View Issues Subscribe for FREE
April Fools’ Day

by Big Daddy Graham

No, the title of this article is not a practical joke in itself. I know you’re reading this in March. You haven’t lost track of time that much.

But I wanted to remind you that this important day is right around the corner and give you a few tips on how to have some laughs with it. Because it is a cool day. A day that celebrates being stupid and childish.

Now I’m not going to suggest any prank that’s ridiculously hard to set up. That’s my 94WIP co-host Al Morganti’s specialty. Nor am I going to advise you on pulling a trick on someone that might result in you getting punched in the face. (Come to think of it, I think I did kick Al in the shins once.)

Unfortunately, some jokes, like simple phone jokes aren’t as easy to pull off anymore. There was a time I would get an on-air call that would start off sounding like a real call.

“Big Daddy? Love the show, man. What do you think of the Phils chances this year?” You would then carry on a civil, even thoughtful conversation for a few minutes. Then right at the end of the call you would get this. “Hey, Big Daddy? One more thing. Would you please #$%&?” Now you would “dump” that call and nobody listening would hear it. However, callers who are on hold hear it and that’s the reason why the next call or two would begin with the caller chuckling.

But not only does the phone number this person is calling from pop up on our screen, the computer keeps track of such calls and the end result is very few of them get on the air anymore. Your smart phone also has caller ID, so phone jokes are much harder to pull off these days. It’s the same with turning back clocks. Most of us look at the time on our phone before we glance at a wall clock. Those damn smart phones have ruined everything. But here’s a few April Fools’ Day jokes/pranks that are easy to pull off and won’t get you beaten up.

The car won’t start
Pick a pizza joint that’s not too far away, but one you still have to take the car to get. Which in South Jersey is pretty much every pizza joint there is, right? Make an order that you’re going to pick up. Take the kids along to heighten the soon-to-be-faked emergency. When you get there call your wife and tell her you’ve picked up the pizza, but now the car won’t start and all you think the car needs is a jump and the cables are in her car. (Make sure of that before you leave.) “I know you’re not dressed. Just drive on over and you don’t even have to get out of the car.” I pulled this on my wife in the parking lot of Naples Pizza in Mullica Hill and both my daughters have not stopped talking about it since. Of course my wife wasn’t that thrilled with it at the time but eventually she smiled and now remembers the day fondly as well. (I hope!)

Fan belt
I know absolutely nothing about cars. I’m a stand-up comic. I can’t fix anything. I’m from the Seinfeld school of thought that when a car breaks down I open the hood and hope there’s an “on/off” switch. So Lord knows what a fan belt was doing in my garage to begin with. We hadn’t lived in Mullica Hill that long so I assumed it was left over from the previous owner. About a month earlier, my wife had seen a garden snake in the garage, so when I saw the fan belt I went with it. There was a broom leaning against the wall and I scooped up the fan belt with it. I then yelled for my wife who I knew was in the kitchen. “Hey babe, you sure you want me to throw this out?” I knew that would get her up. When she got to the garage doorway, I screamed “Is that a snake?!” and with the broom handle flipped the fan belt towards her. Her scream was heard in Blackwood. Cruel, but effective.

It’s going to snow tomorrow
My wife wasn’t overly thrilled with this one since she believed it kept our kids up an extra half hour, but I would wait till the kids were going up the steps and I would shout out “Hey, KYW just reported it’s gonna snow tomorrow.” The kids would light up like an arcade game. I would give it a pause and then dryly add “in Alaska.” Worked like a charm every time.

My wife has an ongoing war with remotes. I can’t tell you how many times she has called me screaming, “The Real Housewives of Pennsauken is coming on and I can’t get this stupid TV to go on.” My response is always to tell her to get one of my daughters on the phone. Then when both my daughters can’t get anything to work either and all hell has broken loose, I let them know I took all the batteries out of the remotes.

Disney World
I have done a practical joke topic on 94WIP and I must thank Facebook friend David Blatt. He gave me this gem of an idea and I ran with it. Wait till you see your neighbor’s kids playing in the backyard and call them over and ask them if they are excited about going to Disney World next month. Trust me, their parents will love you for it.

In closing, there used to be a comedy club in Palmyra called Mitchell’s. I loved the club and its owner, Joe Donato. Unfortunately, Joe left this planet way too soon, but not without leaving this great April Fools’ Day joke. This is very elaborate and unlike the others I have written about, impossible to pull off unless you run a comedy club. But it’s too good of a story not to tell and it actually happened on an April 1 in the early ’90s. Now a normal show at a comedy club usually consists of an MC, a “middle” act and a headliner with the average length of a show running an hour and a half or a little more. Well, Joe had just gotten the late show seated, food and drinks had been ordered, when the lights went down and the MC was introduced. The MC thanked everyone for coming, told one joke, and introduced the middle act that told about two minutes worth of jokes, then said goodnight. The MC came back on and introduced the headliner who told two jokes and said goodnight. The MC came back on and thanked everyone for coming, the lights came up, and the checks were given out. The entire show lasted about five minutes. The audience just sat there stunned, not sure what to do, when Joe, the owner, came up to the microphone and said “April Fools’ everyone!” Then the MC came back on and an entire show was put on.

Good one, eh? Listen to me. We take ourselves way too seriously. Plus it’s an election year making matters worse. So don’t let April Fools’ Day pass you by. It’s important to laugh. Just make sure your victim has the same sense of humor.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 12 (March, 2016).
For more info on South Jersey Magazine, click here.
To subscribe to South Jersey Magazine, click here.
To advertise in South Jersey Magazine, click here.