Arts & Entertainment

April Fools' Day 2016: No Dodger Dogs? Trader Joe's closing?! Nope.

On April Fools' Day, actor John Stamos and Netflix announced a
On April Fools' Day, actor John Stamos and Netflix announced a "new original documentary unlike any other."
/Screengrab by NPR

It's April Fools' Day. That means that your friends — and some news outlets — are going to be doing their best to make you think their lies are real. All news emerging until midnight is suspect. The pranks range from outright hoaxes to jokes — some of which have already gone badly.

Suspicions are high: Some are wondering why Taylor Swift would release a video promoting Apple Music, a service she pointedly criticized when it first went live, on this day of all days.

Taylor Swift video

And we can be forgiven for wondering whether astronomers really found "the first star with an almost pure oxygen atmosphere" — a white dwarf that's puzzling scientists.

Both of those events seem legit. They simply came out amid a flood of faux news that has caused both laughs and groans — including one joke, by Google, that seems to have backfired entirely.

Here are some of the "best" efforts we've seen — or, depending on your point of view, the worst.

Dodger Dogs rationing

L.A. Weekly pulled people in with the headline "Dodger Stadium Warns of Crippling Dodger Dog Shortage for 2016 Season." The alleged reasons: the debut of Burger King's flame-grilled hot dogs, which were apparently going to suck up all the hot dog supply there is like a hot dog black hole — and fans who just kept guzzling up more and more hot dogs at an ever-increasing rate over the years, even as they jack up prices. The intense rationing would include fans only being able to have two or three per game, according to the story.

Lyft pranks Golden State Warrior

The MVP from last season's finals Andre Iguodala pranked his teammate Festus Ezeli to think that he was cut just before the playoffs. It's part of a promotion from Lyft, which included both Ezeli hearing a radio report in his Lyft about being cut and then texts streaming in from his teammates. Also, like several of these pranks, those involved got pranked on a day that was not April Fools' Day so that the prank could be posted on the day itself, which means that they had no reason to think that their friends and colleagues would be secretly lying to them. No word on if these friendships are forever ruined.

Lyft prank

Angels participate in awkward proposal

In a prank on Angels player Garrett Richards, his teammates conspired with a YouTube prank show. The prank: a woman approaches a table with Richards and the confederates having dinner, asking for advice on breaking up with her boyfriend. Later, a guy comes up and asks Richards to bring a ring over to help with a proposal. Then, whaddaya know, it's the woman who wanted to break up with her guy. The Angels' Mike Trout was allegedly the one behind the prank, according to the host.

April Fools Proposal

Trader Joe's panic

Yahoo set off fears and prompted a response from Trader Joe's after publishing a hoax story about the oft-cherished grocer shutting all its stores and closing down its line of signature products. One problem with the story? It was published on March 31. Only after scrolling to the bottom of the story did readers learn it wasn't serious. Yahoo pulled the story; here's the cached version.

Everything's coming up Stamos

In an elaborate hoax that seems all too plausible in today's age of commoditized reality, actor John Stamos and Netflix announced a new collaboration that ranges from a "docu-mini" (?!) to putting the Stamos touch on many of the streaming service's watch lists — as in, "Trending Now Like John Stamos." The centerpiece project is titled "John Stamos: A Human, Being."

John Stamos tweet

Drop the mic; say 'Oops!'

"Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year," says Google's Gmail team, after its Mic Drop tool was blamed for causing confusion, embarrassment and possibly lost work. The feature, which reportedly lived a short and active life on the company's Gmail service, let users attach an image of a "Despicable Me" Minion character dropping a microphone — and then cut off any follow-up mails in the conversation.

Put a Parachute on it

Google Parachute

Google is earning better marks for its Google Express Parachute service, which was shown revolutionizing the delivery industry by using drones and parachutes to deliver a host of unlikely items, from a flaming birthday cake to an ax. (See the "reveal" video above.)

Hot action at Cornhub

In a move that we confess to not anticipating, the adult website Pornhub pranked itself by "cornifying" its landing page, which it renamed "Cornhub" and adorned with scenes of steaming corn. We'll warn you, the site still has the explicit videos and images its users expect: The corn effect disappears rather emphatically upon the first click. So if you want to see only a version of the page that features videos with titles such as "Full cobs totally peeled" and "Got caught husking on the porch," look but do not touch.

Tennis on the boards

The Australian Open is playing coy about its new announcement — that for the 2017 iteration of the annual tournament, players will compete on hardwood courts. In a video about the change, the Open says that the new surface represents a new innovation. "We're onto something," says Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.

Australian open basketball surface

Blast from the past

Of course, even in the information age, the truthiness of all these stories can still elude many of us. For instance, see NPR's Facebook post titled "Why Doesn't America Read Anymore?"

NPR post

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