4 Legendary Pranks by Famous Comedians
Office pranks have grown more popular and elaborate since Jim put Dwight's stapler in a Jell-O mold on The Office. Unfortunately, those perpetrated by people who aren't written by Mindy Kaling and Greg Daniels tend to have a hit-to-miss ratio on par with most "humorous" coffee mugs. But there are those rare occasions when people who are funny for a living unleash their comedic sensibilities on the unsuspecting outside world, and the rest of us can only look on in admiration, and think about trying to start a slow clap ...
Trey Parker Introduces Himself to Hollywood in the Most Memorable Way Possible
During the first season of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone quickly became two of the most talked about names in Hollywood despite the fact that nobody knew what they looked like. It would be a few months before their faces caught up with them via magazine articles and the limited cinematic release of their first feature film, a cult comedy about the porn industry called Orgazmo. But for a few months there, Parker and Stone could have been two elderly Asian ladies for all anyone knew.
While researching Orgazmo, Parker became friendly with porn star Tim Lake, who invited him to one of the strangest parties in Hollywood history. Like most parties that porn stars attend, there would be a bunch of people boning on camera. But unlike any other porn set in recorded history, there would also be a bunch of legitimate Hollywood movers and shakers milling about in the background. Basically, the legitimate side of the film industry thought it would be good ironic fun to get drunk in the presence of the legal prostitution side of their business. The adult film that resulted has actually appeared in a previous Cracked article because Carrie Fisher can be seen hanging out in the background, and we like to see people's eyes light up during the first half of that sentence.
The point is, most people would have just been grateful for the invite. But Parker was not most people. Realizing that all the legitimate industry types at the party would know his name and not his face, and double-checking that he truly didn't give a f#@k, Parker hatched a plan. Prior to the party, Parker and his porn star friend switched identities. The porn star went around introducing himself as Trey Parker, and explaining that he was there researching an upcoming movie. Meanwhile, Parker introduced himself as a porn director, and when a porno eventually broke out in the living room, he began directing the action. According to one eyewitness, Parker fully committed to the role, stalking around the humping people like a French New Wave film director with a vision, while yelling things like "More ass. I need more ass in this shot!"
At first, the fake Trey Parker hung back and pretended to be taking notes. But at a certain point, the real Parker directed the porn star pretending to be Parker to jump in, at which point fake Parker stripped naked and began expertly humping away in front of the camera. That's how a crowd of agents, producers and Princess freaking Leia herself were introduced to the famously shy writer-animator behind South Park.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make an entrance.
Zach Galifianakis Goes Rogue Before Conan
Before Zach Galifianakis had a beard, he had a late-night talk show on VH1 called Late World With Zach that ran for nine weeks during the summer of 2002. At some point fairly early on in the run, the heads at VH1 made the same mistake that NBC would eventually make with Conan, and that no executive in any other industry has ever made ever: telling Galifianakis that he'd be fired well ahead of the date they actually planned to do so. Realizing that he had nothing to lose, and that VH1 had nothing else to put on in his place, Galifianakis had an epiphany, and that epiphany was "F#@k it."
He refused to plug any more shows, bands or products, which is sort of the meat of most late-night talk shows. To fill the dead air, Galifianakis began "performing his opening monologues in a preschool, in an old-folks' home and on a Los Angeles city bus; he hosted the show from his distinctly shabby house in Santa Monica; and in an episode toward the end of Late World, he played to an audience of exactly one person." He still conducted celebrity interviews, but they were mostly with his friends, and awkward as hell. A sample question from his interview with eventual Hangover co-star Bradley Cooper: "When you were starting out in New York, did you ever dream you'd be on my show, which has been cancelled?"
So basically it was Galifianakis being Galifianakis before we knew that was something we loved, and before Conan made the "weeklong televised corporate F-U" a famous media event.
Jim Carrey Pulls a Kaufman-esque "Switcheroo" at the Playboy Mansion
While shooting the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon, Jim Carrey received an invite to the Playboy Mansion and agreed to go -- so long as he could attend as Tony Clifton (Andy Kaufman's famously abrasive alter ego). Carrey made Hefner promise not to tell anyone that he would be the one playing Tony Clifton. Hefner agreed, on the condition that Carrey stop asking him questions and let him get back to having sex with one of his beautiful girlfriends.
While Carrey was getting ready for the party, he found out that Hefner was ruining the bit by telling everyone that Jim Carrey was coming to the party as Tony Clifton. Back when Kaufman would play the Clifton character, he would swear up and down that he wasn't Andy Kaufman. Occasionally, to throw people off the scent, he would have his friend, the comedian Bob Zmuda, play the role for him. Which is exactly what Carrey did.
At the Playboy Mansion, Zmuda went around the party making obscene proposals to all the women in attendance -- most of whom gladly accepted for the chance to sleep with Jim Carrey. Eventually, in a reveal on par with the ending of The Prestige, Jim Carrey walked into the party as himself, and -- as Zmuda puts it -- Hefner "just about had a stroke." Hef asked Carrey who the hell was playing the Tony Clifton character and Carrey played dumb. It was just like Kaufman would have done it! Well, except for the part where Zmuda was taken out back so Hef's goons could beat the shit out of him. Eventually it was all cleared up, and everyone learned a valuable lesson: If you need to keep a secret, maybe don't tell the guy who throws sexy cocktail parties for a living.
Comedian Bert Kreischer Pranks Hotel Maids Everywhere
If you're a hotel maid, usually the best thing you can hope for is 10 bucks a day, and the worst -- well, the worst may require a professional spatter expert. But if you're a hotel maid cleaning up the room after comedian Bert Kreischer, you might be the victim of one of his (mostly) innocent but hilarious pranks -- usually repurposing hotel linens, and, every once in a while, costing Kreischer a pair of sneakers and a few articles of clothing.
Photographing his pranks along the way, Kreischer tweets each scene he leaves for the hotel maid, which can be as downright whimsical as this toilet monster (yes, you read that right -- "whimsical"), made of sheets and towels:
Then there was this head scratcher, with an excellent materials-to-impact ratio:
This one might actually scare the shit out of you (which, as the maid, you definitely don't want to happen):
And this one is worth the cost of room service: