Sunday, 25 May 2014

Funny Pranks: Rickrolling

One of the biggest worldwide internet pranks...

An inflated balloon which I'm never gonna let down.
A few weeks ago I briefly mentioned the 'Rickrolling' phenomenon which for anyone who doesn't know, is the art of posting a link to a seemingly relevant subject, only to instead sneakily redirect the user to the video for Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.

I have to admit, I'm not really a massive fan of Rick Astley's music, but I am a fan of foolish japery, so the idea of someone clicking on a link expecting to find information about a serious subject, only to instead be shown a cheesy video of Rick Astley singing 'Never Gonna Give You Up' appeals to my weird sense of humour.  It also apparently appeals to Rick Astley, as he has called the Rickrolling phenomenon 'bizarre and funny'.

Over time, variations on the Rickrolling theme have developed, with ever more elaborate 'Rick Astley' related pranks being sneakily implemented.  Here are a few notable Rickrolling examples...

1) Rick Astley - Officially the best music act of all time!

Perhaps the most famous occurrence of Rickrolling took place in 2008 when Rick Astley beat such nominess as U2, Britney Spears, Green Day and Christina Aguilera to the MTV Europe Award for Best Act Ever.  His success was due to an orchestrated internet campaign to flood the voting in Rick's favour and the campaign was ultimately successful as Rick was indeed voted the best music act of all time.

Or perhaps I'm doing Rick a disservice here and in actual fact perhaps he may have been voted the best act of all time even without all the Rickrolled votes.  Anyway, whatever the background to it, Rick Astley was voted the best music act of all time at the 2008 MTV Europe Awards.

2) The coolest Physics essay ever!

Next up is a strong contender for the cleverest Rickrolling ever.  The following essay was written by Sairam Gudiseva as he geniously Rickrolled his Physics teacher...

Sairam Gudiseva Rickrolls his Physics teacher.

Faced with the task of performing such tricky linguistic juggling, you might expect the essay to sound a bit contrived, but it's especially impressive that it actually makes sense and reads very well.

3) YouTube gets into the Rickrolling spirit

On April 1st, 2008, YouTube set up one of the biggest Rickrolls ever for their annual April Fools' Day prank when they sneakily made every single video on the front page of YouTube a Rickroll.  When users clicked on a video, whatever video they clicked they would be redirected to Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up.

4) Politicians unususpectingly perform a Rickroll

One of my favourite examples of Rickrolling is this clever video which shows that some speech writers have been having fun at politicians' expense:

I like the way they even managed to sneak in a couple of 'Oo!'s.

On a closing note, has anyone else noticed that you never seem to hear anything from Rick Astley these days?  It's almost as if he's given us up, and let us down.

Finally, if anyone else has any other cool examples of Rickrolling then feel free to post a comment. 

When it comes to daft pranks like Rickrolling, I'm a bit of a nerd about the science behind it, so I was fascinated by a speech given by Professor Keplington of the Neurological Department of West Humbershire University.  It turns out there are cool neurological reasons why a childish action such as Rickrolling stimulates the part of the brain responsible for humour, and you can watch Professor Keplington's amusing speech at the following link:
The science behind the humour of Rickrolling

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.