A bag of gags

April Fool's Day

A bag of gags

If it is April 1, it is time for creepy crawlies and masks to come out of the closet. Plans to pull pranks on one’s near and dear ones are elaborately made. As another ‘April Fool’s Day’ arrives, comedians in the City, in their signature style, remember the pranks they have been  part of and how their friends had pulled a fast one on them. Today, they feel, is the right occasion to look back and laugh.

 For Praveen Kumar, a standup comedian, playing pranks on friends is not reserved for just April 1. “Being in the ‘laughter business’, we make jokes everyday. Thus, everyday is ‘April Fool’s Day’ for us. But, I have played pranks on my kith and kin. I have gifted nicely wrapped packages to friends and family with a live cockroach or a dummy snake in them,” he admits.

Praveen also recollects the time he and his cousins got another cousin of theirs ‘drunk’ on apple juice. “We filled an alcohol bottle with apple juice and forced him to drink it. While he protested saying that it tasted like apple juice, we convinced him that it was apple-flavoured beer. To our surprise, he started acting like a drunkard,” he remembers.

April Fool’s Day hasn’t been as popular as it was during school days, says Richa Kapoor, a Masters’ student who is also an improvisational comedy artiste. Recollecting a prank, she says, “My sister and I drive each other crazy. I go wild if I’m disturbed while   sleeping. Once, my sister placed balloons all around my bed and started popping them when I didn’t wake up. I was one ‘angry young woman’ and vowed to get back at her. This was around the time horror movies like ‘The Grudge’ had come out. One fine morning, my sister was in the bathroom and as soon as she pulled the bathtub curtain, she saw me hiding there. She was taken aback and started screaming. That was hilarious.”

Today, Richa plans to pull some pranks on her college friends. “I have very serious classmates. It’s time to have some fun.”Sanjay Manaktala, another comedian, adds, “We often get attention from girls at our shows. Once after a show, Sundeep Rao (another comedian) called me from a number not known to me and pretended to be a girl. ‘She’ said that I had told her that she ‘was the one for me’ and started talking personal matters (which only Sundeep would know). I tried to explain but ‘she’ started crying. For a few minutes, I was scared. And then, just when we agreed to meet, Sundeep came clean,” he laughs.

Sundeep Rao says that he is not “good at pulling pranks”. “Most of the jokes I make are related to my eyesight. People ask me if I’m actually blind and I tell them ‘No, that’s just a joke I’ve been playing for the last 20 years’. But, I don’t play too many pranks in life, because a lot of my energy is used to be funny onstage,” he says.

Sumukhi, another standup artiste, says that April Fool’s Day is also her former boyfriend’s birthday. “He was a very funny guy — a combo of Homer Simpson and Garfield. So, every birthday, I would message him saying ‘Happy April Fool’s Day. I think that should suffice’. And he would get upset about it. Also, I would make him do something quirky on every April 1. Last year, I taught him how to pout.”

She loves playing pranks through the year. “Once, I sent my friends to a wrong wedding intentionally. While congratulating the couple, they realised their mistake. When they came to the actual wedding venue, the food was over!” she says. “My friends sometimes hide my personal stuff too. Once, I even went to file a complaint at the police station for a duplicate SIM as I thought I had lost my phone. And then I discovered that my friends had hidden it,” she says.

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