April Fool’s Day is here yet again, the one morning of the year where you can’t believe anything you read in the news, or believe what you’ve heard from friends. Until 12pm, when the pranks and the tomfoolery unofficially end, the easily gullible are advised to think before they read anything. For the rest of us, we can delight in many of the weird and wonderful pranks being told in the news and by the general public via social media.
Here are some of this year’s best (and worst!) jokes, as everybody tries to get in on the act:
The April Fool’s Day joke with the most disastrous consequences is Google’s decision to replace the ‘send and archive message’ button on Gmail with a ‘send and drop the mic’ button. All users who click the button not only stop receiving messages from the other user, but they also send an animated GIF of one of Despicable Me’s Minion characters dressed as the Queen, dropping a microphone.
The lack of announcement for this button has caused outrage on social media, as many have been threatened with the loss of jobs following the sending of emails with the mocking GIF that users previously weren’t aware existed and is so easy to mistakenly click due to being positioned directly next to the ‘send’ button.
Elsewhere on social media, Timehop, the app that allows users to relive what happened to them on social media on this day in the past, has invited users to look into the future. The results? Fairly underwhelming, although Kanye West has been declared a future president. Elsewhere in rappers involved in social media pranks, YouTube has announced a new function where you can watch Snoop Dogg watch any video on the site for 24 hours in something called ‘Snoop-a-Vision’.
The Royal Albert Hall
One of the most inspired (and thoroughly bizarre) gags came from the Royal Albert Hall in London, who announced that their venue was to become a ‘scaled down version of the Large Hadron Collider’. In a press release, a spokesperson claimed they would be ‘firing particles around the corridors in the hope that some science would happen’.
Oxford English Dictionary
In what appears to be a response to criticisms for introducing text and social-media based slang into the dictionary, the OED today blogged about the introduction of 10 entirely made-up phrases. Highlights include ‘Leo’, a verb meaning to finally achieve something after years of trying (just like The Revenant star’s recent Oscar win), ‘Social Fleedia’ (when people deactivate their social media accounts) and ‘Autocorreck’, where autocorrect wrecks an important message by changing words. Although clearly ridiculous, these three examples from the 10-word list are also tangible; it is a well thought-out April Fool’s gag for 2016.
The University of Glasgow
In a gag clearly designed to not fool anybody, the University of Glasgow is responsible for the prank that even the most gullible will see through – the announcement that it is building the first Helter Skelter inside a listed building. A quote from spokesperson, Professor Frank Coton claimed it was were thrilled to be the first university ‘combining education and entertainment’.
The nationwide pub chain also offered a prank that even the most gullible won’t believe, but at least it was amusing: the company planned to buy out the Queen Vic pub on EastEnders. Elsewhere in soap opera ‘news’, ITV decided to release a mammoth DVD boxset of every Coronation Street episodes. That’s 8,863 episodes that would take six-and-a-half months to watch, back-to-back.
Back in JLife’s Manchester patch, Pets at Home announced it has trained staff to communicate with dogs as part of a new operation called ‘Project Woof’, with courses available for one day only – which is, of course, April Fool’s Day.
This ends this year’s recurring theme: jokes so obvious nobody can fall for them. See you again next year!