It’s April 1, and as every year, the clever and mischievious have done their best to hoodwink us with prank stories.
This year, with growing concerns about fake news, most media outlets stayed out of the fray, but that didn’t stop cities, organizations, and of course, big companies from trying to have a little fun at everyone’s expense.
Here’s a review of some of the best April Fools’ gags from around the web.
If you’re being pursued by a police dog, allergies are likely the least of your problems. Not so according to the VPD, who claimed to be launching a new hypoallergenic K9 unit, with the special help of local dog breeders.
Meet the Shabradoodle:
Not to be out done, police in New Westminster got into the fun with their own video, advertising comfortable stays in the city’s newest luxury hotel: The Cells at NWPD.
The city of Port Moody had some fun at Vancouver’s expense, mocking the recent brouhaha over a proposed new city logo.
In that incident, Vancouver backpedaled on rolling out a new “visual identity” after the $8,000 design was roundly mocked online.
And online publication the Daily Hive fooled many with an article claiming Disney was planning to open a $7-billion ski resort near Squamish along with the Aquelini Investment Group. The supposed resort would have included 124 ski runs, Disney themed alpine lodges, a 12-storey Frozen castle, and a pair of luxury golf courses.
The tell? The article cites chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Elias Oliver. Elias Disney was Walt Disney’s Father, while Oliver was Walt’s middle name.
And of course Prime Minister Justin Trudeau got in on the fun, riffing on the revelation by former Friends star Matthew Perry last month that he’d once roughed up the PM when the pair were school children together in Ottawa.
The PM took to Twitter today to call for a re-match, quipping “who hasn’t wanted to punch Chandler?”
While these are certainly tumultuous times around the world, it made for some pretty good April Fools’ gags.
George Takei, best known for playing Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek series, fooled many by claiming he was running for congress, and challenging California Representative Devin Nunes – the man leading the House Congressional Inquiry in to Russian Meddling in the U.S. election.
Meanwhile, the Russians themselves got into the gag, with the Foreign Ministry posting a message to Facebook claiming to be the new voicemail message at international diplomatic missions, with a “pilot project” offering hackers for rent.
“To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1,” the fake switchboard message suggests. Your other options? “Press 2 to use the services of Russian hackers”, or 3 “to request election interference.”
Netflix had one of the better gags this year, claiming it was launching a new “Netflix Live” feature, which would include Will Arnett narrating… well, objects.
“Toasters toasting. Grass growing. Fans blowing. With Netflix Live, you can experience life’s biggest thrills, right from the comfort of your couch,” boasted Netflix in a promo.
And they went as far as producing a full 48 minute episode (now listed as “cancelled”) of the Arrested Development star stream of consciousness ranting about printers, pencil sharpeners, fridges and more.
Hulu also made a play, claiming it was launching a new service better suited to today’s short attention spans.
Called simply “Hu,” it would condense full episodes of shows into eight seconds, better to suit our busy lives.
Smart homes got lots of attention this year, with both Google and Amazon chipping in.
Amazon claimed it was launching an extension of its popular Echo Alexa service that could understand animals called “Petlexa.” The video shows cats ordering sushi and gerbils using the device to track their fitness levels.
Meanwhile, Google Home got a remake as Google Gnome, an outdoor version of the smart home tool that can turn your hose on, tell you the weather, be passive aggressive, and well, get downright darkly existential at times.
Google also took the opportunity to transform its Google Maps platform into a playable version of Ms. Pac Man – a feature that is still available if you go to the site and click the “insert coin” icon at the bottom left.
Of course these are just a few of the hundreds of gags circulating online at the moment.
As every year, it’s a good reminder: if it seems too good (or wild) to be true, double check the date and see if you can verify it anywhere else.
Happy April Fools’ Day!