Lad Bible: ‘Heist’ Caught On Google Maps Turns Out To Be Pranksters Holding A Glue Gun. “Darren Honeyman and his colleague of 15 years Dave Hutchinson were at work in Darlington, County Durham, earlier this year when they saw the the Google van coming. So, not wanting to miss the opportunity of a lifetime, the pair decided to create a scene especially for the camera. And they didn’t disappoint.”
9to5 Google: Google canceling April Fools’ Day jokes for the second year in a row (Good.) “An internal memo sent by Google’s VP of global marketing, Marvin Chow, explains that the company will continue its ‘pause’ of April Fools’ Day pranks in 2021 as ‘much of the world’ is still dealing with ‘serious challenges’ during the pandemic.”
For a given value of useful, but it’s Saturday, so.. Make Tech Easier: Here’s a Bunch of Funny Things to Ask Siri. “Siri is an extremely useful AI assistant, helping you in day-to-day tasks like making a calendar appointment or finding your iPhone. But there are plenty of other more whimsical uses for Siri too. This is especially true when it comes to kids, though adults will also enjoy the pile of nonsense questions you can throw at Siri. So we’ve gathered together a whole bunch of funny things to ask Siri when you’re bored and looking for a quick fix of fun. Some are kid-friendly, others aren’t. We’ll let you be the judge!”
Asharq Al-Awsat: Exclusive – Egyptians Turn to Jokes to Break Fear Barrier amid Coronavirus. “Traffic in Cairo, which used to move at 11 kilometers an hour before the virus struck, has now reached humanly possible limits. The choice to remain in self-isolation is being laxly implemented during the day and turns into curfew at night at the order of the prime minister. This has weighed heavily on nighttime internet traffic. People have clamored to send and receive information about the pandemic, but above all else, they exchange jokes in order to break the barrier of fear.”
BuzzFeed News: Here Are The April Fools’ Jokes That Were Particularly Cruel This Year. “Unless you’re a corporation or a cop with the cop password to your cop social media account, April Fools’ Day is something to be dreaded. This year, however, the day really outdid itself. Not only have big brands shared the usual cast of fake products, fake events, and troll-y food combinations, they’ve also pranked us with ideas that could, and should, exist.” If something is supposed to be an April Fool joke, and you announce it on March 29, that’s stupid.
Houston Chronicle: No AI in humor: R2-D2 walks into a bar, doesn’t get the joke. “Linguists and computer scientists say this is something to consider on April Fools’ Day: Humor is what makes humans special. When people try to teach machines what’s funny, the results are at times laughable but not in the way intended.”
I saw some work of Janelle Shane’s on Tumblr and sent her a tweet expressing my appreciation. She jokingly replied, “Know anywhere I can find a huge database of knock-knock jokes?” and, well, you know how I am when someone asks about an online information collection. I gave her a collection of 200+ knock knock jokes and she used it to train a neural network. Thanks, Janelle. That was fun.
The Smithsonian has started a project to digitize the joke cards of Phyllis Diller. I did a bunch yesterday; I am a big Diller fan. “Phyllis Diller’s groundbreaking career as a stand-up comic spanned almost 50 years. Throughout her career she used a gag file to organize her material. Diller’s gag file consists of a steel cabinet with 48 drawers (along with a 3 drawer expansion) containing over 52,000 3-by-5 inch index cards, each holding a typewritten joke or gag. These index cards are organized alphabetically by subject, ranging from accessories to world affairs and covering almost everything in between.”
In development: a digital archive of historical humor. (I believe I have mentioned this before, but this is a good overview article with plenty of Victorian-era jokes.) “Millions of people in Britain will pull a cracker on Christmas Day, don the paper crown within, and inflict an old joke like this on their families. For my long-suffering household this experience will be all too familiar – they put up with it all year around, as I research the history of Victorian jokes. This might seem like a rather unpromising topic. After all, we’re accustomed to thinking of the Victorians as a rather humourless bunch – a straitlaced society in the fashion of their queen, who was famously ‘not amused’. But this old stereotype isn’t really fair.” The humor seems like an odd mix of dad jokes and things you would see on Hee-Haw.