April Fools has been a tradition at least since the 1500s, though it didn’t become the widespread holiday it is now until the 20th Century. Below are some of the most outrageous and amusing hoaxes collected for your enjoyment.
All The Fools That’s Fit to Print
On April 1st 1985, the Orange County Register filled their obituary pages with the names of people who wrote letters to the editor, “Far too frequently.” Many of those same readers, not realizing they were the targets of an April Fools prank, called in to demand a retraction. The next day, the editors published a correction stating, “The following people were listed as recently deceased yesterday in our obituaries section. We would like to apologize for the mistake as all of those people died the year previous.”
A Heartless Prank
Not everyone can take a joke, as the Faculty of the Johns Hopkins medical school found out in 1998 when surgeons announced they had found a way to transfer healthy baboon hearts into humans. In their statement to the press they described themselves as being optimistic but cautious given certain strange side effects in their initial testing group including excess body hair, abnormal strength and a craving for bananas. Undeterred, thousands of desperate patients in need of heart transplants called in begging for the operation immediately and several even drove from hundreds of miles away to visit the hospital. The faculty was then forced to sheepishly reveal the procedure as an April Fools hoax to a broadly outraged public.
April Fools in the French Style
In what was surely one of the more memorable pranks of 1977, Bernadette Chirac, the wife of then French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, snuck into their mountain villa and switched places with her husband’s mistress. When Monsieur Chirac awoke, the head of state did not notice his love kitten had been replaced for a full twenty minutes, going so far as to order coffee from his servants which he then reportedly dropped in his own lap when his wife rose, yawning from the bedsheets, causing the French head of state to let out a “Sacrelebleu” which shook the fine china throughout the house.
Google Asks Jeeves
Famous for their April fools jokes, Google’s best may have been in 2006 when they ran all of their searches through their failing rival Ask Jeeves. People were delighted to find their search terms rephrased into questions and their search results converted into polite and useless answers. The web traffic proved so great in fact, that it broke Jeeve’s servers and rendered the service inoperable for over a week, ultimately leading to their bankruptcy. April Fools, Jeeves!
The Space Tourism Trap
Eccentric billionaire Richard Branson orchestrated an elaborate hoax on April Fools of 2004 when he announced the founding of a space-tourism company “Virgin Galactic.” Branson originally claimed that a special aircraft would be taking people into “sub-orbital” space by 2009. Of course the term “sub-orbital space” was itself a sort of joke since sub-orbital would mean the aircraft would still be inside the limits of Earth’s atmosphere. Despite Branson pushing back the start date over and over to prolong the prank, many people, including gullible members of the press, continue to ask when the service will be available, to which Branson always replies, “We will be launching any day now!”
The Higgs Weldon is a humor website with funny stories, articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was started by the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please enjoy our jokes!