April Fool! Celebrities fall prey to pranksters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 April, 2010, 12:00am

Everyone enjoys a good laugh. That's why you're reading this column and that's why we have the government we have. But to pull off a good April Fool's joke can be an art in itself. And in a way, to have one perpetrated on you is also the best kind of flattery from your friends. Here are a few local personalities with some of their memorable embarrassing moments being punk'd or pulling off a prank.

Detroit Diamond, rapper/musician (who has just released the EP Something 'Bout You):

'Last year, I was in LA and called up a local barbershop that I go to. It's run by some buddies of mine, and it had just opened. I'm told I do a good impersonation of President Barack Obama, so I decided to call them up. First, I had a young lady pretend to be a secretary and say: 'President Obama is in town. He wanted to support a local business, find a barber and get a haircut.' So, they're all excited about Obama coming through to support the 'hood. I can even hear everyone in the background. When I get on the phone to talk to the owner, I'm already trying to keep myself from laughing. 'Hello, young man, how are you?' My friend on the phone was stoked. I continue talking to him as Obama, and everything is going smooth. Then I say, 'So, do you think it's possible I get my back shaved too?' The guy didn't know how to respond. I think they kind of realised it was a prank at that point, and he replied, 'We'd love to help, but we don't do backs.' At that point, I couldn't help myself, so I just hung up. Too funny!'

Hans Ebert, former music executive

'In general, Hong Kong is one great big joke, but someone did play an April Fool's Day joke on me when I was a journalist. I was told that Jimi Hendrix was in town and given a contact source. I tracked the guy down. He kept insisting he wasn't Jimi, but I refused to believe him, called him 'the man' and finally wore him down and got an 'exclusive'. Sadly, he was some guy on vacation here who happened to also play guitar and looked like Jimi. My 'exclusive' was revealed to be a giant hoax. To save face and my butt, I said that 'we' - 'Jimi' and me - had planned the hoax together. A few years later, I called another writer, pretending to be John Lennon. I said I had read his stuff and loved it and spoke to him for around 30 minutes. Then I said I'd meet him at the Mandarin Oriental hotel's Captain's Bar. I turned up, saw him and his photographer, asked who they were waiting for, and he whispered, 'John Lennon.' I had a few drinks and left. They may still be at the Captain's Bar.'

Shirley Hiranand, PR consultant

'My daughter Rina bought Mark Six tickets that her grandfather (my father-in-law) would always check for her. She got a call from him at his office. He told her she'd won HK$5 million, and news spread through the whole household and the family. We were all so excited, and the word spread so fast, people started congratulating us. I actually called up my father-in-law to plan what we might do with the money, how much to give to charity and the children's trust. We were making plans. Anyway, he came home that evening and could not take it any more and said she had won only HK$50,000 - which is still not bad. It was on April Fool's Day, so he could not resist.'