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The 10 Greatest Crank Calls in History

by DannyGallagher   August 24, 2011 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 7,324

It might technically be illegal or malicious, but some prank calls are so successful, so epic, so (dare I say) awe-inspiring that they deserve some kind of placement in a special "Hall of Fame" at the phone company.


10. The Canadian DJ duo who cranked Sarah Palin

Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Politicians are probably the easiest targets to hit, no matter what kind of prank is being thrust upon them. Let's face it, if they were any smarter, they wouldn't run for public office in the first place.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin got the proverbial phone smack during the 2008 presidential campaign when a pair of Canadian DJs managed to snag a phone contact to Palin's inner circle of clearly exhausted staffers. They posed as then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy and not only managed to get her on the phone, but also carried on a long, embarrassing conversation for more than five minutes about hunting from helicopters and whether or not she's really married to Joe the Plumber. To her credit, the campaign later issued a statement that Governor Palin was "mildly amused" to learn she had been punked.


9. Comedian Tom Mabe pranks a hotel full of telemarketers

Source: Thinkstock/Comstock Images/Getty Images

There are few things more annoying in this world than getting a phone call from a total stranger asking for your credit card and social security number in exchange for a lifetime supply of kelp futures or the world's only working can opener/home circumcision kit.

This comedian made a name for himself by turning the tables on the telemarketers who bugged him at his home, but he got the ultimate revenge when he snuck into a hotel housing a national telemarketing conference and prank called some of the biggest names in the business in the early hours of the morn. It's the closest humanity has come to exacting the best possible revenge on one of those most evil industries in the history of the universe without committing a felony.


8. Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket

Source: Warner Bros.

Imagine hearing the phone ring and answering it and after uttering a nice gentle "Hello," the person on the other line bellows "What's your name, fatbody?" The normal human instinct would have you immediately hang up the receiver so hard that you break the caller's ear drum, but for some reason, these people stayed on the line and (as Daniel Tosh would say because he'd probably sue us if we didn't credit him for this line) for that, we thank you.

An animated comedy site called CampChaos created what very may well be the first prank calls to use "soundboards," a series of pre-recorded voices taken from movies or TV shows and played back during calls to make it sound they are conducting a conversation. These calls took voice clips from R. Lee Ermey's iconic performance in Full Metal Jacket as the verbally abusive Sgt. Hartman, mostly from the opening scene as Hartman berates a batch of new Marine recruits, and plays them to back to Wal-Mart and 7-11 employees and even an on-air Christian radio show. Needless to say, these clips are very NSFW so if your boss is around, make sure you turn up your speakers real loud so they can join in on the fun. You're going to get fired anyway, so you both might as well have a laugh.


7. Howard Stern's Captain Janks pranks the prankster

Source: Eugene Gologursky/WireImage/Getty Images

Believe it or not, there was a time when the world actually considered Jerry Lewis funny. No, historians didn't neglect to document a period of time when France was a superpower.

Lewis actually made a series of private and very funny prank calls between the late 1950s and the early 1970s that made the underground tape and show business party rounds before being released as a comedy album. So it was made all the more ironic in 1991 when Captain Janks, the legendary phone prankster famous for weaseling his way onto major news shows and broadcasts posing as experts to drop Howard's name on the air, somehow convinced the producers' of Lewis' telethon that he was Larry King. They quickly put him on the air…and cut him off twice as fast.

6. Scott Walker tricked into talking to a fake Koch brother

Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The collective bargaining debacle that unfolded in the Wisconsin state legislature earlier this year attracted a flood of angry calls to Gov. Scott Walker's office. One of the few he personally answered made him wish he could go back in time and kill Alexander Graham Bell with his bear hands.

A left-leaning online newspaper, The Buffalo Beast, made a Skype call to Walker's office posing as one of the Koch brothers, the industry heads who have financially backed many conservative and libertarian politicians and groups including Walker's campaign for governor. He not only got through to the Governor himself, but he also conducted a very revealing 20-minute conversation about the media, his fellow elected officials, and even his sneaky strategies for breaking the legislative stalemate over the bill and discrediting the opposition in the media.