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What's the point of your prank? (Dec. 11)

Everyone loves a good prank. Well, most everyone. But why do we take such pleasure in pulling them? That's what we're looking into this week. Read on to find out what's on the show, or click the player below to listen (you can also download the podcast here or from iTunes).

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If we're going to understand pranks, we're just going to have to pull one. So Sook-Yin unleashes the prank video below on unsuspecting DNTO producer Tori Allen...




Mike Barry is an actor, singer and waiter in New York City - but a few years back, he pulled a spectacular musical prank on one of his university profs, which became a hit viral video (see it below). We'll talk with Mike about that, and give him a little surprise, when we invite the target of his prank - Columbia University professor James Valentini - to join the conversation.



For the last 13 years, Chris dela Torre and his best friend Jack have had an ongoing prank. And while it seems like a pretty simple prank on the surface, it's conveyed some pretty big messages over the years. Chris will explain why "Montell dropping" has become so important to him and Jack.

Pranks usually make the prankster laugh. But can they have hidden benefits for the pranked? DNTO producer (and recent prank victim) Tori Allen looks into it.

We couldn't do a show about pranks without talking about the grand poobah of mischief-making, Alan Abel. In the last 50 years, he's pulled off some doozies: he invented a school for professional panhandlers; kickstarted campaigns to clothe naked animals throughout the world, ban breastfeeding, and remove Wednesday from the work week; and he once even faked his own death. And along the way, he's duped various media organizations into reporting on these pranks... as fact. We'll find out how Alan got started on the road to pranksterism...

When it comes to the pulling of pranks, the workplace is often a teeming pool of hijinks. And there's usually one person who tends to be the main target of those gags. In Stephanie McGrath's office, that person was James Havers. But not one to take it lying down, James initiated a little retaliation... that had unexpected consequences. We'll get the story from the two merry pranksters.

Sook-Yin tells us how her awesome "rock candy" prank backfired... and then turns the mic over to you to find out when you last got pranked.

A few weeks ago, New York commuters saw a bunch of posters plastered all over the place. But they weren't the usual "missing" posters looking for a cat or a lost earring. These ones are looking for a missing... unicorn. We'll talk with the artist who created the posters, Camomile Hixon.

Lisa Schwartzman has a long history of playing pranks on her mother, Zinaida. But we'll find out why Lisa thinks they were a wonderful bonding experience... and get her mom's side of the story, too.

And speaking of mothers, daughter, and pranks... it turns out musician Jill Barber was something of a mischievous child. And that often involved pulling pranks on her parents.
So we'll hear from Jill and her mom Joyce (and hear a live-in-studio song from Jill).

Doug Holmes tells us about the prank that went wrong... and almost ended in tragedy... and why he never pulled the "saved your life!" gag again.

In 2002, Mark Calzavara was the action coordinator for Greenpeace Canada. At the time, Ralph Klein was the premier of Alberta. Greenpeace wanted to call Klein out on his climate change policies (or, from their perspective, lack thereof). So Mark and a few co-workers came up with a very public strategy...

So when is a prank not just a prank? When it's a rite of passage, according to Memorial University folklorist Dr. Philip Hiscock. He'll explain why a gag is often more than a gag.

And here's this week's playlist:

Jully Black - "Seven Day Fool"
Norah Jones and Dolly Parton - "Creepin' In"
Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - "Trick Me"
Dean Martin - "Ain't That a Kick In the Head"
Peter Katz - "First Of the Last To Know"
Christopher Dignan - "Hurtful"
The Unicorns - "I Was Born"
Jonsi - "Go Do"
Jill Barber - "Wish Under My Pillow" (live in studio)
Novillero - "Prank Note"

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