7 of the Greatest April Fools’ Day Pranks in Live Entertainment

7 of the Greatest April Fools’ Day Pranks in Live Entertainment
Fans are filled with glee as Steve Aoki pulls his signature cake-in-the-crowd move at Made In America festival in Los Angeles, CA on August 31, 2014. (Photo by OneNation/Live Nation)

It’s April Fools’ Day and you know what that means! Crazy awesome pranks! We took a look back at some of the best pranks ever perpetrated by musicians, athletes, celebrities, and even your favorite Disney characters. These go far beyond throwing cake in someone’s face or putting their hand in a bowl of warm water – they’re some of the most hilarious, elaborate, and inventive pranks that have ever gone down. And no, we’re not fooling around ourselves – all of these unbelievable pranks really happened. Honest.

Kyrie Irving as “Uncle Drew”

An old man complaining about kids these days, talking about the way things used to be, and then… making jaws drop with his phenomenal b-ball skills? Kyrie Irving’s Uncle Drew alter ego fooled a group of scrubs by missing his first few shots (badly) before he opened up a Pandora’s Box of jukes and trash talk on the young whippersnappers. The stunt was so popular that 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell appeared in the second installment to tell Uncle Drew to get the team back together—namely Nate Robinson (“Lights”), Maya Moore (“Betty Lou”), and Irving’s future Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love (“Wes”). You can watch the entire saga of these geriatric ballers above.

Disney Character Silhouettes

Thanks to the whimsy and creativity of Disney, you never know when a moment might become magical. Such was the case at a New York area mall in 2015 where unsuspecting mall patrons noticed the silhouettes of classic characters like Mickey Mouse, Woody, and Olaf mirroring their every move. The breakdancing Mickey alone makes this well worth a watch.

John Lennon’s Paul Is Dead Clues

Beginning with a car accident that Paul McCartney had in 1967, Beatle maniacs began to find “clues” supporting an elaborate cover up theory. As the conspiracy theory goes McCartney died in the crash, but The Beatles decided to keep the band together with a lookalike: the one and only Billy Shears. The group members thought the rumors were hogwash, and John Lennon began incorporating more “hints” in his lyrics to purposely confuse seekers. The lyrics of 1968’s “Glass Onion” even went so far as saying, “I told you about the walrus and me, man/ You know that we’re as close as can be, man/ Well here’s another clue for you all/ The walrus was Paul.” Despite Lennon’s tongue-in-cheek intentions, McCartney (or Shears) still has to answer questions about the rumor much to his chagrin. You can see some of the clues in the video above and decide for yourself.

Björk Joins Led Zeppelin

She comes from the land of the ice and snow, but apparently also the land of practical jokes. In 2009 iconic Icelandic singer Björk announced on her website that she wanted to join Led Zeppelin amid concerns that lead singer Robert Plant might have gotten distracted by his collaboration with Alisson Kraus. Plant continued his tour with Kraus, obviously neither fooled nor threatened enough by the gag to resume discussing a reunion. But we’re hoping that Björk at least exchanged numbers with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones so they could someday form the coolest supergroup of all time. You can get some idea of just how crazy the end result might be from her 1995 single “Army of Me”, which lifts its drums from Zep’s “When the Levee Breaks”.

Sacha Baron Cohen Kills Octogenarian

During his acceptance speech for BAFTA’s Charlie Chaplin Brittania Award for Excellence in Comedy, Sacha Baron Cohen brought out Grace Cullington—the oldest living actress to have worked with the award’s namesake. She presented Cohen with a cane that Chaplin had reportedly used, which snapped as soon as he put his weight on it. Cohen toppled onto Cullington as she flew face first into the audience. Fortunately the audience caught on to the ruse quickly enough that the comedian avoided serious jeers. “But what a way to go,” he quipped, “giving me an award”.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Rap Career

Many were shocked when Joaquin Phoenix announced his abrupt retirement from acting at the age of 35, especially following an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman where he appeared to have lost his marbles and announced his transition into a hip hop career. The 2010 mockumentary I’m Still Here portrayed the behind-the-scenes “Joaquin Phoenix” as someone with a violent temper, an appetite for illicit substances, and (perhaps worst of all) no skill on the mic. After director Casey Affleck revealed that the film and its subject were part of an elaborate hoax, a clean shaven Phoenix returned to Letterman to make nice with the talk show host—who claimed he could tell it was a prank from the start.

Jeff Gordon: Test Drive

Following the lead of Kyrie Irving’s “Uncle Drew” persona, Pepsi Max also teamed up with Jeff Gordon for a little spin. Dressed as the unassuming dweeb “Mike” who’s “never driven anything with this much power”, Gordon took a Camaro for a test drive. After some harsh breaking, Gordon opened up the muscle car on a closed track with an unwitting sales associate on board. The car salesman almost came to blows with “Mike” before Gordon ripped off his mustache to reveal his true identity. The salesman’s response? “Can I go again?” While many have argued that this prank was staged, we still thoroughly enjoyed the ride.