4 Legendary Pranks Pulled Off by Celebrities
Have you ever come across someone whose talents are being tragically wasted, like a house painter who moves his brush with the energy of a cubist master or a hand job-giving hobo whose magical wrists should really be winning tennis tournaments? (That last one is really common.) Well, that’s how I feel whenever I see people who are wasting their lives being incredibly rich and famous when their real gift is coming up with the most insane practical jokes. There’s an office or a Walmart or a McDonald’s somewhere out there that lacks a resident prankster because the following people decided to have sex with supermodels instead, for some reason.
Then again, if these celebrities followed their true calling and just made practical jokes all day, they probably wouldn’t have the money or the resources to pull off insanely elaborate pranks like …
#4. Brad Pitt Convinces His Friends Y2K Is Real
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Brad Pitt has kind of a hard time telling the difference between playing jokes on his friends and flat-out bullying them. While shooting Moneyball, for instance, Pitt took the golf cart Jonah Hill used to haul his ass around the studio, painted it pink, rigged it to play “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” and put a Photoshopped picture of Hill and Pitt as the members of Wham! on the front. Another time, Pitt glued some fake dicks to Hill’s vehicle.
It’s unclear which incident this picture comes from.
But, you know, of course Brad Pitt can get away with that shit — he’s Brad Pitt. As one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, this man holds more power than the president of any country in the entire African continent (and has probably spent more money feeding African children). However, Pitt’s most bizarrely cruel joke took place before the height of the “Brad and Jen” media frenzy catapulted him to megasuperstardom, and way before “Brangelina” recatapulted him from there to hypermegasuperstardom. In 1999, Pitt had just done a little movie called Fight Club with director David Fincher. Another thing to come out of 1999? The Y2K scare, in which a great number of otherwise rational human beings convinced themselves that all electronics would fail on the night of December 31, and thus we would wake up the next morning to find ourselves living in Mad Max 2.
Weekly World News
What we thought would happen.
Bug de l’an 2000/Wikimedia
Where many saw panic and desperation, Brad Pitt saw a chance to be a dick to his friends. As Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk relates in this clip, on New Year’s Eve 1999, Pitt and Fincher rented a Mexican resort and filled it with their friends, ostensibly for the purpose of partying like it’s today. But then, at midnight, Pitt and Fincher “bribed the government to cut the power and the phone lines,” presumably making their friends believe human society had just collapsed.
Helena Bonham Carter via Total Film
It only took them 15 minutes to turn to cannibalism and eat Edward Norton.
And then they turned the lights back on and a bunch of big-titty Mexican strippers came out? Nope! The worst was yet to come: At that point, government troops burst in carrying AK-47s and arrested one of Pitt’s friends on drug charges. In the clip, Pitt seems pretty amused when he talks about how the guy’s fiancee was in tears as the man she loved was taken away into the pitch-black darkness by corrupt officers. And … then the big-titty strippers showed up? Actually, that’s as far as Pitt has ever told the story, so presumably his friend is still rotting away deep inside some Mexican prison, convinced that the lights never came back on and that monkeys rule the Earth by now.
So, in hindsight, Jonah Hill got off easy.
#3. Daniel Radcliffe Wears the Same Outfit for Five Months to Annoy the Paparazzi
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty
Daniel Radcliffe started his practical joker career back when he was still Harry Potter. While shooting the Potter movies, he would do things like leave whoopee cushions laying around or change the language on people’s phones — you know, typical “annoying little shit everyone hates” stuff. However, much like the boy genie he played in those wonderful films, Radcliffe started off evil but would eventually reject his cyborg overlords and use his powers for the forces of good. (Now might be a good time to mention that I have never read a Harry Potter book.)
New Line/WireImage/Getty Images
Daniel Radcliffe in and the Magical … Magic.
In addition to making movies, Radcliffe also stars in theater plays in which he’s occasionally naked and fondling horses (artistic stuff). But being in a play isn’t all fun: It involves going to the same theater multiple times a week, acting your ass off, and then leaving the place to find a mass of paparazzi shooting flashes at your face. Every fucking night, for months at a time. However, while starring in a play called Equus (Latin for “horse fondler”) in 2007, Radcliffe noticed something: If he was wearing the same outfit as the night before when he left the theater, the paparazzi would just groan and not bother taking pictures, because they’d look like they were from yesterday and couldn’t be sold.
So, naturally, Radcliffe started wearing the same outfit every night. For five months. February 2007. March 2007:
April 2007. May 2007:
Same cap, same jacket, same pants. I can’t find any pictures of Radcliffe from the play’s last month, June 2007, so I’m assuming all the paparazzi had smashed their cameras in frustration by then. This is the star of one of the biggest movie franchises in the world, appearing in a play where he had to take off his undies, and they just left him alone. Here’s a photo from November 2007 where he’s still wearing the same basic combo (only considerably stinkier, I’d imagine):
“HOLY SHIT, HE’S LEVITA- oh, same outfit, never mind.”
And then, while appearing in another play called The Cripple of Inishmaan in 2013, he pulled the same trick: Check him out in May, June, July, and August of that year. This time he was nice enough to cycle through a few different T-shirts, though.
Mark Robert Milan/FilmMagic/Getty Images, Niki Nikolova/FilmMagic/Getty Images
The one on the left has a logo on it. Totally different.
Think about the tremendous sacrifice that wearing the same clothes every day must mean for someone image-obsessed enough to become a world-famous actor … and he did it just to bug the paparazzi. I’ve never seen one of his movies, but I’m now convinced that this man is a genius. May Odin bless you forever, Daniel Radcliffe. (Odin was his father in the Harry Potter movies.)
Moon’s favorite pastime was annihilating hotel toilets with cherry bombs and sticks of dynamite, but he also had slightly less destructive, considerably more surrealist ways of messing with people. He was good friends with members of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, a real British group so absurd, most people assumed that Monty Python had made them up for a sketch. Moon would go around late 1960s London with fellow drummer “Legs” Larry Smith and Bonzo frontman Vivian Stanshall using speakers to announce snake invasions or tidal waves, requesting that all panicked beachgoers please “stay in their shoes.” Moon and Stanshall once spent weeks dressing up in Nazi uniforms, just going into pubs and feigning outrage when denied service.
Most of us outgrew the “impersonating SS officers to get a rise out of people” phase at 14.
But the greatest practical joke from this era (the era when Keith Moon apparently had his own untelevised comedy show) was the “trouser testing” prank. This consisted of three phases. Phase one: A friend of Moon’s would go into a department store, sometimes accompanied by a fake wife for added realism, and request the strongest pair of trousers available. Phase two: Moon himself would come in, acting as a complete stranger, and offer to help the buyer test the strength of the piece of clothing he was about to purchase, as one does. Then they’d each grab a leg, pull on the pants until they completely tore in half, and complain about the shoddy fabric in front of the scandalized attendant.
And phase three, the master stroke: When the store employees were sufficiently upset, a third person (by some accounts a one-legged actor) would appear and offer extra money for half a trouser. Presumably at this point they’d all look at the camera with a shrug as an “end of the sketch” trumpet noise played from out of nowhere. What’s amazing to me is the amount of restraint this gag required from someone with a personality as chaotic as Keith Moon’s: Imagine how much self-control it took for him not to just blow up those pants with dynamite. And he did it all in favor of a punchline that he didn’t even deliver. That’s devotion to one’s craft.
#1. George Clooney Throws a Fake Wedding for Brad Pitt
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
George Clooney might be a sociopath. If Brad Pitt is Hollywood’s smiling bully who thinks he’s just being friendly to his victims, George Clooney is the tormentor who knows exactly what he’s doing, but doesn’t give a shit. No one knows this better than Richard Kind, that big adorable guy from Spin City and Mad About You, who has the misfortune of being Clooney’s “close friend,” and is thus a frequent victim of his psychological mind games.
Only a total bastard could look at this huggable face and think “I WANT HIM TO SUFFER.”
Clooney’s pranks against Kind have unfolded over weeks, months, and sometimes even years. There’s the kitty litter story, in which Clooney would dutifully go into his friend’s bathroom every day and empty the cat poop from the litter, convincing Kind that his mascot was severely constipated. After about a week passed and the cat had been to the vet and was on medication, the joke climaxed with Clooney leaving a turd of his own in the litter and letting Kind find it. Another time, Clooney found a horrible 5-foot painting of a hideous naked woman in the garbage, signed it with his name, and framed it. He then pretended to be going to art classes for six months just so that he could give Kind the painting on his 40th birthday and guilt him into hanging it in his living room. Clooney let his friend suppress a puke every time he wanted to watch TV for five years before he confessed on a talk show.
But, as far as scale goes, Clooney’s most massive joke to date didn’t have one person for a victim — it fooled a whole damn Italian town. In 2006, the now traditional rumors that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would hold a secret wedding somewhere in the world pointed at Clooney’s villa in Italy as a possible location. That was bullshit, of course: Everyone knows Pitt and Jolie married in a volcano on Mars in 2011. However, rather than just letting the rumors be, Clooney set up high-top tables on his lawn to make it look like a wedding was really happening. Then he sat back and, for the next two weeks, watched journalists swarm around his property in boats and helicopters to try to get a picture of something that wasn’t happening.
via China Daily
Getty Images/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
What’s the point of having a villa if you can’t use it to make people miserable?
Meanwhile, the mayor of the town noticed there was “a lot of movement” at Clooney’s place and put police on alert around the area. The entire town was filled with expectation, but in the end, the closest thing they got to a celebrity wedding was when two drag queens named “Brad” and “Angelina” started making out at the lake. And this all happened because George Clooney put some chairs on his lawn.
The best part? Clooney totally said he was going to do this the previous year, only his original plan involved getting “a bunch of kids dressed up to pretend to be getting married” on the lawn. I’m assuming that when he says “kids” he’s talking about literal children, because they’d look like adults from the helicopters. Obviously.