15 of the Funniest Pranks That Were Worth The Effort

A fart is not a prank
15 of the Funniest Pranks That Were Worth The Effort

The word “prank” used to mean something. These days, you can walk into a Kmart, fart a couple times and say, “Oh yeaahh??” next to a middle-aged man, and walk out with five million views. But once upon a time, you really had to work for those laughs. Here are some pranks that required a bunch of planning and preparation, and totally paid off…

Jackass Number Two: “Terror Taxi Ride”

There’s something cathartic about watching a toothless doofus get his comeuppance for gleefully embracing every terrorist trope the aughts could cook up. That humble pie is masterfully delivered by Broken Lizard’s Jay Chandrasekhar.

Impractical Jokers: “Blind Justice”

Sal’s punishment is to deliver a “scared straight”-type monologue to what he thinks is a room full of troubled teens. The twist is: he’s blindfolded, so he can’t tell that he’s actually in a room full of (presumably innocent) senior citizens

Crank Yankers: Wanda Sykes

It’s hard to imagine anyone could hear Wanda Sykes on the phone and not immediately know who they were talking to. Luckily, one auto mechanic thought he was talking to an angry customer named Gladys, who believes his guys pinched a loaf in her backseat.

Wondershowzen: “Beat Kidz”

Their kid-on-the-street segment sends out adorable, precocious young journalists to make adults feel wildly uncomfortable with questions like, “Who did you exploit today?”

Bam Margera vs. Phil

Bam’s (apparently) good-natured aggression toward his dad is absorbed with superhuman patience and a playfulness you wouldn’t expect from such a bear-shaped man.

Billy on the Street: “Name a Woman”

Billy Eichner’s frantic jerk-on-the-street segments make a mockery of the medium (in the best possible way), and never is he more on-point than when befuddling passersby with the most basic possible demand: “For a dollar, name a woman.”

CollegeHumor’s Prank War

Streeter Seidell and Amir Blumenfeld had a years-long feud that ranged from a simulated public engagement to a simulated skydiving disaster. Possibly the best installment is when Amir is asked to guest on Human Giant, one of his favorite shows, only for his heroes to berate him for an entire afternoon. They got their own five-season MTV show out of it, called Pranked, so… not a bad deal.

Impractical Jokers: “The Blunder Years”

Murr is told he has to compete in a bodybuilding competition. He slips into a banana hammock, gets all oiled up — and finds out that he’s actually interviewing his childhood crush, The Wonder Years’ Danica McKellar.

Undercover Boss: The Facial Hair!

This dramatic reality series veers into prank territory whenever the millionaire CEO’s working-class cosplay is done with all the grace and style of a divorced dad on a budget experimenting with his facial hair.

Pre-Fame Sacha Baron Cohen

He’s been able to pull off some incredible interviews in recent years, thanks to prosthetics and proteges (see: Rudy Giuliani getting comfy in a hotel room). But his early stuff is truly inspired — the man asked Buzz Aldrin if the moon exists.

Nathan for You: “Hero Pig Saves Goat”

Nathan Fielder has an uncanny ability to go viral months before a new season of his show drops. One early example was his video of a pig saving a drowning goat at a petting zoo, which made the rounds online and on the local news — only to reveal when the episode aired that the whole thing was meticulously planned.

Punk’d: Zach Braff Maybe Punched a Kid?

Donald Faison had some kids spray paint Braff’s Porsche, and the dude absolutely erupted on them. What aired is already a bad look for Braff, but he later said they had to edit out a physical altercation.

Mark Proksch: K-Strass the Yo-Yo Guy

Probably best known as Colin Robinson on What We Do in the Shadows, a pre-fame Proksch would get himself booked on local news stations as a down-on-his-luck yo-yo master.

Jackass 3D: “The Giant Hand”

These guys have dedicated years of their lives to devising the most complicated, Looney Tunes-esque pranks in history. But one of their best was one of their simplest: Trick guys into carrying a tray of tomato soup, then slap them with a cow-sized hand.

Anytime a Room Full of People Applauds for a Dog

I’d hand deliver my own mother’s data to the Chinese government if that’s what it takes to keep watching people give their dogs a standing ovation on TikTok. Got their ass!

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