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10 Practical Jokes That Went Too Far

by Toby Oliva
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Everybody loves a good prank! Pranks are supposed to be a harmless way to play a joke on a friend or family member in an innocuous and good-natured way. However, small pranks sometimes start “prank wars,” causing the practical jokes to spiral out of control, becoming mean and dangerous.

While a good prank is a work of art, some jokesters just don’t know when to stop! Others simply should never have started pranking in the first place. Our list today includes 10 practical jokes that went too far. These “hilarious” pranksters touch on political corruption, lacing drugs into baked goods, fake national disasters, and pregnancy. What a gas!

As we go through this list of ill-advised pranks, remember this advice. When it comes to practical jokes, less is almost always more. Also, consider safety because none of the pranks below ended the way the jokesters thought they would. Let’s get into it!

Related: Top 10 Hilarious Pranks Pulled To Promote Movies

10 Richard Nixon Running for President in 1992?

Richard Nixon – “I’m not a crook”

The first prankster on our list decided to take things way too far. As we all know, religion and politics are two things people do not take lightly. A fake presidential candidate? Sure, that could be funny. But, this practical joker took things to a whole new level by deciding to impersonate one of the most infamous presidents in United States history.

In 1992, this prankster claimed to be the notorious Richard Nixon. He conducted a radio interview with NPR, in which he said that he was running for president. In the interview, he doubled down on his famous “I am not a crook!” statement and said he “never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”

While I can admit that is a funny thing to say (and made even funnier with a convincing Nixon impersonation), it was not funny when thousands of people thought that the disgraced Republican was actually re-seeking the presidency.

9 Pot-Laced Muffins

Student accused of giving out pot-laced cupcakes

All sorts of “senior pranks” have backfired in high schools across the country, but this one takes the cake. Or at least the muffin.

Two Dallas area high school students decided to bake up some special treats for their high school faculty. These weren’t ordinary muffins; the students laced them with a secret ingredient: marijuana. Reportedly the two seniors put their special muffins into the teacher’s lounge. Obviously, the muffins looked tasty because many teachers ate them. However, the boys must have done something wrong because 19 staff members had to take trips to the emergency room in the aftermath. It is safe to say that this prank did not go how the students intended.

8 UFO Sighting in Jafr, Jordan?

How We Staged a UFO Hoax | Fakes, Frauds & Scammers

With some of these pranks, it is really hard to figure out what the “jokesters” were thinking. The next prank falls squarely into that category.

Being the editor of a newspaper in a small city in Jordan is probably a challenging job. What are the best ways to draw people to your city and attract tourists? Here are three possibilities: writing about improved infrastructure, local festivals, and beautiful architecture. In 2010, the local newspaper of Jafr, Jordan, took a different approach—an otherworldly one.

In order to draw attention to their city, the newspaper ran an article indicating that a UFO had landed near their fair city. Instead of increasing interest, this article caused panic. The mayor of Jafr evacuated more than 10,000 people. While it is hard to figure out exactly what the newspaper was thinking, at least the article was printed on April Fools Day, so maybe that should have been a clue to the citizens of Jafr.

7 Exploding Chair Gag

Guy Gets Blown In The Air By An Air Bag In A Tyre

A couple that pranks together also laughs and… sometimes cries together. The next prank on our list comes from a couple of professional prankers. Comedian Robin Armstrong and his girlfriend had a YouTube channel where they would share the various pranks that they played on one another. His girlfriend came up with a prank she thought their subscribers would love.

Armstrong’s girlfriend rigged a chair to explode, planning for it to launch Armstrong into a pool. While Armstrong did not see the prank coming, when the chair exploded, things went awry. He was shot more than 10 feet (3 meters) into the air and did not land in the pool. Instead, he landed on the ground and broke his back. The fortunate news for this prankster couple is that Armstrong did not suffer any permanent damage, although he had to spend several weeks at the hospital.

6 Covered Stop Sign

Pranksters That Accidentally Took People’s Lives

Maybe it is just me, but I have never seen much humor in messing with traffic signs that are designed to keep everyone safe. I guess I am not cut out to be a prankster!

Two teenage boys near Columbus, Ohio, thought traffic signs did not provide them with enough entertainment and decided to make some adjustments. They covered a stop sign (arguably the most important of all traffic signs) and made it so drivers could not see it. The teenage pranksters did this by wrapping the stop sign completely with plastic wrap and petroleum jelly. They were so proud of the work that they even talked about it on social media.

Fortunately, many drivers were familiar with the area and stopped, even without a visible sign. But, eventually, their luck ran out. Two elderly sisters were driving and did not see the stop sign (thanks to this prank). The vehicle was struck by oncoming traffic and killed the passenger immediately, while the driver eventually had to have her leg amputated above the knee.

Both pranksters were eventually held accountable for their actions, taking guilty pleas for reckless homicide.

5 Pregnancy Prank

Pregnancy PRANK on Boyfriend GOES HORRIBLY WRONG!

The next prank on our list is a two-parter! It took place on the most famous of pranking holidays, April Fools Day, in 2013. Strap in because this one is extra ridiculous! These pranks relate to a young couple in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At the time, Tori Wheeler, an 18-year-old, came up with a two-part practical joke to play on her boyfriend (at the time) Derek Bauer.

Wheeler’s premise was pretty straightforward. She told Bauer that she was pregnant. However, Wheeler was far from finished. Bauer did not respond to her practical joke in the way she liked, so Wheeler pulled out a knife. The police were called before anyone was hurt, but Wheeler claimed that she pulled the knife out as a prank, too!

All kidding aside, this prank clearly went too far, and we should all be thankful that no one was injured.

4 Twins Prank a Bank

Youtuber Stokes Twins Face Charges for Bank Robbers Prank

Throughout this list, we have seen pranks on politics, road signs, knives, and pregnancies. What else is hilarious? That’s right, robbing a bank!

The twin pranksters Alex and Alan Stokes thought of this inarguably clever and funny idea. The twins at least had the wisdom not to go inside the bank to attempt their practical joke. They brought their own cash (in bags) and had masks covering their face outside the bank’s front entrance. Then, they called an Uber driver who was intended to be the prank victim. Like a reasonable citizen, the Uber driver refused to give a ride to two people who appeared to have robbed a bank.

Nearby observers must not have gotten the joke, as the police were called on the twins. The police were kind and let the boys go. However, they couldn’t let this funny joke die and tried it again the same day. This time, they were charged. For supposedly professional pranksters with a significant YouTube following, this practical joke was poorly thought out and went way too far.

3 Blue Hill Eruption?

One Of The Greatest April Fools’Day Pranks Ever Involved A Fake Volcanic

Next on our list is a prank from a Boston television news segment. It took place on April Fools Day back in 1980. Producer Homer Cilley created an entire broadcast as a prank.

In the report, the news station alerted citizens about a hill in nearby Milton, Massachusetts. It indicates that (although it is just a hill and has never shown any seismic activity) the Great Blue Hill was beginning to erupt. The newscasters described the lava and danger in great detail. There were also warnings from the American president at the time, Jimmy Carter.

As the cherry on top, the producer also included real volcano footage to really sell his prank. Well, it worked! Citizens definitely thought there was a volcanic eruption and panicked, many taking out their ire on the TV station. Cilley was fired for the practical joke.

2 Students Try to Teach Their Teachers a Lesson

What If You Accidentally Overdose On Laxatives?

Three high school pranksters from Brooklyn had a similar prank to number nine above, but it was far more malicious. The students made some tasty cakes for their teachers. These were covered on top with what appeared to be red candy. The candy? It was actually a laxative!

As you might expect, none of the teachers found this prank amusing. Five reported significant health concerns. To be honest, I don’t know how these practical jokers ever expected this prank to go any differently. They are just fortunate that nobody got more seriously hurt.

1 Gas Prank (Not What You’re Thinking)

We have another butt-related prank as the final item on our list. This one involves a specific tool used in manufacturing, compressed air. Compressed air is used for a variety of things in manufacturing. It is not intended to be used for practical jokes.

The compressed air comes with enormous force, enough to push through the skin. In 2018, in Japan, one man thought it would be funny to use the air unconventionally. He directed the compressed air toward a colleague’s backside. The results, as you might expect, were horrific. The air shot through the victim’s clothes and into his body, all the way into his lungs. This led to his eventual death.

Remember, keeping pranks small and harmless is the way to keep them funny..

fact checked by Rachel Jones