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article imageA Compendium of the Web's Best April Fool's Day Pranks of 2008

By David Silverberg     Apr 1, 2008 in Internet
One of the most storied traditions on the Web is taking advantage of gullible Netizens on April Fool’s Day. This year, YouTube, Google, BBC, Maxim, Consumerist and ThinkGeek pulled pranks today, giving their visitors a dose of humour on April 1.
Digital Journal — Winning the most attention today is the Google-Virgin “partnership” called Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars. Google don’t let it rest at one phony page – several Web pages explain how to become a “Virgle pioneer,” explaining why “your enriched descendants will appreciate your sacrifice, which should render worthwhile your choice to spend the rest of your (perhaps radically foreshortened) life in deprivation and uncertainty.” The Virgle creators even post 1,100 words on an “Open Source Planet,” 11 FAQs and a questionnaire for prospective colonizers filled with absurd (but hilarious) queries.
The U.K.’s BBC is also getting in the April Fool’s game, creating a short video of comedian Terry Jones pulling a David Attenborough with a faux nature show. Jones (of Monty Python fame) teaches us about flying penguins and their journey to the tropics. It’s a wonderfully deadpan gag that even fooled one YouTube commenter into posting: “This is so stupid. I think is a lie. Penguins cannot fly.”
The popular Consumerist blog is going one step further, announcing they have been purchased by Haberdasher Communications and will now be called The Conglomerist. Sample articles with an unusually optimistic slant include Dairy Queen Sells Man Four Delicious Burgers and 5 Steps to Being a Savvy Shopper. A cheeky tip includes, “Once your purchase has a scratch on it or a new, better version comes out, it’s time to throw it away. Just toss it in the trash can, or from the window of a moving car.”
Another well-travelled site for all things nerdy, ThinkGeek.com unveiled some weird and wacky products perfect for April’s Fool Day. Ever wanted a USB Pregnancy Test? How about a Betamax to HD-DVD converter? But taking the gag-cake is Super Pii Pii Brothers, a video game using the Nintendo Wiimote (and a harness) that allows the user to aim a never-ending stream of pee at various toilets. It’s like whack-a-mole…but with urine. How do you lose? “Get too much pee on the ground and your game is over.” The priceless YouTube video of the pee-friendly game is definitely worth checking out (see below).
Remember those guerilla-theatre folks behind New York’s Improv Everywhere? They couldn’t resist joshing their many fans — the ImprovEverywhere.com site has supposedly been “redesigned” for $4,000 and its new horrendous page takes us back to the amateurish 1990s-era Web design we loved to hate. “Page Under Construction” boxes fill the page, and the ultra-cheesy comic sans font dominates the top banner. And nothing says old-school like a random spinning Earth and a blaring announcement for an Improvisation Webring.
And finally, men’s pulp-mag Maxim exercised their funny muscle with their headline Hitler Invented Solar Power and Other Amazing Facts. Taken from a phony book of the same name, those bogus but inventive one-liners include: “Only one testicle is active. The other serves as a backup” and “In Canada, you don’t need a college degree to be a dentist.”
Have you found other April’s Fool Day gags on the Web? Let us know before we got back to normalcy.
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