“Ugh, seriously guys?”
~Johnny Roosevelt, AFFotD Editor-in-Chief
Hi, America. This is Johnny Roosevelt here, Editor-in-Chief of this fine portal of American greatness. Ever since my great-grandfather invented America, the Roosevelt name has been dedicated to maintaining America’s might and almost Herculean ability to ignore our own faults while focusing on the good things in life. Beer, bourbon, fried foods, and so forth. So, while we normally like to avoid actual opinion articles on this site, since let’s be honest you’re usually coming here to find out what beers will get you drunk fastest, and we are nothing if not shameless panderers to page views, every once and a while I feel it’s time for me to step forward, give the rest of my writers a bit of a day off, and talk to you, the American people. Or, you know, non-Americans, you’d be surprised how many Europeans randomly read this site.
And what is of such importance that I felt the need to wake up literally 4 hours earlier than usual, dealing with the whiskey hangover I associate with every Wednesday morning? The date. It’s April 1st. For some of you, that’s just a normal day in spring. For most of you, it’s APRIL FOOLS’ DAY and you’re going to be PULLING PRANKS! That’s neat! That’s cute.
You need to fucking stop, America.
Pictured above- still better than most April Fools’ pranks.
Now, we’ve talked about April Fools’ Day here before. A few years ago we posted a list of actually impressive April Fools’ pranks, and on several occasions have pretended that our website was hijacked by North Korea. But here’s the problem. April Fools’ jokes only work when they’re a very clear-cut joke (that’s what we were aiming for with our “Best Korea Daily Information For Enjoyment” feature, because anyone who read that and assumed we were being serious automatically had their IP address blocked from accessing this site ever again) or, and this is important, when they catch people by surprise.
We used to have newspapers announcing that the Capital building had collapsed, even listing a fake list of people who died in the accident, and people believed that because it was 1933, and that’s kind of fucked up, but damn if they weren’t committed to the bit.
They even pre-photoshopped the son of a bitch.
For another example of April Fools’ done right, we can go to 1985, when Sports Illustrated, back when it was relevant outside of showing us PG-13 displays of partial nudity once a year, published their article about Sidd Finch, the fake Mets prospect who pitched barefoot and had a 168 mph fastball. You might recognize these as two very fake things, since that is about 60 miles per hour faster than any baseball has ever been thrown, but Mets fans fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Which is both hilarious for us, and sad because Mets fans were apparently really desperate then.
“Mr. Met has cancer! April Fools’!”
The fuck is wrong with you?
The problem is, our tendency to revel in classic April Fools’ pranks has ruined about 85% of all April Fools’ jokes. Everyone thinks they can be hilarious on April Fools’ Day, and most of us aren’t. Sure, you might have someone that’s good at pranks do something like putting yogurt into an empty mayonnaise jar and walking around the office while eating it to see what everyone’s reaction is, but the vast, vast majority of our attempts of April Fools’ jokes involve someone telling their friend a somewhat plausible lie, and then laughing when the person responds with, “Oh, really?”
Here is a short list of examples of April Fools’ jokes you will hear, because this day turns occasionally chuckle-worthy into fucking monsters.
Totally Plausible April Fools’ Joke #1: At The Office
Your Coworker: Hey, Bill, did you hear that they’re laying off people in the office?
You (Your name is Bill in this situation, deal with it): Oh shit, really?
Your Coworker: *snicker* Yeah, they said, uh, they’re getting rid of everyone whose name starts with the letter B.
You: Wait, that seems very arbitrary, that can’t be ri…
Your Coworker: HAHAHAHAHAHA! APRIL FOOLS’! YOU! YOU! HAHAHA YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN! YOUR *gasping for breath* YOUR STUPID FACE WHEN YOU THOUGHT! HAHA! YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO BE FIRED! AHHHH HAHAHAHA *hacking cough* Ohhhh man. Classic.
Totally Plausible April Fools’ Joke #2: In Your Apartment
Your Roommate: Hey, *snicker*, Sally. You know, *snicker*, those leftovers you brought back from dinner on Friday?
You (Your name is Sally here, and if you are a guy uncomfortable with pretending to be a woman, get over your shit): What? I specifically asked you to NOT…
Your Roommate: HA HAHA AHAHA APRIL FOOLS’! OH! OH I GOT YOU SO GOOD! HAAAHAHAHA! YOU THOUGHT IATE YOUR FOOD BUT THEN I DIDN’T EVEN THOUGH YOU HAHAHAH YOU THOUGHT Ohhhhhhhh. *soft sigh*. I did eat some of it though, it looked really good.
Totally Plausible April Fools’ Joke #3: Family Prank
Your Brother (If you don’t have a brother, or siblings, use some fucking imagination): Hey, uh…you’re…*giggle* ADOPTED!
You: Is this your April Fo…
Your Brother: HAHAHAHAHAHA APRIL FOOLS’! OH MY GOD APRIL FOOLS’ I APRIL FOOLS’D YOU SO HARD LOOK AT YOUR FAT STUPID PIG FACE! HAHAHA! PRANKED YOU SO HARD, OH MY GOD, YOUR FACE, HAHAHAHHA YOUR STUPID COW FACE WITH THAT STUPID *gets punched in the dick*
April Fools’, now you can’t have kids.
Of course, the only thing worse than everyone’s attempt to be SO FUCKING FUNNY on April Fools’ Day is the effect that the internet has had on this particular day. We used to have only a handful companies setting up an elaborate pranks, like Taco Bell saying they had purchased the Liberty Bell, because these sorts of gags required paying for full-page ads in newspapers throughout the country. We would only get one or two really well thought out, well executed pranks a year from American corporations for that very reason- so much effort had to be put into that shit that you couldn’t half ass it.
But you know how hard it is to make some stupid April Fools’ joke on the internet? I drank enough to set a fire I don’t fully remember in a garbage can last night, and I was able to crank out this little #thinkpiece in less than a fucking hour. As a result, everyone tries to do some April Fools’ Joke, and absolutely no one is surprised by them. I got an email from fucking Uber, and before I even opened it I said, “Uber doesn’t send out emails very often, this is very obviously going to be a lame joke.” And it was a lame joke, pretending to do an Uber version of Skymall. I can’t even say I almost believed them for a second, because I knew what the fucking date was already.
The one day a year that we’ve trained ourselves not to believe anything good, at all.
These pranks don’t work as pranks anymore, they need to be funny jokes, or interesting diversions, to work. A few years back Hulu made their site look like it was in the 1990’s and featured only 1990’s TV shows on the main page. That was funny. Every year, Google does something we know is a joke, but still like it anyway (this year we got Google Panda, as well as Google Maps turning into Pac Man, though they released that shit on the 31st, which I honestly think is a bit obnoxious, since everyone is now trying to release their April Fools’ joke a day early to surprise us, when really it just defeats the purpose of April fucking Fools’ Day to have it in goddamn March.)
But for every post of xkcd letting you draw pictures on the site, or joke tauntaun sleeping bags and rocky oyster mountain beer becoming real products after the joke led to people desperately trying to buy it, we have dozens of companies trying to be funny through a really forced and awkward joke about “what the kids thinks is popular nowadays.” Within the first few hours of April Fools’ this year, we already were flooded with multiple fake products that used the word “selfie.” Honda has a Selfie Car, Chrome claimed to add a spontaneous selfie feature for mobile devices, Motorola announced a leather-bound selfie stick, Petco reminded us that Petco is a thing by “making” a selfie stick for fucking dogs, and Miz Mooz (some shoe company I guess) drummed up some free publicity by pretending to invent a selfie shoe, which clearly is working wonders since half of the people who have seen the fake commercial have given it a downvote.
Nothing saying “going viral” like 16 instagram likes.
NONE OF THESE JOKES ARE ORIGINAL OR FUNNY! We get it, people take selfies, when EVERYONE makes a selfie joke, it’s pretty obvious that you half assed your idea. Every one of these joke products feel like some 40 year old ad executive went to their petulant 14 year old stepdaughter and said, “So I keep hearing about you kids and your selfies, is that still a thing you kids do?” and when she responded, “Yeah, whatever” instead of her usual, “I don’t like you, Frank” he decided it was a home run. “Get marketing on the phone! Selfies are in! Talk to Pizza Hut, maybe they can pretend that their pizza boxes will take selfies when they’re delivered to you! Perfect!”
For the record, I spent literally 2 seconds coming up with that Pizza Hut idea, and it’s about as original as every single fucking selfie joke that’s come out today. Selfie jokes, and also fucking cat jokes.
Somehow, I suspect this might not actually be a real thing, from this email sent on April 1st, hmmmm….
Groupon also is offering Cat Cab services, by the way, so yeah, we get it, ha ha, cats think they’re people.
So listen, America. I don’t want you to not enjoy April Fools’ Day. April Fools’ Day can be a whole lot of fun when it’s done right, and it’s not jamming itself down our damn throats. We can still appreciate Google’s legendary April Fools’ status (though they also need to chill a bit- they’ve released at least three different pranks this year, and one of them was that stupid ass selfie thing) or ThinkGeeks fake products that we always secretly want, and sometimes end up getting. And if you’re actually good at pranking your friends, who can appreciate being pranked, then do an actual prank. Just don’t do that bullshit “I won the lottery……..APRIL FOOLS’!” bullshit that everyone does every goddamn year.
Be better, America. And just, cool it on the April Fools’ shit, just a little. Not everyone has to be hilarious today. Not even America Fun Fact of the Day.