Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mischief 101: An Interview with Sir John Hargrave

Don't forget -- today SIR JOHN HARGRAVE, Professor of Pranking at the prestigious M3 Institute and author of the mischievous manifesto The Mischief Maker's Manual, will be here to sign his book and demo several of the pranks. Here's a sneak preview of today's event!
What's the most successful prank on your track record?
The Michael Jackson Prank, where we hired an actor to play Michael Jackson and had him walk around Boston and fool everyone for a night, was one of our best. "Fake Michael" even made the front page of the Boston newspapers the next morning!

The Senator Prank was another fun one, where we sent prank letters to all 100 U.S. Senators, asking for their favorite joke. We got a lot of responses, including jokes from John Kerry and John McCain!

What's the funniest prank someone's played on you -- and are you paranoid that you'll get pranked all the time now that you've published The Mischief Maker's Manual?
I was pranked by a sixteen year-old when I published my first book. I put a note on my Web site asking for "celebrity reviewers," or famous people who would be willing to read the book and write reviews. A sixteen year-old from England pretended to be a famous comedian named Eric Idle, and actually had me believing it was Eric Idle, through several rounds of e-mail. A year later, he wrote up a funny story about how he pranked me -- which we published on the Web site!

Who's your biggest inspiration, your prankster role model?
A man by the name of Alan Abel is a big inspiration. He pulled off many successful hoaxes in the past, such as a fake campaign to "put clothes on animals" -- which many news shows reported as being true, not realizing it was a joke! His daughter recently made a funny movie about his life called "Abel Raises Cain."

Do you have a dream prank? Something you'd love to do but haven't been able to pull off yet?
Someday I'd love to do a prank in space. Can you imagine what would be possible in zero-gravity?
Sir John's young assistant (and son) Isaac was also kind enough to answer a few questions about the making of the book and life with/as a mischief maker!
What's it like to have a dad who's a prankster?
It's fun! We tested a lot of the pranks in the book together. One of them is called the "Power Launcher," which is a HUGE water balloon catapult. It was fun to build that, then launch water balloons and see how far they would go. The longest one shot out 100 feet!

You helped your dad practice the pranks in the book -- did you get to make up any pranks yourself?
Yes! After the book was finished, I made up a prank called "Sticky Plate," which is easy to do. Take a big wad of "Sticky Tack" (the kind you use to hang posters), and stick it to a plate, then stick the other side to the table. I pulled this one on my dad, and when he went to clean off the table after breakfast, he couldn't pick up the plate!

What's your prank rank?
First Class Mischief Maker!
Thanks to Sir John and Isaac for their answers!

Come on by at 1 pm to get your prank on -- Sir John and Isaac have serious mischief up their sleeves. We're bracing ourselves for an onslaught of mayhem! Sign up for a prank-of-the-month mailing list and send in your OWN pranks at

No comments: