April Fool’s gags: the best and the worst

So in case you couldn’t figure out on your own, those posts from yesterday were April Fool’s jokes. I mean, really, come on.

(For those of you curious, the engagement one drew the most traffic, probably because of all the lockoutés who linked to it via Twitter. I giggle when I look at the Photoshopped image now, because they really do look like a cute couple.)

The posts were all written in advance (not as far in advance as I’d planned, mind you) because I was working the morning shift on Thursday morning. That meant the morning reporter and I had to sort through what was actual news and what was fake. Sadly, that turned out to be not nearly as difficult as it should have been, because (a) wire services check these things, (b) the police don’t fool around with this kind of stuff, (c) press releases based on gags were clearly marked with “April 1 Alert” so they wouldn’t ruffle feathers, and (d) nobody’s going to call in with bogus tips at 7am on a workday.

I spent the morning working, with the occasional break checking out what was going on in the world and which brilliant or lame pranks were getting traction. I won’t bore you with rating the most popular ones worldwide (there are websites for that), but I will highlight a few of local interest that caught my eye:

Halak signs six-year deal

Sometimes the best pranks are the most obvious and stupid. Allan Walsh, the agent for Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak who has gotten in trouble in the past for what he’s posted on Twitter, sent this tweet announcing that his goaltender had signed a six-year extension with the Canadiens. Halak was supposed to become a restricted free agent this summer, and it’s widely expected that the Canadiens will need to choose between keeping him and holding onto Carey Price for next year.

Walsh followed it up almost immediately with a “Happy April Fool’s Day” tweet, but it was enough to cause Habs-obsessed journalists and watchers to have a heart attack. CKAC in particular wasn’t amused.

I’m just sad he didn’t keep it going a bit longer.

Mauvais Oeil’s Cyberpresse parody

When I saw the main story about Jean Charest resigning, I sighed. It could have been more funny.

But then I went back and saw they didn’t just copy HTML from the Cyberpresse site, but rewrote the entire thing. None of the links work, but the snippets of text are pretty darn funny.

Of course, Mauvais Oeil does this kind of thing often, and the URL means nobody’s likely to actually get fooled by this particular prank (unless you’re showing someone your computer screen and hiding the address bar).

La Ronde’s stupid monster prank

Corporate gags are usually lame. They’re too afraid to prank anyone with something remotely serious, so they keep it to something so benign as to be boring. The fad of “viral videos” has changed that mentality somewhat, and now many companies are convinced by stupid marketers that if they intentionally shoot a crappy video of some special effect then everyone in the world will see it.

La Ronde sent out a press release in the morning saying a monster from the St. Lawrence had attacked two employees, and linking to the above video, an obvious fake “viral video” that’s copied off every other fake “viral video” created by people with no originality. They later sent out another press release promising an inquiry.

That sound you hear is nobody paying attention. Let’s hope an inquiry is called into how much money was wasted in this stupid marketing dud.

Canada.com’s upside down logo

Yeah, that was about the extent of the April Fool’s celebration at Canada.com, which is owned by my employer’s parent company. Serious news sites (and newspapers) are, unfortunately, far too careful about these things, because every now and then there’s actual news that happens on April 1.

Le Devoir’s armor cream

While some news outlets stayed away from it, gotta give credit to Le Devoir for having some fun. This piece talks about a cream being designed that, when applied to the skin, prevents it from being cut like some sort of chain mail. It’s serious and scientific, and only at the very end do the true suckers get let in on the fact that they’ve been had.

Compared to my works of art, none of these come close.

2 thoughts on “April Fool’s gags: the best and the worst

  1. Paul

    April 1 is always a waste of time and effort online.

    I read the beginning of a couple of yours and moved on. It’s not funny anymore when everyone else is flinging lame jokes around.

    I’ll keep your site open in a tab though. Gravenor recommended your site, so I’ll stay tuned for awhile longer.

    Paul

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  2. David Pinto

    Dropped in to Concordia yesterday and found that the two student papers had also produced April Fool’s Day stories.
    The best ones, IMHO:
    The Concordian:
    Tiger Woods Pulls Out of Masters After Going Blind; a review of the Muzak offerings in three downtown buildings; Sir George Williams Campus to be renamed Madam Sir George Williams; ConU introduces the iEscApp (Concordia introduces an app to tell when the escalators have stopped working; if you don’t know, gentle reader, the escalators at Concordia are notorious for being out-of-order)
    The Link:
    University beats Laval at football by putting a rabid dog on the roster; Textbooks to feature product placement (Gym class will be referred to as Doritos Blast Physical Education, World History says that Columbus crossed the Sierra Mist Blueberry Explosion Ocean to to see if his Rogers flip-phone would still have such amazing reception; Hitler started World War II over a Klondike Bar); Cops arrest white man in Westmount — they thought that he was black; they were conducting a routine 218 check — the SPVM code for “black man entering Westmount”; some fake advertising; Global Warming Linked to Hurt Feelings.
    The absolutely best one, though, in The Link is on the back page of the section: President Julie Wooden announces that the university will be the first Canadian university to grow and sell pot on campus.

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