Ideal April Fool's...

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Kizyr
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Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Kizyr » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:58 am

Ok we're not doing anything for April Fool's this year, but just curious...

What are the elements of April Fool's jokes that you really enjoy? I don't mean what your favorite ones are, but what are, like, the common threads or elements in them?

The entertainment-related ones tend to be my favorites (mostly since they're not really mean-spirited and a lot of work sometimes goes into them), and the generally goofy/absurdly-bad ones (e.g., OCR offering to auto-tune every song submitted). Wondering what y'all's are. KF
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Sonic#
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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Sonic# » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:50 pm

First, negativity and stress turn me off of any April Fool's joke, whether it is direct (causing someone to stress out because something's missing) or indirect (causing someone else to have sympathy for another because of their misfortune).

On a related note, I don't like anything that would solicit congratulations or positive replies. Fake pregnancies are the big one, but I had one friend write they were thinking of switching from college teaching to high school teaching. They named three dysfunctional school districts they were thinking of moving to. That was the joke. They received at least three thoughtful replies from people who had made that transition; the friend effectively wasted their time and sincere good will on a stunt.

Finally, I'm skeptical of any April Fool's joke done by a for-profit business. They are rhetorically risky and for me frequently backfire. If it feels at all like marketing, I'm out.

What do I like? I prefer April Fool's jokes that tap into a sense of whimsy or goofiness. For example, I found this cute - Tekken 7's director being announced as a character. One thing effective about this one (and some other favorites) is that it taps into an existing practice (putting new/guest characters in games) and turns it up a little. So it's goofy, but it's just barely plausible. This site's own jokes have been in a similar vein.

If the joke is a personal one, for me it has to leave someone with a positive or neutral emotion even while the joke is going on. If I'm doing a joke (my family always did them, and I only do them to people I know well), my goal is to initially bewilder them and them surprise them. So it has to be like a good pun or wordplay in quality. So, I might say, "Would you get me a beer?" or "Do you want a beer?" enunciating the bee a bit much. Whoever gets the beer, they would get a beer that has images from The Bee Movie taped to the can. Or I might ask for/offer "that book I left in the garage for you," and it would be a custom hardbound book titled, "That Book I Left in the Garage for You by Sonic#" with a sweet note inside. I'm only describing jokes in a single vein, but it's harder to describe practical gags because my siblings were more delighted by those, and my wife tends to prefer the verbal or situational humor.
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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Alunissage » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:58 pm

I agree with all of Sonic#'s comments. The one instance of a pregnancy joke I recall finding really funny (okay, aside from Kizyr and Jenner's one on here some years ago) was when my grandfather called my mom and said "I don't know how to tell you this, but your mother is pregnant." (My grandparents were in their sixties at the time.) I once tried that joke on my now-husband, thinking it would be obviously a joke (purity race winner here, yo), and it just confused him.

Waaaaaay back in the day, the Gaming Intelligence Agency (videogame news site) announced that Working Designs was bringing out Ys Infinity, a limited edition of all the Ys games including all 47 Ys soundtracks delivered in a geodesic sphere. That must've been, oh, 2000? And around 2003 WD announced "Solar", which was a pretty low-effort joke that was nevertheless rather sweet.

It wasn't an April Fools joke, but when I was first graduating from college, my parents gave me a gift: the Oxnard English Dictionary on CD-ROM. As in, they had changed the name on the OED box to be Oxnard instead of Oxford. This was before scanners were common (probably 1997?) but Dad had managed to scan and edit the packaging and print it out, and then Mom attached it to the box and wrapped it in plastic wrap to approximate shrinkwrap. They were very amused by my reaction: "Oh, wow, the Oxford Engl...wait, the Oxnard English Dictionary??" (Oxnard is a town in California, whose name Dad has always found kind of funny.)

At heart, though, I don't like being deceived, and I especially don't like it for a laugh. The dictionary was funny, but if the actual OED hadn't been part of it, it would have been very hurtful. I think a gag gift followed by a better real gift is probably about the best way to do it in person, like when my dad gave Mom a videotape of great moments in Dallas Cowboy history (neither of them watches sports), then a piece of jewelry she loved. The GIA joke worked because it was clearly over the top so it let us enjoy it. I loved the effort LN put into Four Heroes Story back in around 2003, but I felt a bit bad for it too because of the disappointment of it not really existing... though I'd feel worse about it now.

I mentioned Kizyr and Jenner's joke earlier, but there was also the one about them being engaged that is kind of like the universe turned the joke back on them. ^_^ Kinda risky, that.

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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Kizyr » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:15 am

Yeah I'm not sure if it's my age, but these days I'm not a fan of some jokes that I would've pulled myself several years ago. Things that trick people into major emotional investments (e.g., fake pregnancy or wedding announcements that are believable enough to elicit congratulations or concern) these days make me more uncomfortable than amused. Malicious ones also of course are more than uncomfortable.

A lot of it's contextual though. I think I really like ones that end up being fun (e.g., Google Maps games) or personalized (e.g., friends who know you well playing pranks that at worst are minor inconveniences). Also ones that are kind of silly, even if believable, tend to go over better with me (hence why I like entertainment-related ones more).

To be honest though, in retrospect, I don't feel great about the fake pregnancy stuff that me and Jenner pulled several years ago. It required a lot of set up and was a little too believable, and got some folks invested. I wouldn't do something like that these days.

Alunissage wrote:ke earlier, but there was also the one about them being engaged that is kind of like the universe turned the joke back on them. ^_^ Kinda risky, that.

Er, yeah, this isn't the best example since I literally suggested that we act like we're a couple "as an April Fool's joke" as a way to test the waters about how she felt about a real relationship. I wasn't using the pretext of a relationship as an April Fool's joke, but April Fool's as a pretext to start a relationship. KF
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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Alunissage » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:00 am

Hahaha. I didn't know that part of the backstory. That's sweet. You guys have the best "How I Met Your (Important Relative)" stories.

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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby ssdninja » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:00 am

My favorite April Fools from this year was my local cat rescue page on facebook changing to a giraffe rescue page. However they werent aware you can only change names once a month so now its a giraffe lover's page for the rest of april : D

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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Jenner » Wed May 01, 2019 11:42 am

I'm kinda ashamed of some of my older, more mean-spirited, April Fools gags. I was immature and they were immature but that's no excuse and I don't want to get a pass on those tasteless jokes just because y'all know me and like me.

I like gags that are wholesome now. Like when NASA announced finding water on Mars and it was a cup of water on a Mars bar or (a bit sketchier) when a friend of mine informed me his cat was in a better place now and immediately followed it up with a picture of the cat in his lap.

If you can't be wholesome, be cute, use the day to actually be crushingly sincere. The ultimate gag is actually no gag at all. Tell your friends you love them on April Fools and then follow it up with something like, "The joke is that I do, in fact, really love and appreciate you all and I'm using this day as an excuse to be vulnerable with you all by masking it in a gag."

Ah, the classic jape of loving your loved ones! Got me again! What a fool I was.
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Kizyr
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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby Kizyr » Thu May 16, 2019 9:57 pm

Jenner wrote:I like gags that are wholesome now. Like when NASA announced finding water on Mars and it was a cup of water on a Mars bar...

Link in case anyone wants to see -- and yes I also loved this gag: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap050401.html
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Re: Ideal April Fool's...

Postby phyco126 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:15 am

I love harmless gags. Close to being believable, but not quite, at the same time. Like, BBC's (I think) spaghetti harvest was pretty funny. Google's internet over toilet was pretty good too.
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