EVERY year the global roundup of April Fools’ Day jokes gives us all a good chuckle, and this year proved no different, even if some jokes were slightly more successful than others.
Google, for example, was on the receiving end of angry email users after an April Fools' Day Gmail tweak annoyed those who use the mail service for work.
The company added a button to its email service that allowed users to fire out a minion GIF, a character from the animated film Despicable Me, which would drop a microphone and then mute responses to whatever email the user had sent.
The Gmail Help Forum was soon populated by angry users who say they unintentionally attached a minion dropping a mic during important business communications.
“It looks like we pranked ourselves this year,” Google said in a statement. “Due to a bug, the MicDrop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry.”
A mic drop is a popular meme in which someone makes a conclusive statement or rebuttal before dropping a microphone and walking off.
Google added that users who were still able to see the feature could switch it off by reloading or restarting Gmail.
Interestingly, Google originally announced the creation of Gmail on 1 April 2004 and, at the time, there was speculation as to whether the email service was an April Fool’s stunt.
In more successful jokestering (with a good message), WaterAid had a great ad last year, which asked, “If Men had periods”, so for April Fools’ Day, they posted 375 satirical ads in different UK shopping centres for “Mantons”. Here’s to April Fools’ Day pranks with a proper message about access to sanitation for women and girls and taboos around menstruation.
Meanwhile, Honda unveiled (fake) plans to introduce EMOJI registration plates for car buyers in the UK, releasing images of the world’s first official emoji numberplate on the Honda Civic Type R.
In research conducted with UK consumers earlier this year, 96 per cent of respondents aged under 30 indicated a preference for emoji plates over the traditional car license plate. While a staggering 97 per cent of those questioned admit they now use emoji faces as their main method of expressing an emotion or idea in texts and instant messages.
The French public transport operator RATP, which runs the Paris Metro, switched things up for April 1.
They renamed Opéra station Aperitif, Crimée is now called Crimée Châtiment in honour of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, among other puns that may only make sense to French speakers. (Tourists who were dreading asking French people for help were not having as much fun with the switch.)
Note for fact fans, the French celebrate with a holiday called “Poisson d’Avril” ie April fish, not April fools. It involves French children sneakily sticking coloured paper fish on the backs of adults and running away.
Meanwhile, Historic Newspapers in the UK promised readers a more aromatic step into the past with Scratch N Sniff editions of famous dates.
December 20, 1928 is the auspicious day Harry Ramsden opened his first fish and chip shop, and the smell of fish and chips became a British trademark.
July 30, 1935 was the day the first ‘Penguin paperbacks’ were produced and the ‘new book’ smell became a staple in homes.
May 8, 1945 welcomed the end of World War Two and the smell of celebratory fireworks filled the air.
July 30, 1966 when England won the World Cup and the smell of freshly mown grass filled fans’ nostrils.
Meanwhile, infamous porn site, Pornhub renamed itself Cornhub, giving viewers some dripping corn-on-the-cob action, featuring steaming hot cornography videos.
The Germans, not usually known for their sense of humour, even got in on the action, with the German Embassy in the UK announcing rugby as the country’s new national sport.
“The German government today announced a new policy aimed at establishing rugby as the country’s new national sport,” the statement said.
“At the unveiling of the far-reaching measures that will see rugby become an integral part of German culture, including hens that lay rugby ‘eggs’, government spokesman G. Flügel stated that the country would “focus all attention and efforts on winning the 7 Nations Championship.”
In the US, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz challenged Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate. The Donald, who has no sense of irony whatsoever, happily agreed. until someone told him it wasn’t true.
Then the UK’s Beefeater restaurant launched the ‘Beefeater Steak Tan’ — the world’s first fake tan made using real steak juices. Yum.
Some countries, however, weren’t that keen on getting involved ina ll of this frivolity.
China’s state news service wrote a post on Friday, criticising tradition spoof news published on April Fools’ Day as “un-Chinese”, according to AFP.
The post on microblog Weibo declared: “Today is the West’s so-called ‘April Fools’.”
The occasion apparently “does not conform with our nation’s cultural traditions, nor does it conform with the core values of socialism”, it added.
“Don’t believe rumours, don’t create rumours and don’t spread rumours,” it said. It’s a bit of a hall of mirrors, though, because the post ended with a smiley emoticon.
Even the Global Times, a paper closely tied to the ruling Communist party, seemed to suggest Xinhua needed to loosen up, albeit on Twitter, which is not available in China.