A Guide to Practical Jokes, Part 1
Congratulations! After reading this article you will have have taken your first steps toward becoming a first class prankster, joker and all-around wag! We’ll discuss the skills you’ll need to become the world’s greatest ha-ha poobah. Just like basic training in the Army, you’ll learn a set of skills that will take you from Private Pitiful to Colonel Cutup, and eventually to a five-star General Jester.
1. Sense of Humor
Oscar the Grouch can turn back now; to go any further, you need to have a sense of humor. You have to be able to laugh at other people when funny things are done to them. If you aren’t laughing, it’s not a joke!
You can train yourself to have a better sense of humor. Watch other people and when you find yourself getting sad for them, ask yourself, is there any way I can make this funny? Watch the “Chuckles the Clown” episode of “Mary Tyler Moore.” At first they’re sad when Chuckles dies, but then they can’t stop laughing about it. That’s humor!
People falling down, spilling food and getting hit by bicycles can be hilarious if you look hard enough!
Okay, your mom told you that you shouldn’t do it and so did your priest. But they did it, so why shouldn’t you? A lie is always central to good practical joke, so cross your fingers behind your back and get ready to spread a little white laughable lie.
Remember: the more they believe your lie the funnier your joke will be. Ashton Kutcher must be one of the greatest liars in the world — after all, he made the show “Punk’d.” (I once laughed so hard at “Punk’d” that I passed out while I was laughing at what he did to Simon Cowell on the show. Instead of ROFLing, I ROFUed. The U stand for “unconscious.”)
Lets face it, the reason for a practical joke is repressed anger toward the person the joke is played on. To be a successful journeyman of the jocular, you need to have a lot of anger toward a lot of people.
One myth about anger is that the person you are angry at has to have wronged you in some way. Not true. It could just be that the victim of your joke is different in some way, or is just a stranger. Oftentimes, our basic differences and the unknown inspire anger in people with finely developed senses of humor.
So pick the sorry sucker that will suffer at your hands carefully. Remember, the weaker the person you pick on, the less likely it is that they will get you back.
The absolute funniest jokes are when you convince someone else that something terrible has happened to them. The more terrible the thing, the funnier the joke! So, people with a bit of a cruel streak tend to be the masters of malicious merriment!
To really perform the best of all possible whimsical whammies, you have to figure out what is most important to the receiver of your ribaldry, and then pretend that something has happened to it. If their car is the most important thing to them, pretend it’s been stolen. If their child is the most important thing to them, pretend he’s in the hospital.
Remember the only difference between tragedy and comedy is that you’re laughing at the end of comedy because the tragedy isn’t as bad as you thought it was. You imagine the worst thing that can happen to someone, convince them that it’s true and then tell them it isn’t. That way, they get all the psychological damage, but if they don’t laugh, it means they don’t have a sense of humor.
If Hitler had had a sense of humor, he would have been Ashton Kutcher!
Continued in Part 2: The Classics!