5 Killer Pranks That Prove Politicians Have A Sense Of Humor
As anyone who has ever lived through a presidential election can attest, politics are an endless source of comedy. However, it generally tends to be less "smartly-written dialogue" comedy and more "bleak absurdism featuring people who scream playground rhetoric at each other while wielding catastrophic power" comedy. But sometimes, the overlords we elect to preside over us ditch their usual antics in favor of good old-fashioned practical jokes. Because no matter what echelon of society you live in, there is a part of the human brain that stops aging in high school.
Oregon Politicians Join Forces For An Elaborate, Yearlong Rickroll
In 2010, Democrat Jefferson Smith, a junior member of the Oregon State House, decided that the only way to heal the rift between Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature was to stage the most elaborate rickroll in history. For those of you who don't remember, or have chosen to forget, "rickrolling" is the act of tricking someone into watching the music video for British adult contemporary vocalist Rick Astley's 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." It has yet to be determined whether anyone was ever truly disappointed once the catchy, synth-driven revelation struck them.
Now, if this was as simple as slipping the link somewhere into the state government's website, it'd hardly be worthy of a place on this list. Instead, Smith convinced members of both parties to sneak segments from the song in their speeches while on the House floor. For the benefit of future generations, and indeed for the record of human history itself, this was all captured on video:
Yes, that's a compilation of politicians quoting the lyrics of Astley's masterpiece for their peers. It was no easy feat to pull off, either -- the culprits had extremely strict rules for their prank. In order to avoid tipping off the State House clerks, they had to spread out the song lyrics evenly amongst the speakers. Each representative also had to make sure to deliver their line during a floor speech so it could be videotaped.
Now, the lyrics to a melodramatic pop song don't exactly weave seamlessly into normal political jargon -- you can really only get away with sneaking three or four words in before someone starts to notice that you're crooning. Consequently, the motley crew of Oregonian Republicans and Democrats in on the prank knew they were in for a long con. They started executing their plan during a special session in February 2010, sneaking in bits and pieces of the song -- including the really difficult-to-disguise lyrics like "ooh" and " hurt you" -- while Smith painstakingly combed through countless hours of footage in order to edit them into a coherent clip. It took them a year and two months to put together the clip you see above, which they eventually released on April Fool's day in 2011, to the delight of 1.6 million YouTube viewers and counting.
"Now that Republicans and Democrats are united, we can work together
to autotune the news once and for all!"
Some of Jefferson's colleagues were impressed enough that they've since asked if another secret video could be made, because real political work is too boring to take seriously.
The Last Four Governors Of Virginia Are In An Ongoing Prank War
Have you ever left a job, um, less than voluntarily, and felt the need to somehow mess with your replacement? After all, you might as well let the next guy know that he's in over his head from the get-go. So why not fill the top drawer of your workstation with an ocean of glue and Skittles on your way out the door?
And the ol' "live cobra disguised as a stapler" gag always gets a chuckle.
That attitude can apply to everyone, up to and very much including governors. In fact, the governors of Virginia have the gotten pranking their replacement down to an art. In the olden days of 2006, incumbent Virginia Governor Mark Warner decided that the best way to welcome his successor Tim Kaine was to leave a 1:1 cutout of himself in the shower of the Executive Mansion for Kaine to find. Attached to the image was a note proclaiming that Warner would never truly leave the house, such was his love of the office.
Somehow, Kaine managed to ignore the stalkerish overtones of this gesture, and decided that an awesome prank war was now afoot. Kaine took the cutout, colored it purple, and plastered on a rather unflattering photo of Warner that had recently been featured in TIME magazine. When Warner came back in town for the unveiling ceremony of his state portrait, Kaine unveiled the sabotaged cutout at the after-party, confirming for everyone in attendance that the governorship was in the hands of a 14-year-old boy.
"Unzip the fly and see what happens!"
Kaine wasn't finished punking his peers. In 2010, when he was about to leave office, he left a surprise for his successor, Bob McDonnell: He hid a series of cell phones in out-of-reach places -- such as inside the walls and atop elevators -- and would call them at various times during the night. You may recognize this as a prank Jim pulls on Andy in The Office, and much like in that episode, we imagine Governor McDonnell was required to attend anger management classes after he finally found all of the phones days later. Not content to be the final butt of this hilarious ongoing joke, McDonnell chose to pass the torch in 2014. He hid an alarm clock, set to go off at 4 a.m., in the bedroom of his successor, Terry McAuliffe. Being an early riser, McAuliffe managed to dodge this particular bullet. But McDonnell had another trick up his sleeve: He had hidden a goddamned taxidermied grizzly bear in the bathroom, which was somewhat more difficult for McAuliffe to avoid.
Again, not a joke.
There's a clear line of escalation here, which is another way of saying that the next governor of Virginia is going to come home to a mystery mansion full of Home Alone booby traps.
An Official Sneaks A Prank Painting Onto The Walls Of The Pentagon, No One Notices For Months
Captain Eldridge "Tuck" Hord III, a Pentagon official and military retiree, was a central part of one of the most elaborate, secretive operations the Pentagon has ever taken part of. No, it wasn't the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, or even a clandestine drone flight over Russian territory -- it was a damn prank. And not any old prank, mind you. This was a military practical joke, and it involved fake portraits, the participation of British and Canadian officers, and an actual goddamned secret operation at dawn. It was even code-named "THE PROJECT". Yes, in all capitals. Desert Storm wasn't in all capitals.
This is what happens when you don't have a Cold War to occupy your office downtime.
In 1982, Tuck graduated from the US Naval academy. His parents suggested having a formal portrait done to celebrate, because even a naval academy graduate's parents can be embarrassing. However, the man was photogenic, to the point where the photographer made several large copies of the portrait to advertise his business.
In 2004, Tuck was working for the Multinational Interagency Division, and threw a party for his colleagues. His sister decided to whip out a three-foot copy of his portrait, to the predictable amusement of everyone but Tuck. His British colleagues promptly stole the painting, and it started popping up in Tuck's office and at various parties he attended. By the time Tuck retired in 2009, he understandably wanted nothing more to do with the painting. So it stayed with his colleagues, in his old office.
In 2011, Canadian Lt. Col. Bangsboll noticed that most visitors thought that the portrait looked really old, and once again decided to use it for mischief. He decided to turn Tuck's image into an ancient character called Ensign Tuck Hord, a man who was lost at sea in 1908 (so that no one would check for his burial records). Dubbing the plan "THE PROJECT," he brought the portrait to a jewelry shop to have it properly framed and engraved. The engraver inadvertently sealed the deal on their newfangled fictional character by accidentally putting in "Chuck" instead of "Tuck," so the portrait read: "ENS CHUCK HORD, USNA, CIRCA 1898, LOST AT SEA 1908."
Bangsboll then scoured the Pentagon for the right spot, eventually settling on one of the less-busy hallways in order to minimize suspicion. At 6:15 a.m. on July 29th, 2011, he nonchalantly snuck in with the large portrait and hung it up.
Amazingly, no one in the heart of the nation's military might noticed a thing. "Chuck Hord" hung on the wall for seven months, alongside famous military figures such as Patton, Nimitz, and Eisenhower. It might still be there if the freaking Wall Street Journal hadn't noticed it and asked Pentagon officials how the subject of a 100-year-old painting managed to have blow-dried hair.
Officials searched for other anachronisms, but found nothing.
With that revelation, "THE PROJECT" came to an end, and Pentagon officials removed the painting of Tuck, commenting in a slightly amused way that there is an approval process for paintings in the Pentagon. We suspect that if they put that approval process to a vote, Ens. Chuck Hord's haunting portrait would be hung right back up to confuse future generations.
A British Member Of Parliament Gives A Speech Laced With Dick Puns
On paper, the British parliament is what you find stuck at the bottom of a family-sized package of stuffiness, looking you sternly in the eye and trying to figure out the most polite way to tell you to fuck off and close the lid. In practice, of course, they're all about cocks.
Just enter the right pub and ask to see "Big Ben."
Well, at least one member is: conservative MP (Member of Parliament) Penny Mordaunt. In December 2014, Mordaunt was tasked with giving a speech about poultry welfare. Recognizing the obvious possibilities for juvenile comedy the subject matter provided, she explicitly snuck in as much penis-celebrating innuendo as she could, deliberately using the word "cock" several times, and following it up with as many references to "laying" as she could manage. She even finished her speech with a wish to have no "cock-ups" on the subject, which works as both double entendre and a delightful chicken-related pun.
At first, no one even noticed. Parliamentary speeches are such boring affairs that we'd be surprised if anyone listening is even able to stay awake, let alone recognize a subtle assault of stealth dick jokes. Not content to be the only person enjoying her tomfoolery, Mordant went to the press and announced what she had done. Never before has a parliamentary speech about poultry become such a sensation.
Not even the famous Prime Minister's Questions session about the road-crossing chicken.
Upon the reveal, she was criticized by a number of other MPs, who felt that her conduct was more befitting of reality TV than government and that pranks had no place in Parliamentary speeches. However, the public came out on her side; since the prank became common knowledge, she received mailbags full of innuendo-laden letters of support.
As you may have suspected, Mordaunt had an ulterior motive for her chicken speech dick parade. See, she is a Navy reservist, and had lost a bet to her Navy friends, the stipulations of which left her honor-bound to recite a litany of dick jokes to a room full of people who didn't even notice what she was doing.
"As we say in the Navy, 'Si vis pacem, para bellum.' Or, 'Penis shaft dick, dong cock.'"
In the interest of full coverage, it's worth noting that she had previously entertained the House of Commons by regaling them with the story of the "Penis and Testicles Field Care" Kit she had received during her Naval training, which seems to suggest that no branch of the British government is paying as close attention as it should be.
A State Senator Nearly Passes A Bill That Would Require Psychiatrists To Dress Up As Wizards
Back in 1995, New Mexico state senator Duncan Scott decided that he'd had enough of psychologists and psychiatrists being called as witnesses during criminal trials. He believed that the whole "mental health" field of medicine was bullshit, and resented the fact that the testimonies of so-called mental health experts were given so much weight. So Scott decided to create a proposal that would finally recognize these snake oil salesmen for the frauds they so clearly were (in his mind).
"More like Sigmund Fraud and Carl Dung," He said, waiting for a high five that never came.
No description will do Senator Scott's proposal justice, so we'll simply quote the whole thing:
When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant's competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than eighteen inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding the defendant's competency, the bailiff shall dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong.
The first trial under these guidelines must be seen to be believed.
Yep. Scott, a state senator, wanted to dress all testifying psychologists and psychiatrists as full-blown wizards, and to even bang a gong to punctuate their testimony. Scott managed to latch his amendment to a larger psychologist bill proposal by fellow senator Richard Romero. And because the world is occasionally a sitcom, it actually passed the Senate by voice vote. Unfortunately for fans of both archaic mental health laws and LARPing, the House of Representatives promptly removed the amendment before passing the bill, because even though Scott's proposal was undeniably hilarious, it wouldn't have exactly advanced the treatment of mentally ill defendants by the criminal justice system.
Be sure to check out 7 Celebrity Pranks That Backfired Horrifically and The 4 Most Depressing Things About YouTube Prank Videos.
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