin calling the prankee fat and lambasting for being fat. No one in the audience objects as the fat taunts continue. Even if it was a prank - how long would everyone in a New York audience allow someone to be repeatedly be called fat?

Every one of the four pieces I looked at had these giveaways. Sometimes the acting is better than others. Sometimes the camera angles seem more realistically opportunistic than others. But generally, it's all very staged and controlled.

I stake my good name (even though I don't reveal my name here!) on the fact that these are produced pieces and not actual pranks.

Anonymous said...

The sign said SitcoN Room.


Anonymous said...

Interesting tidbit from fredmertz's Improv Everywhere link:
Unfortunately, Yankee Stadium does not allow any video cameras or backpacks; so smuggling in filming equipment would be nearly impossible.

Anonymous said...

"The sign said SitcoN Room."

Yep, we kinda noticed that. We tried all weekend to get it changed.

At least you saw the sign from Day 2.

On Day One it read, "Alan Thicke's Sitcon Room."

voiceofsocietyman said...

Well, real or no, I laughed real guffaws and then felt some real guilt for doing so. I'd love to know more about it and look forward to your follow-up, Ken.

Back in 1992, I proposed to my (now) wife at Yankee Stadium in almost exactly those same seats in almost the same way. I bought 28 tix to the Friday Red Sox game, contrived to get us to the game but to the wrong section, then moved up later (after all ready proposing, ring-in-Cracker Jacks box and everything). She was stunned. The screen read, "On this, our 100th game together, please say you'll marry me." My brother, in charge of the video, messed up by confusing the on/off switch so that we have only a minute of useful footage followed by sideways shots of his lap.