Face it: We all have an inner Bart Simpson who enjoys nothing more than picking up the phone to prank call an arch nemesis, a co-worker, a teacher, a gullible friend, the bartender at the local tavern…and when your target falls for the ruse, there are few belly laughs more gratifying. In order to execute the perfect prank call, follow these quick, easy steps to keep it short, sweet, hilarious, and above all, untraceable!
Practice, practice, practice. Ashton Kutcher doesn't launch an elaborate Punk'd prank without some preliminary planning, does he? The last thing you want to do is to hear the voice on the end of the line say, “Hello?” and have nothing prepared. Unless you’re Robin Williams, your brain probably doesn’t fire off jokes like a machine gun shoots bullets, so have your material worked out ahead of time. This leads us to…
Make it worth your effort. If you’re going to prank someone with, “Is your refrigerator running?" or some other archaic nugget from the silent movie era, then save your time and energy. Jokes like these (or worse, knock-knock jokes) are just lame. Really go to bat here and mess with someone’s head. Not cop-calling or ambulance-inducing craziness, but thereabouts. Like this:
Know your enemy. Look, calling the elderly and leading them on is just plain mean. This is supposed to be fun for you, so make sure your target is healthy, somewhat mentally stable, and has a sense of humor (if, at a later date, you choose to reveal yourself as the perpetrator of the call). The last thing you want on your conscience is shocking/goading/manipulating someone into a heart attack/fit of violence/mental breakdown. At least, I HOPE that’s the last thing you want. All right, you’ve got your bit down cold, it’s funny as hell, and you’re ready to dial your target’s number. What next??
Install Asterisk.Asterisk is an open source telephone applications toolkit that gives you uber-power over your phone so that you can do fun things like masquerade your caller id. But if that's a project for another day, at least dial “*67” before you call. Dialing this number codes your number as “private” in case your target has caller ID. You don’t want to give someone a heads-up that it’s you, OR the ability to call back and chew you a new one for messing with his head and wasting his time! Okay, the line’s ringing… it’s picked up… so now you should:
Change your voice. You’ve gone through the trouble of making sure they don't recognize your number, so don’t deliver the prank with your normal speaking voice. Yeah, you’re probably not Frank Caliendo or Hank Azaria, but chances are at some point, you’ve busted out some funny-sounding dialect or cadence to make someone else laugh. Even if it was (sigh) Borat or Austin Powers. So use that skill here to keep your ruse playing as long as possible. They even sell toy voice modulators to change your voice into Darth Vader. If this prank is important enough to you (or you plan on doing this sort of thing as a full-time hobby), fork down a few bucks for that bad-boy to disguise your voice.
You’re doing your thing now. Great. It’s comedy gold! Just be sure to…
Be quick. If the punch line of your prank takes more than a few seconds to get to, chances are you’re going to get hung up on. So get to the heart of the matter and be done with it. The quicker you are, the sooner you’re off the phone and getting a good laugh out of it yourself! And if the prank was good enough to make you laugh the first time around, hopefully you had the foresight to:
Record it! Who knows? Maybe you’re the next Jerky Boy. You’ll be a titan of underground prank call cassette tapes. Wait – no one listens to cassettes anymore, do they? Oh well. You can still amuse yourself endlessly! Just like Wanda Sykes:
Congratulations! You’ve pulled off a successful prank by being prepared, knowing your audience, and keeping it short and sweet. Revel in your genius, toast yourself, and let your imagination run wild with thoughts of your nemesis cursing, blushing, stomping in place, ringing their heads, and all other manner of unrest thanks to your mad skills. Bart Simpson salutes you!