TV’s latest prankster and a man apparently very happy to win coasters.
The prank show has existed for almost as long as television itself, and for good reason. No matter how much people hate being embarrassed by pranks themselves, they absolutely love seeing other people made to look like idiots. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures. So it should come as no surprise to hear that a brand new prank show called WTF! is being developed by CBS. Don’t worry, according to CBS it means “Wow That’s Funny!”, because there may be 3 individuals on remote parts of the planet who don’t know what WTF stands for and we must protect their delicate sensibilities. All we really know so far is that it will be a hidden camera show and Drew Carey is developing it. I’m hoping it’s just an extension of Drew’s hosting gig on The Price is Right, but in this version they have to name the how much things like a baby or a stolen Miata would get on the black market. Also they win Monopoly money.
But until we know what this new prank show is all about, let’s take a look at some of our favorite prank shows of all time!
The one that started them all, Allen Funt first hosted Candid Microphone on the radio in 1947 before moving the show over to TV in 1948. The premise of the show provided the archetype that most prank shows are still built on today: unsuspecting people dealing with something ridiculously weird, annoying or awkward while they are filmed without their knowledge. It’s like if Big Brother had a sense of humor! And keep in mind how hard this would have been to pull off in the 40’s. This wasn’t a world with Flip cameras, after all. I believe in 1947 cameras were as big as refrigerators and required a team of 3 men to shovel coal into them. Not so easy to keep candid! The show has existed in many incarnations over the years, ending its last run in 2004.
Despite Ashton Kutcher’s best efforts to make this show unwatchable with his over-excited, trucker hat wearing addresses to the camera, the concept of pranking celebrities overcame and proved hilarious. If we have learned anything from reality TV, it’s that the only way to make an already successful formula better is to add celebrities. Well, except for Celebrity Duets. It’s best to forget about that one. The reactions from some celebs to the over-the-top pranks were priceless, like in the case of Scrubs star Zach Braff, who tried to beat up a 12 year old for messing with his car. Lesson learned: Zach Braff really likes his car. And is kind of a jerk.
The concept of Boiling Points is simple: let’s see how long we can annoy people with horribly rude behavior, and if they last a certain amount of time we’ll give them $100. So simple, yet so entertaining. Plus as a viewer you don’t feel so bad watching someone go through awkward hell for 20 minutes if you know they’re getting money. It’s like the show’s producers bribe the victims on behalf of your conscience. The show also has an odd claim to fame in the fact that Lady Gaga, years before becoming famous, appeared on the show and was served food with garbage on it. She received no cash, however, as she went on to cuss-out the waiter. I think she was just mad that the garbage covered food was ripping off the look of a new outfit she was working on.
Da Ali G Show
Da Ali G Show is unique for a prank show because everyone on screen knows they are on camera and are generally quite happy to be there, eager to share their expertise with the viewing world. The only thing they aren’t prepared for is who will interview them. As Ali G, Borat or Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen brought the prank show to a new satirical level on this show by posing as dumb and ridiculous characters to get average people and world renowned experts alike to say things even dumber and more ridiculous. Though it’s hard to pick a favorite moment, Ali G getting former presidential adviser/old conservative crank Pat Buchanan to refer to a weapon of mass destruction as a “B.L.T.” is up there.
Howie Do It
In this experimental hidden-camera prank show, NBC pranked audiences by convincing them (once again) that Howie Mandel is supposedly funny.
Did we leave out your favorite prank show? Let us know what it is in the comments!