In the wake of the recent prank call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the ensuing drama, we realized that prank calls are not just for 12-year-old boys and Bart Simpson worshipers (wait, are those the same thing?). They can have real — or just amusing — bearing on our culture, and they just might be worth examining as a reflection of our cultural proclivities. (Because what are Charlie Sheen’s unending outbursts if not one continuous prank call on American society?) If you’ve ever asked someone if their refrigerator was running, click through to see our list of five culturally relevant prank calls, and let us know which of your favorites we’ve missed!
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker discusses strategy with “David Koch”
Ouch. As shady as it is to call up a politician pretending to be a billionaire and ask him leading questions, Walker really let this one get away from him. He discusses ending the unions and planting troublemakers among the protesters – - though he quickly demurs. It’s pretty embarrassing, but not exactly career-ending.
The Tube Bar prank calls
Everyone knows these, but not everyone knows where they originated. Al Coholic, Cole Kutz, Sal Ammy, Al Brickyrnick, Bill Loney, Mike Ocksmal, Ben Dover, Holden Megroin, and Mike Hunt were all names comedians John Elmo and Jim Davidson used in the mid-’70s to prank bartender Louis “Red” Deutsch at Jersey City’s Tube Bar. The calls were recorded and have since been referenced in places like Porky’s and The Simpsons (Moe is even based on Deutsch).
Sarah Palin gets a call from (fake) Nicholas Sarkozy
Les Justiciers Masqués, a comedy duo from Quebec, called Sarah Palin pretending to be Nicolas Sarkozy. We just can’t believe she stayed on the phone this long talking to a guy with a French accent this terrible. Or maybe it’s just what Canadian French sounds like.
Vífill Atlason calls George W. Bush
In 2007, Icelandic 16-year-old Vífill Atlason called President Bush on, according to ABC News, “a secret number at the highest security level,” pretending to be Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the president of Iceland. Apparently, before he got through to Bush’s secretary, Atlason was quizzed on various facts to confirm his identity, but he says that he “had Wikipedia and a few other sites open, so it was not so difficult really.” Awesome security, White House switchboard. Unfortunately, instead of the call back from Bush he was promised, the police showed up at his house, took him down to the station and questioned him for hours. Too bad for him that he claims he can’t remember where he got the secret number.
Justin Bieber “bombards” Miley Cyrus with prank calls at 3am
Apparently she had to change her phone number. Drama!